The lofty energy plans of the City of Lismore – in the northern rivers region of NSW – to wean itself entirely off fossil fuels within a decade now include the addition of a solar-powered electric vehicle, to be unveiled by council on Monday.
The unveiling of the EV follows three months of community consultations that have seen about 60 Lismore households learn how to improve the way they use energy in their homes.
The meetings are part of the Community Energy Efficiency Program, an initiative of the federal government to support local councils and community organisations in improving the energy efficiency of buildings, facilities and street lighting as well as delivering community education.
Lismore major Jenny Dowell said consultants’ reports had also suggested that the City Council could reduce its consumption by 30 per cent over the next 10 years, reducing the amount of energy it consumed each year from more than 8,000MWh to around 5,400MWh.
“That means a lot less money that needs to be spent on new generation. That’s a bit of a no-brainer,” says Sharyn Hunnisett, the environmental strategies officer at Lismore.
Lismore mayor Jenny Dowell told Echonetdaily that the council was well on the way to achieving its energy efficiency goals.
“As we speak the scaffolding is being taking down from the council chambers after the building was painted with heat reflective paint to reduce the costs of cooling during Summer,” she said.
“All water boilers are now on timers, computers are being turned off and low energy lighting has been installed.
“Solar panels have been installed at the Memorial Baths pool and at the Waste Recovery Facility.
“And on Monday we will be unveiling an electric car which will be used by waste facility staff and which will take its power from the solar panels at the facility,” Dowell said.
As for Lismore residents, they are already on the record as leading NSW in their use of solar power.
A Renewable Energy Certificate report found that a higher percentage of households in the 2480 postcode were using rooftop solar and/or hot water systems, than anywhere else in New South Wales.
It was in response to this report that the Lismore Council first developed its Renewable Energy Master Plan, with the ultimate goal to self-generate all council’s electricity from renewable resources by 2023.