CITIES POWER PARTNERSHIP
LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ACROSS WESTERN Australia have joined forces today to call for a renewed state commitment to renewable energy and tackling climate change.
The 21 councils met at a Perth forum hosted by the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest local government climate alliance, to discuss how West Australian local governments can push past the barriers to renewable energy and energy efficiency that they currently face.
Andrew Stock, Climate Councillor, said that Western Australia state legislation places unnecessary regulatory roadblocks to local-level clean energy – which, combined with the lack of a state renewable energy target, has seen the state fall behind the rest of the country in the energy transition.
“There’s tremendous will amongst local governments to move forward with renewable energy, but they’re being held back by unwieldy State regulations and the lack of a clean energy target,” he said.
“As it stands, local governments can’t even change a lightbulb without being hamstrung by regulatory and financial roadblocks. Old inefficient streetlights are a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions for councils – what should be a smooth switch to energy efficient LEDs for streetlights, is simply too complicated.”
“It’s time for state government to clear the way to the clean energy transition, and work with local councils to move things forward.”
The Cities Power Partnership looks forward to working with the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) to call on the State Government to implement important climate and energy reforms to remove the barriers councils and communities are facing.
Councils are calling for:
1. Accelerated action and fast tracked reform to remove regulatory barriers and facilitate the transition to a low carbon, energy efficient economy.
2. A State level emissions reduction target and/or renewable energy target
3. Planning for climate proof communities, including funding for innovative climate change projects.
Examples of the sort of red-tape councils face include difficulties with retrofitting streetlights with energy efficient bulbs, which could save councils and ratepayers thousands while making a dent in local emissions. This has seen West Australian councils fall far behind councils in other states in switching to efficient lighting.
There are also significant barriers to large-scale renewable energy projects, community energy projects and innovative projects, such as Power Ledger’s energy trading scheme, caused by the current network access arrangements, which could be addressed by an accelerated shift to constrained network access.
The state’s reluctance to set a renewable energy target has also been cited as barrier. Dr Brad Pettitt, Mayor of Fremantle and Dean of Murdoch School of Sustainability said that, given the continued lack of commitment to a meaningful target from the Federal Government, it’s time for the state leaders to step up to the plate.
“The recent Federal election has made it clear that we can’t wait around for a meaningful national renewable energy or emissions reduction target. It’s time for the state to step up and commit to a target that will support Western Australia’s shift to renewables.”
“A renewable energy target would signal our state’s climate ambitions, and support the local governments, communities and industry leaders to make the clean energy transition.”