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Leichhardt, Sydney Aims For 100% Renewable Energy By 2025

This article was originally published on RenewEconomy.
By Sophie Vorrath

The council of the inner-west Sydney city of Leichhardt has committed to becoming 100 per cent renewable by 2025, building on its recent draft plan to tackle climate change by reducing emissions in local government facilities.

Leichhardt, which last year became the second council in NSW to achieve carbon neutrality, made the commitment last week – a goal it plans to achieve through direct investment in renewable energy, and without the need to purchase offsets.

Leichhardt is also one of eight Sydney councils – including Marrickville, Ashfield, Canterbury, Kogarah, Rockdale, Bankstown and Canada Bay – working with the Institute for Sustainable Futures to develop a renewable energy master plan for the region.

The master plan aims to identify the best ways to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy sources, including solar PV, solar thermal, waste-to-energy, mini hydro, wind power and co/trigeneration. There is also the potential for alignment with the City of Sydney’s renewable energy plan.

As part of its own plan, Leichhardt aims to install a large amount of solar across council facilities, including the Town Hall and Balmain Library. A cogeneration plant is being constructed at Leichhardt Park Aquatic Centre – the Council’s largest consumer of electricity. The plan also proposes retrofitting existing energy sources in facilities to be environmentally friendly.

Development of the city’s renewable energy plan is largely credited to the Greens councillors, who are said to have worked hard to gain the support of their Labor, Independent and Liberal counterparts.

(Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne – who is from the ALP – said in February he was “committed to maintaining carbon neutrality,” and that it was “an unanimous position of Council across all political parties to take serious action to address carbon emissions.”)

“Under the Greens’ leadership, Leichhardt has become only the second council in NSW to be carbon neutral,” said Greens Councillor and chair of the Environment Committee, Daniel Kogoy.

“We have increased solar PV installations eight-fold, rolled out Sydney’s first active LED lighting project at Johnstons Creek, established the annual Footprints Ecofestival, and are taking the lead on a seven-council and community-owned inner Sydney renewable energy masterplan. The masterplan will map Leichhardt Council’s progression to 100 per cent renewable energy.”

Kogoy says the plan to shift to 100% renewables will also produce significant local economic benefits, creating new investment opportunities, new jobs and a safe climate.

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