Published on November 11th, 2013 | by Nicholas Brown


Sydney Intends To Go 100% Renewable For Electricity, Heat, & Cooling By 2030

November 11th, 2013 by  

Allan Jones, the Chief Development Officer of Energy and Climate Change for Sydney, Australia, intends to have the city rely entirely on renewable energy sources for power, heating, and cooling.

Allan, formerly the head of the UK’s climate program, was recently interviewed by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute. He commented on the ambitious nature of this program, as shown in the video below, followed by some text summary in the following sections.

Renewable Energy Sources For More Than Power

Very importantly, the initiative is to provide not only power, but also heating and cooling, using only renewable energy.

Allan Jones intends to have conventional renewables (wind and solar) generate 30% of the city’s electricity, with the other 70% coming from trigeneration (using biomass-fueled generators). Trigeneration, or combined heat, power, and cooling (CHPC) is a process in which a plant generates electricity and then uses the waste heat it produces to provide heating and cooling. The heat is used to power absorption refrigerators to provide a cooling effect.

The thought of heat-powered air conditioning sounds nice, doesn’t it?

It’s Local!

Part of the plan is to use only local renewable energy, in order to avoid transmission losses and to avoid the storm damage risk that accompanies overhead electricity transmission lines. As Diane Moss, the founding director of the Renewables 100 Policy Institute, said:

Behind the decision were several factors. Included among them was the fact that the city has little land space, so only 18% of Sydney’s renewable energy needs can be met with solar and wind power within the city boundaries. The City of Sydney also set the parameter that no remote renewables should be used, in order to avoid the energy loss and vulnerability to storm damage that come with overhead grid transmission and distribution networks.

To overcome this issue, land just outside the city will be used to generate some of the renewable energy.

Why 100%?

According to Allan, the ultimate long-term goal is to transition to renewable energy. Setting a clear and complete goal to do so, instead of just obtaining a little renewable energy here and there from a few projects, is important to them. Copenhagen is one of the few renewable energy cities Allan cited as a leading example that Sydney is looking up to.

This project will be funded primarily by the private sector. The city will fund the gas distribution line, which accounts for 10% of the budget.

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About the Author

writes on CleanTechnica, Gas2, Kleef&Co, and Green Building Elements. He has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is:

  • Andrew.

    Applaud for celebration Canadian Prime Minister said today to the newly formed Australian government repealing the clean energy future. Today we announce to abolish the clean energy future, no more green policies and no more solar or wind with this hope the clock can be turned back all around the world.

    It was said that Australia discovered rooftop grid connected solar power causes fires and now discovered the clean energy future was a total failure and a waste of money.

  • Stuart51

    Those conceded about a sustainable future for NSW & the planet might like to view / consider / sign / feedback & or forward our petition! –

    TIA, Stuart.

  • Ted

    100% renewable ? well i got news for you, solar power will not replace Sydney Coal fired energy reliance on the national grid. I can tell you now and by 2030 renewable solar or wind power will never replace coal energy.

    • Bob_Wallace

      You are correct.

      Sidney coal will not be replaced by only wind and solar.

      Sidney coal will be replaced by a combination of wind, solar, and storage. Possibly some other renewables such as geothermal and wave tossed into the mix as well.

      Will all coal be off the grid by 2030? I wouldn’t bet that all will be gone, it’s a big job that needs to be done and there are knuckleheads in your government who are doing what they can to protect their rich coal friends. But I’m pretty sure that by 2030 it will be very clear to almost everyone that Sidney coal is a dead man walking.

      • Diane Moss

        Actually, as the article and video state, the City of Sydney has a clear goal that all coal and other non-renewable sources will be off the city’s grid community-wide by 2030. 70% of the mix will be trigeneration renewable gas made from waste recovery.

      • TOBY

        No it only appear to be me that has gone of coal energy and disconnected from the grid in Sydney in the last 15years. All the other out there are still grid/coal powered reliance. It’s just a shame that people don’t do like I did and ditch the dirty transmission lines to an off the grid battery installation for the benefit of the environment and the world C02 emissions.
        I no longer burn wood, drive a converted electric Vehicle with a range 180 km.

        Any way the new government is going to lower the cost of Coal electricity by 10% to make coal energy more competitive with wind and solar power so I think that we here will not see any change to renewable that quickly, coal still fills and remains the energy gap reliance for those with the on grid setup energy application, there is no other energy which those with the on grid solar setup can really say that they are C02 neutral from coal energy apart from my self for the reference.

        We did have a wave power generator but it sink to the bottom of the ocean, it did’t work more then a few days before the ocean took the unit out.

        • A Real Libertarian

          So in order to stop “dangerous, expensive” renewables Abbott’s going to give massive subsidies to coal in order to prolong its death throes?

          I’d bet that by 2030 coal is extinct or near enough.

      • Donal

        BOB, correction Sydney not “sidney”

        Not sure of that, in the 60’s they said we would be all fly car to work, have a small power reactor in the basement to power all our energy needs. Off grid solar power system was the closes thing to a home power station we have now. We are still no flying car yet, not all driving EV, even doctors say in 5 year there will be a cure for cancer, they said that 50 years ago. I would not put time and date on thing like coal ending dates, coal is used for making tires for cars so i think it well be there in the future and have a roll to play in making things like steel and so on.
        Bob, without coal you cannot make steel or even make cars without oxy acetylene which comes from cokeovens which cut the slabs of iron.

    • HarryWiggs

      So..we shouldn’t TRY?

  • Alex

    The similarity of his name to that of a less progressive thinker is unfortunate and possibly confusing.

    • Rochelle

      LOL, I totally agree! The story is so unlike the direction Australia is heading I had to check this out to make sure it wasn’t a hoax!!

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