The City of Nedlands in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, has voted to make it compulsory that all newly built homes and renovations build a minimum of 1.5 kW of renewable energy on-site generation capacity.
The seemingly unprecedented move was put to the local government by Mayor Max Hipkins, and carried 6/5 — that there was such strong opposition is relatively unsurprising, with one Councillor reportedly saying that it was an act of “socialism.”
The motion requires that “All new development and at Council’s discretion, substantial additions to existing development shall provide on-site power generation by solar, wind or other means.” Specifically (PDF):
- For each residential dwelling – a minimum capacity of 1.5kW
- For each non-residential development with a value exceeding $1 million – capacity determined by Council with due regard to roof area and height.
Mayor Max Hipkins believes that the residents of affluent suburbs like his own Nedlands need to lead the way, instead of following “the lead of less wealthy suburbs that had embraced solar power.”
“The majority of households with roof-top solar power are in lower income suburbs,” Mayor Hipkins was quoted as saying in the Claremont Nedlands Post. “For me, it’s a no-brainer. It costs little, saves money, and helps reduce the price of energy. People in the western suburbs would spend more on their dining room tables.”
“For a home in Nedlands that costs upwards of $1 million, this is a small price to pay — plus you get most of it back.”