The City of Newcastle says it will become the first local government in NSW to move to 100 per cent renewable electricity after awarding a tender to purchase power from the state’s largest wind farm.
The city – whose economy has traditionally been built around the region’s coal mines and generators, signed a 10 year power purchase agreement this week with Flow Power to buy the equivalent of all its electricity needs from the Sapphire wind farm in New England.
The deal – for 14GWh – was announced on the same day as the City of Sydney announced its own 100 per cent renewable energy deal, to take effect from next July. That deal is much larger in scope (about 28GWh) and will source its power contract from both the Sapphire wind farm and the Bomen solar farm near Wagga Wagga.
The City of Newcastle says the 10-year contract will save rate payers around $1.8 million.
“Drawing all our energy needs from renewables is a significant achievement for the City and ourmission to make our operations more sustainable and cost effective,” the Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said in a statement.
“This means enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight,local library, park-BBQ and any other facility Council operates.”
Recently the council conducted a community survey that found 70 per cent of the coal city’s residents supported the move.
The city already uses half a megawatt of solar energy generated on the roofs of 10 of its facilities, including Newcastle Museum, with an additional five megawatts to come from the solar farm at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre.
Sapphire also supplies locally based industrial products manufacturer Molycop, which became one of the biggest buyers of renewable energy in Australia when it signed a PPA with Flow Power earlier this year.
The City will join the University of Newcastle in switching over to renewables on January q, and follow the lead of other progressive Australian organisations, including the University of NSW, CBA, Westpac, Monash University and Melbourne University.
Flow Power CEO Matthew van der Linden said organisations like City of Newcastle and City of Sydney were leading the transition to a new energy future.
“We’re thrilled to see the uptake of renewable deals like these grow in the Hunter Region, as proven by City of Newcastle and Molycop earlier this year,” van der Linden said.