Changes to council energy use planned under new power partnership

SOLAR INSTALLATION: Mayor Reg Kidd, Orange City Council's development services director Dave Waddell and Kenjarhy Solar director Brad Draper at Orange Aquatic Centre in October after solar panels were installed. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
SOLAR INSTALLATION: Mayor Reg Kidd, Orange City Council's development services director Dave Waddell and Kenjarhy Solar director Brad Draper at Orange Aquatic Centre in October after solar panels were installed. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

LED street lighting, changes to the council car fleet and changes to council energy use could be introduced in Orange as part of the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership.

On Tuesday, Orange City Council and Bathurst Regional Council, along with City of Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin were among 35 new councils to join the climate change and energy saving program, bringing the number of participants to 70.  

The new member councils were announced at Lismore at the launch of Australia’s largest floating solar farm, backed by Cities Power Partnership member Lismore Council on Tuesday. 

Climate councillor and international climate scientist Professor Will Steffen said the 70 councils represent about 7.5 million people.

“As the tier of government that’s closest to the community, local councils have the power to genuinely transform the way we generate and use energy,” he said.

“Each of these councils have different things they do, by linking up they can share knowledge about what they do.

“One thing is for [Orange] council to look at its own opportunities before going community wide.” 

Professor Steffen said the council could make small changes to how it consumes energy in its operations, such as reducing travel, replacing cars with electric or hybrid cars and changing to more energy efficient lighting.

He said the council could also look at installing more insulation in buildings and introducing energy efficiency based education programs for the public. 

The council can also look at introducing more docking points for electric cars and introducing LED lights to street lights and in the long term he hopes the council will look at how energy can be generated using solar or wind power.

“Getting emissions out of electricity generation that’s one that’s economically attractive so what can Orange do to bring in solar or wind?” Professor Steffen asked.

Orange councillor Stephen Nugent said the council’s Environmental Sustainability Community Committee will look at options and make five pledges to the council at its first meeting in April.

“There’s 32 different areas the we can develop pledges about, it’s up to each council,” he said.

“I’ve got some ideas of things that I would like to pursue and it’s up to the community and the council listening to the community about what it wants to pledge.”