Collective energy projects cut ratepayer bills by $36m

An alliance of eight greater western Sydney councils says it has reduced ratepayer energy bills by $36 million over the last four years by working together on sustainable energy projects and entering renewable power purchase agreements with providers.

Barry Calvert

The councils say they’ve also managed to cut their collective greenhouse emissions by 535,714 tonnes since launching the Western Sydney Energy  Program in February 2019.

The figures are included in the latest annual report from the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) comprising Blacktown City Council, Blue Mountains City Council, Camden Council, Cumberland City Council, Hawkesbury City Council, The Hills Shire Council, Liverpool City Council and the City of Parramatta Council.

WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert said the energy program has enabled the member councils to align and maximise energy and cost saving initiatives, as well as aligning efforts to future-proof regional developments.

“This is absolutely vital as Western Sydney’s rapid population growth and hot climate continue to place increasing pressure on our electricity grid and cause electricity bills to rise,” he said.

“Ensuring that Western Sydney is prepared to transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon future is critical for our communities.

The program has seen the rollout of LED streetlighting across the eight LGAs, with a target of 100,000 LED-converted streetlights by next June.

The move will save $16.2 million in regional energy costs and remove 71,400 tonnes of emissions, Cr Calvert says.

As well, the eight member councils have joined a Western Sydney EV Roadmap which is focussed on transitioning councils fleets and supporting community uptake.

Local businesses also have access to a Business Energy Advice program which Cr Calvert says has saved 1,000 small businesses an average of $1,400 each on energy bills.

Other WSROC initiatives over the past year include the establishment of the award-winning Greater Sydney Heat Taskforce; a new five-year Western Sydney Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy; the Future Proofing Residential Development project and a campaign to prevent illegal dumping.

All up WSROC managed $2.1 million worth of grant-funded programs in the last financial year on behalf of member. Councils.

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