Eurobodalla Council achieves what Canberra can’t
Eurobodalla Shire Councillors have unanimously voted for an Emissions Reduction Plan that will generate 100% of council’s electricity from renewable energy and save $400,000 per year on top of the $1.3 million already achieved in the current plan.
Eurobodalla Shire Council is on track to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020. The new goal is to reduce emissions by 80% by 2030 from the baseline of 2005-6. The council will investigate building a large scale solar farm, as well as using biogas energy from Surf Beach sewage treatment plant. Methane from the tips will be captured and may also provide process heat or energy.
All the councillors voted for the plan, whether they wanted to take action on climate change, whether they wanted to save ratepayers money, or both.
But up the hill in Canberra, government MPs are unable to agree on a plan to provide enough electricity and reduce emissions. The wholesale electricity price has doubled since Tony Abbott stopped the Carbon Tax and attacked wind and solar generators.
Eurobodalla 350.org members want the council and all levels of government to take action on climate change.
Above: some of the Eurobodalla 350.org members after the council vote
The following presentation was read in Public Forum to the council meeting by Eurobodalla 350.org, 13 June 2017
Eurobodalla 350.org supports the draft Emissions Reduction Plan 2017 – 2021.
We are pleased with the reductions in emissions that council has made in the previous two Greenhouse Action Plans, and that this has also resulted in a very substantial saving in electricity costs. Council should continue on this path and make further reductions in our emissions.
Climate change is already affecting Australia and the Eurobodalla. The Great Barrier Reef is suffering a second year in a row of coral bleaching due to high sea temperatures. Sea temperatures here are also rising. Records from Moruya Heads show a significant rise in air temperature since 1910 along with lower rainfall and milder winters. Our farmers are also seeing adverse changes in the climate. Bee keepers tell us that the gum trees flowering is all out of sync and oyster farmers are worried about rising water temperatures.
The threat to our agriculture and fishing is also an opportunity to change to clean energy which will bring down electricity prices.
There is a wide consensus on the need to act to transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. The Business Council of Australia, the National Farmers’ Federation, the CSIRO and the electricity generators all want a plan to make that change.
Eurobodalla 350.org is part of the world wide climate action group 350.org. 350 parts per million is the safe upper level of carbon dioxide (equivalent) in the atmosphere and we have already reached 400 ppm. That is a measure of how serious the situation is and how we need to act immediately.
Our members want the council to lead the community in this change. Our members want Eurobodalla Shire Council to promote and assist citizens to move to renewable energy, the council to divest from fossil fuel investments and to power itself from 100% renewable energy.
There should be a priority on the feasibility study for a solar farm with battery storage. This has the potential to make big savings in electricity costs and emissions. The council should be part of lobbying for changes to regulations to make a fairer system for people and communities generating electricity.
The Emissions Reduction Plan is a good policy which should be adopted. Councillors should be proud of what they have achieved so far and be determined to continue the good work.