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Council nails emissions target

Eurobodalla Council has surpassed its emissions reduction target two years ahead of schedule.

In 2012 Council set the target to reduce its carbon emissions 25 per cent by 2020. Emissions are now down about 36 per cent, saving more than 23,000 tonnes of CO2 per year from the atmosphere and significant costs to ratepayers.

The figure includes reductions in Council building emissions, down 34 per cent, street light emissions, down 37 per cent, and landfill methane emissions, down by about 52 per cent.

It’s thanks to completed actions in Council’s Emissions Reduction Plan 2017-21, and previous Greenhouse Action Plans, which take a responsible and focussed approach to reducing Council’s emissions across things like vehicle and plant fleet, energy management, planning, street lights, waste and more.

Council’s Director of Planning and Sustainability Lindsay Usher said there were several reasons for the success.

“The 2017-18 year was the first full year of operations for our methane flaring systems at Brou and Surf Beach landfill sites,” he said.

“Gas is a natural by-product of the decomposition of organic material in landfills and capturing and burning it off prevents it from migrating into the atmosphere.

“It’s cut our landfill emissions by over 50 per cent and saved more than 14,000 tonnes of CO2.”

Mr Usher said it was also the first full year of Eurobodalla’s new LED street lights. Eurobodalla was the first council in the region to install the lights, which are far more energy efficient and require less maintenance.

“The LEDs have reduced street light emissions by more than 35 per cent and saved ratepayers a potential $120,000 a year in electricity and maintenance costs,” he said.

“It’s now onwards and upwards to meet our next goals; to reduce our energy emissions for Council operations by 80 per cent by 2030 and to source 100 per cent of Council’s electricity from renewable energy by 2030.”

Mr Usher said Council had already been looking at ways to source more renewable energy.

“Information suggests contracting renewable energy, rather than building a solar farm, is the way to go,” he said.

“Building a solar farm is a highly complex exercise and has a number of risks that are hard to predict and manage in the current environment. It is likely to prove far simpler and more cost effective to simply secure a contract for renewable energy with a wind or solar farm.”

Above: Methane flares at Surf Beach and Brou waste management facilities have helped Eurobodalla Council surpass its emissions reduction target two years ahead of schedule.

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