Clover Moore on powering the City of Sydney – consult, commit and do

| June 27, 2014

Cities use over two thirds of the world’s energy and emit more than 70 percent of emissions. Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore says we need to take action on climate change now.

I believe in the science of climate change, and if you accept the science, and you are a responsible leader, then you must act.

Our Liberal Prime Minister infamously described climate change as “absolute crap“. He wants to repeal the price on carbon, despite the fact that it has helped reduce emissions, dismantle the Renewable Energy Target and defund the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. This is after he fired the Climate Change Commission and cut the CSIRO’s budget.

At the City of Sydney, Liberal Councillor Edward Mandla has described climate change as “green mumbo jumbo” and votes against environmental initiatives despite the fact that 97 percent of our community want us to take action on climate change.

His friend John Preston has been echoing Cr Mandla’s arguments – that taking action on climate change and investing in cleaner local energy is a waste of money and not “core business” for the City of Sydney.

Both are wrong.

Cities use over two thirds of the world’s energy and emit more than 70 percent of emissions; it is action in cities that provides us with the greatest opportunity for substantial cuts in emissions. Cities around the world are taking action on climate change and Sydney should not be left behind.

At the City of Sydney we consult, we commit, and then we do. We’re up to the “doing” stage and it is making our conservative colleagues nervous. We’ve already reduced our emissions by 20 percent since 2006 and projects are under-way to achieve 29 percent in coming years.

We’ve made the simple and obvious changes but to meet our target of reducing emissions by 70 percent we need to change the way we power our city. That means shifting away from coal-fired power and investing in clean and local energy including trigeneration.

After intensive research and consultation, the City of Sydney has carefully laid out plans to improve energy efficiency, boost renewable energy, convert waste to gas and create more efficient local energy through trigeneration.

We have invested less than one percent of our operational revenue on the development of our plans and we are now going to the market to find the best option for installing trigeneration in Sydney Town Hall.

The cost of carbon abatement per tonne using trigeneration at Town Hall is comparable with Greenpower. But its installation will provide infrastructure that improves energy efficiency at Town Hall by up to 20 percent, compared with energy from the grid.

None of this is new or revolutionary, despite what vested interests and conservative politicians say.

Trigeneration is a well-established technology already operating in properties across Sydney, from the office towers of our biggest corporations to the Rooty Hill RSL. It is nearly twice as energy efficient as coal-fired power.

Trigeneration has been retrofitted into many buildings in Sydney’s CBD, including Stockland’s headquarters at 133 Castlereagh Street, Origin Energy’s headquarters at 20 Bond Street and Legion House at 163 Castlereagh St.

It’s used in London, Seoul and New York. The Chinese government even has a 50,000 megawatt trigeneration target – bigger than Australia’s entire National Electricity Market.

Despite nonsensical claims that action on climate change will see the City of Sydney slip behind other global cities, just the opposite is true. Not taking well-researched, well-planned action is what will jeopardise Sydney’s place at the forefront of a global shift to cleaner, greener cities.

It’s not what vested interests and our conservative friends want, but it is what the community wants and what the science says we need to do.

This article was first published in The Big Smoke and is republished with their permission.