Environmental sustainability

Solar and Energy Projects

Council has committed to the target of reducing operational carbon emissions to net zero by 2035. Sourcing and generating renewable energy is a key part of this transition.

In 2004, Council installed its first solar PV system on the Berry Waste Depot. Today, Council has over 55 assets with almost 1,276 kW of solar PV systems installed. These systems generate an estimated 1,500,000 kWh of renewable electricity each year.

Recent projects

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  • In 2023 Council committed to switch 100% of its streetlights to energy-saving LEDs, delivering a key commitment of Council's Sustainable Energy Strategy. This project is expected to save 1,500 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions every year.
  • In 2023 Council installed a 99.75kW solar PV system at the Ulladulla Civic Centre under its Revolving Energy Fund. Along with an energy efficient lighting upgrade, this project is saving an estimated 129 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions every year.
  • In 2023 Council led a Power Purchase Agreement with neighbouring Kiama and Shellharbour Councils to secure reliable and affordable renewable energy from wind and solar farms in regional New South Wales. Council is currently utilising 25% renewable electricity through this agreement to power its large energy sites, and will continue to increase its use of renewable electricity, adopting 50% renewables by 2025 with a goal to adopt 100% renewables for all of its electricity needs by 2030.  

Renewable energy targets

To guide our actions in reducing energy and emissions, Council's Sustainability and Climate Policy outlines a commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2035, with an interim target of a 50% reduction by 2028.

Council's Sustainability and Climate Action Plan and Sustainable Energy Strategy include a number of key commitments to help achieve this goal, including to:

  • Upgrade all streetlights to energy saving LEDs by 2023.
  • Source or generate electricity supply for our operations from renewable energy sources, with interim targets of 25% renewables by 2023 and 50% by 2030.
  • Support our community to transition to clean renewable energy and install rooftop solar panels, with a target of 33% of all dwellings by 2025.

Sustainable Living Program

Everyone has a role to play in helping to protect our environment for future generations. Learn about the different Council programs available to help you save money, reduce carbon, and contribute toward a more sustainable Shoalhaven.

Electrify your home and reduce your bills

Be part of a clean energy future by moving your home or business to all-electric. Find out how much you can save, and how to access rebates by downloading the Go Electric Plan and Checklist.

Heating, cooling, hot water, cooking, bicycles & cars – all of these can run on electricity and be sourced from renewable energy. Your household could save up to $3,000 per year by replacing or upgrading household appliances, purchasing an electric bike or car, and installing rooftop solar.

Download our Sustainable Living Guide

Download our Shoalhaven Sustainable Living guide to meet like-minded people making a difference in the Shoalhaven and discover some of the simple actions and council resources available to help you.

Borrow a free energy saving kit

Council’s Energy Saving Kits can help you assess and save money on your home energy and water bills. By calculating your energy and water use, you can start to make some simple changes to save money and make your home more comfortable and efficient.

Each kit contains a 10 Amp powermate to help measure power consumption and running costs, a non-Contact Thermometer to help assess surfaces and appliances, a water flow measuring cup to help assess water usage, and a guide to assist in calculating your energy and water use.

Available to borrow from your local library.

Discover your solar potential with SunSpot

Switching to solar power in your home is a great way to save money, reduce emissions, and do your bit for the planet.

In the Shoalhaven region, over 50% of residential carbon emissions come from electricity use. By installing solar, you can reduce your energy bills and future proof against increasing energy costs, while reducing your carbon footprint at the same time.

If you’re wondering just how much solar could fit on your roof and how much it could save you, Council is a member of SunSPoT – a free tool to assess your solar potential.

When you plug your address into the SunSPoT map, you’ll quickly find out:

  • the best position for solar on your roof 
  • what size system can be installed
  • the cost of a mid range system that size
  • and your annual savings from solar.

SunSPoT can assess the year-round impact of shading from nearby trees and buildings, it knows the average amount of sunshine in the area from BOM weather data, and it knows the angle and orientation of your roof planes. You can also add information from your energy bill about your electricity usage and costs to help calculate the payback period for different systems.

Are you thinking about batteries?

If you’ve already got a solar system installed and you’re wondering if it’s time to invest in a battery, SunSPoT can also calculate the savings you could make.

It’s free, private and you can do it over and over again on any roof using different inputs. SunSPoT was built specifically to help people buy solar with confidence, by knowing what to expect in price, size and savings before talking to sales people.

Calculate your solar potential using the SunSPoT - APVI tool.

Join Climate Clever

Did you know that Australians have one of the highest personal carbon footprints in the world? The good news is that we can change that. Council has partnered with ClimateClever to help households, schools and businesses within the Shoalhaven save money and reduce their carbon footprint.

Using the free ClimateClever platform, you can measure and reduce your electricity and water usage and track your savings over time. You will receive free advice and a tailored action plan to help you save money and reduce your environmental impact - from simple behaviour changes to appliance upgrades.

Sign up to access this free program.

Reduce single-use and support your local plastic free champions

Local cafes and food retailers are proudly displaying their ‘Plastic Free Shoalhaven ’member certificates to demonstrate their commitment towards eliminating single-use plastics.

The Plastic Free Jervis program helps local food retailers across the Shoalhaven reduce key single-use plastic items including plastic water bottles, straws, cups & lids, takeaway containers, foodware, and plastic bags.  Across the Shoalhaven, 25 food retailers have joined the program. To find out more, show your support for local cafes, or to register your interest as a local local food business, visit www.plasticfreeplaces.org/jervis-bay.

Responding to Climate Change

Over the past three years, the Shoalhaven community has experienced first-hand the impacts of increasing climate hazards, including bushfires, flooding and storm events. As a coastal council with 165km of coastline, the Shoalhaven is also vulnerable to the impacts of sea level rise.

Under its Sustainability and Climate Policy, Council recognised the international scientific consensus that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and that human activities (primarily greenhouse gas emissions) are the principal cause of these changes.

In order to mitigate climate change, Council has adopted a target to achieve net zero emissions across its operations by 2035, in line with the recommendations of the Climate Council.

To guide our actions in working toward this goal, Council has developed a Sustainability and Climate Action Plan 2023 - 2027. 

Council is also taking action to prepare for anticipated climate impacts through the Shoalhaven Adaptation Plan.  

 Climate change projections-Shoalhaven.PNG

 Adapt NSW snapshot of projected climate change in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven region.

Mitigating climate change impacts

Council joined the Cities Power Partnership in 2017, pledging to meet the following key commitments to reduce climate change impacts.

  1. Adopt best practice energy efficiency measures across all council buildings, and support community facilities to adopt these measures
  2. Use council resources to support the uptake of renewable energy
  3. Roll out energy efficient lighting across the municipality
  4. Ensure Council fleet purchases meet strict greenhouse gas emissions requirements and support the uptake of electric vehicles
  5. Facilitate large energy users collectively tendering and purchasing renewable energy at a low cost.  

Cities Power Partnership - Shoalhaven City

Council awards for climate action

Cities Power Partnership Award

In 2023 Council received the Battler Award in recognition of its resilience and dedication to climate action. The award acknowledged initiatives including installing renewable energy and storage batteries at 25 halls and facilities across the Shoalhaven, developing an Adaptation Plan to address climate risks, adopting best practice energy efficiency measures and leading a joint renewable energy purchase agreement with neighbouring councils.

Towards Net Zero Emissions Award

In 2020, Council was the overall winner in the Towards Zero Net Emissions category at the Local Government NSW Excellence in Environment Awards, receiving the award for its adoption of a series of sustainable energy projects aimed at reducing emissions. 

Some of the projects included trialing 3 fully electric vehicles in our fleet, installation of over 400 kW of solar panels across 10 sites, commencing a revolving energy fund, replacing 4,000 streetlights with energy saving LEDs and supporting Repower Shoalhaven’s community energy solar farm.  

Our Emissions

Council has set an ambitious target to achieve net zero emissions from its operations by 2035.

To track our progress toward this target, Council prepares annual Towards Net Zero Emissions reports. These reports present an annual analysis of Council’s energy consumption, document energy savings measures recently implemented, and identify cost-effective measures for future energy efficiency and renewable energy investment. The reports can be accessed via the links below. 

Opportunities and challenges

In 2023, Council achieved a 17% reduction in total annual greenhouse gas emissions, reducing from 88,263 tonnes in 2021-22 to 73,250 tonnes CO2e in 2022-23.

Becoming more energy efficient and transitioning to renewable energy remains a significant opportunity to substantially reduce emissions across the Shoalhaven, with electricity representing 36% of total Council emissions.


Over the next three years, Council has committed to a series of actions and renewable energy contracts to address electricity emissions - however, it is important to note that some of the highest sources of Council emissions are from scope one activities, including from water and wastewater processing, and landfill gas.

Addressing these scope one emissions will be a critical part of Council’s work in meeting its emissions targets in future.

Emissions graph.PNG

Annual reports

2022 - 2023 Towards Net Zero Emissions - Annual Energy Review 

2021 - 2022 Towards Net Zero Emissions - Annual Energy Review

2020 - 2021 Annual Energy Review

Water Recycling and Efficiency

Water is a precious natural resource that supports all human, plant and animal life. By using water efficiently, we can reduce the demand for freshwater supplies and protect our rivers and waterways. We can also reduce the energy required to process and deliver water, helping to prevent emissions and protect our environment from future warming.

Recycled water for local farms and sporting fields

Shoalhaven Water’s Reclaimed Water Management Scheme is one of the largest water recycling schemes ever undertaken by a council in Australia, receiving three national environmental awards across 2020 and 2021.

Through the Reclaimed Water Management Scheme, wastewater from thirteen local treatment plants is recycled and treated so that it can be used for irrigation on local farms, sporting fields and golf courses.

Find out more:

Water efficiency 

To encourage and assist our community in capturing and storing water, Shoalhaven Water offer community members who are connected to the town water supply a $500 rainwater tank rebate for newly purchased and installed tanks with a total capacity greater than 2000 litres.

For more water wise programs, rebates and ideas visit the:

Transforming Waste

The way that we consume resources and produce waste has a direct impact on our environment. Council is committed to protecting our natural resources by reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and improving resource recovery across the region through award winning projects and services. 

Materials Recovery Facility

Shoalhaven City Council is committed to maximising the recovery of resources in an ever-changing industry. Our efforts have focused on ensuring recycling continues within the Shoalhaven while minimising the risk of recyclables being sent to landfill.

Find out more:

Green Ceramics MICROfactorie™

Council will soon be turning mattresses and other textile waste into ceramic tiles to be used in the building industry! Council has partnered with the University of NSW research arm, looking at reforming different wastes into value-added materials for re-use.

Find out more:

Resource Recovery Learning Centre (RRLC)

Planning is underway for an innovative, purpose built centre to provide the community with access to hands-on learning opportunities around waste and recycling, sustainability and positive behaviour change.

Find out more here:

Recycling and waste services for our community

Council provides a range of services to help our community recycle and reduce waste: