Sustainability

Renewable energy projects 

Council is committed to reducing our carbon emissions to net zero by 2035, and for the past decade has been working to install renewable energy across our buildings.

In 2010, Council installed its first 6 solar PV systems across council sites. Today, Council has over 32 assets with almost 900 kW of solar PV systems installed, generating around 1,300,000 kWh of renewable electricity every year. Through these systems, Council is saving over 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions every year. 

Key projects

Solar panel array on green grass with trees in background

Solar Power for Shoalhaven Water’s Wastewater Treatment Plants

In October 2020, Shoalhaven Water commissioned a 96 kW ground-mounted solar PV system at its Vincentia Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Vincentia system will generate around 132,000 kWh each year, supplying 20% of the treatment plant’s electricity needs and saving Council around $18,000 on electricity costs.

In late 2021, Shoalhaven Water installed Council’s largest solar PV system at its new Nowra Wastewater Treatment Plant. The ground-mounted solar array is comprised of 250 solar panels and will offset the plant’s electricity needs during the daytime with renewable energy.

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.

Under Council's Sustainable Energy Strategy, Council has also committed to:

  • Upgrade the remaining 4,600 non-LED streetlights (or 41%) to energy saving LEDs by 2025, saving an estimated 1,300 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year
  • 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 Programs

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.

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.

To sign up and access this free program, use the links below: 

Reduce your bills with our 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 from November 21.

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

 

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

For over a decade Council has been working to improve water efficiency across our operations. In 2012, Council conducted an audit of 412 Council facilities to assess energy and water saving opportunities, and by 2015 Council had installed over 1,680 000 litres of water tanks across council assets.

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.

Resource Recovery Facility

This state of the art facility will be Australia’s first Advanced Waste Treatment plant capable of diverting over 90% of Mixed Waste from landfill. Everything that can be reused or recycled is extracted in one process.

Find out more:

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:

Responding to climate change

Reducing emissions

Council is committed to reducing our corporate operational emissions and supporting our community to transition to clean renewable energy.

Under its Sustainability and Climate Policy, Council recognises the international scientific consensus that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and that human activities (primarily greenhouse gas emissions) are the principle cause of these changes. In order to mitigate against climate change, Council has committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2035, in line with the recommendations of the Climate Council.

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

Under the program, Council has already achieved the following key pledges:

  • Set a city-level renewable energy or emissions reduction targets. 
  • Installed renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings 
  • Set minimum renewable energy benchmarks for new developments 
  • Encouraged sustainable transport use such as public transport, walking and cycling through council transport planning and design

Find out more:

Council awards for climate action

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 trialling 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.

Energy Efficiency Achievement Award

In 2020, Shoalhaven won the Energy Efficiency Achievement Award at the Cities Power Partnership climate awards. The Awards recognise the work of local governments across the country in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, community engagement and innovation.

Adapting to a changing climate

Council has been working to identify and prepare for climate change risks for over a decade by completing Climate Change Risk Assessments and preparing the Shoalhaven Adaptation Plan.

In 2022 Council updated the Shoalhaven Adaptation Plan in line with the latest science and best practice advice. This Plan outlines key actions to reduce climate change impacts and build a more resilient and climate adapted Shoalhaven.