Sustainability

Renewable energy projects 

Council is committed to reducing our operational emissions and for the past decade has been working to increase renewable energy across our buildings and assets. By generating renewable energy on-site, we can reduce operating costs and our reliance on fossil-fuel based electricity, helping to protect our climate for future generations.

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 annual carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. That’s roughly the same emissions that would be saved by taking 500 cars off the road every year.

Renewable energy targets

To guide our actions in reducing energy and emissions, Council has an approved Sustainable Energy Policy. Under this policy, Council has committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, with key interim targets of:

  • Reducing our corporate emissions by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels
  • Upgrading 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
  • Sourcing or generating electricity supply for our operations from renewable energy sources, with an interim target of 25% renewables by 2023 and 50% from renewable sources by 2030
  • Supporting our community to transition to clean renewable energy and install rooftop solar panels, with a target of 33% of all dwellings by 2025

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.

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.

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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.

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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 Council’s Sustainable Energy Policy, we have committed to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, with key interim targets of:

  • Reducing our corporate emissions by 25% by 2025 and 50% by 2030, compared to 2015 levels
  • Sourcing or generating electricity supply for our operations from renewable energy sources, with an interim target of 25% renewables by 2023 and 50% from renewable sources by 2030
  • Supporting our community to transition to clean renewable energy and install rooftop solar panels, with a target of 33% of all dwellings by 2025

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. In 2010, Council undertook its first climate change risk assessment and developed a responding Adaptation Plan.

Council is currently reviewing climate risks based on the latest projected climatic changes for our region and will prepare an updated Adaptation Plan. This Plan will outline key actions to reduce climate change impacts and build a more resilient and climate adapted Shoalhaven.


Last updated on 28 April 2022