Efforts by Sutherland Shire Council to deliver 100 per cent renewable energy operations across all Council facilities have marked an important step towards Council’s target of achieving carbon neutral operations by 2030, delivering a major drop in emissions and significant energy savings.

Council recently joined 24 fellow councils in its pledge to sourcing energy supplies from NSW solar farms, to operate facilities and services such as leisure centres, libraries, sports fields, waste depots and halls on renewable energy.

The switch, which came into action in July this year, has already seen a 48% reduction of carbon emissions in comparison to data captured across the 2020/21 Financial Year. This reduction is approximately equivalent to greenhouse gas emissions from more than 1,190 petrol cars driven over a period of one year, and is approximately equivalent to the amount of carbon dioxide captured and stored by more than 91,700 tree seedlings grown over a period of 10 years.

Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce said this achievement is a vital part of broader plans to promote a greener future for our community.

“The past few years have really brought climate and energy into focus for our community and communities across the country, and we know that local residents are keenly interested in protecting our stunning surrounds and natural environment,” Mayor Pesce said.

“Sutherland Shire Council continues to be among the local government leaders of sustainable practices by investigating and implementing less-invasive operations to reduce our impact on the environment.

“Switching to 100 per cent renewable energy this year is a great leap for Council and is one of the many ways we are working towards our target of achieving carbon neutral operations by the year 2030.

“This feat extends us beyond some of our other great recent achievements in this space, such as joining the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in 2021, investigating the use of low emission vehicles as part of our fleet and trialling the use of recycled material in road construction projects at Bundeena and Engadine, to name a few.

“This latest commitment further demonstrates our pledge to respecting our environment and to working with other communities to reduce our resource consumption for the benefit of our future generations,” Mayor Pesce said.

The agreement was fostered by the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) and enables three solar farms in New South Wales to supply clean energy to 25 local government areas, including Sutherland Shire, who are united under SSROC.

In addition to this sustainable switch, Council is also replacing older style street lighting with energy efficient LED lighting to not only use renewable energy but also reduce energy consumption.

“Next time you’re browsing the shelves at one of our libraries, using one of our community halls for a function, or practicing on one of the local sports fields with your team in the evening, you can rest assured that the operational power used is climate conscious,” Mayor Pesce said.

Image: Sutherland Shire Mayor, Councillor Carmelo Pesce with electric vehicles currently part of Council’s fleet.

Electric vehicle of Council’s fleet