In March 2020, Council resolved to become a net zero emitter of greenhouse gases in its operations by 2030 and in the community by 2050. This means the amount of greenhouse gases we remove and avoid through initiatives like clean energy generation and tree planning, equals or exceeds those that we produce through activities such as through vehicle emissions and building infrastructure, resulting in an overall zero increase in emissions.

To meet this resolution, Sutherland Shire’s Climate Strategy is being developed within the framework of the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy network, which we joined in April 2021.

The Sutherland Shire Climate Strategy includes the measurement of current greenhouse gas emissions for both the Council and the community. From this information we can set targets for reductions, implement actions to hit those targets and track and report our success. We’re confident we’ll be greenhouse gas neutral by 2030 - and doing our part in tackling climate change.

How much greenhouse gas is Council and Sutherland Shire emitting?

Council Emissions 20-21

Our Environmental Science Unit has crunched the numbers and we’ve found that in the financial year 2020-21 council emitted 22,731 tonnes of greenhouse gas with the two largest sources being our electricity use and construction of infrastructure. Together this totalled 59% of our emissions.

Community Emissions

We also found that for the same period, our community released 1,633,294 tonnes of greenhouse gases. Once again, electricity use (stationary energy) was the largest source of emissions producing 58%, followed by transport at 26% and waste at 16%.

What will our emission reduction targets be?

Based on our 2020-2021 emissions, the following targets have been identified to get Council to Net Zero emissions by 2030:

  • 100% Light fleet to electric vehicles, plant & equipment
  • 5% Heavy fleet to fossil fuel alternatives (trucks, utes, etc)
  • 100% Natural Gas reduction
  • 80% of Council operational waste diverted from landfill
  • 10% Roads & Bridges (Pavement, Road building products and services)

Based on our 2020-2021 emissions, the following targets have been identified to get our community Net Zero emissions by 2050:

  • 100% Transition to non-fossil fuel transport by 2040
  • 80% Waste Reduction/Diversion by 2030
  • 100% Community Solar PV Uptake by 2050
  • 100% Natural Gas to Electric conversion by 2040

Our journey to net zero emissions

Even as we’re developing the Sutherland Shire Climate Strategy, here’s some of what we’re doing:

  • Committing to renewable energy. In addition to the solar arrays currently installed on Council buildings, as of 1 July 2022, Council now sources 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.
  • Constructing roads from recycled materials, such as our Bundeena Drive roadworks.
  • Encouraging fossil fuel-free movement through our Active Transport Strategy.
  • Sequestering carbon locally, supporting biodiversity, and reducing the heat island effect through street tree planting and our Greenweb program.
  • Introducing electric vehicles to our corporate fleet, with plans for more.
  • Promoting the environment and sustainability across Council departments and daily business via our internal ‘Take Action and Go Green’ group.

The Pavilion Entertainment Centre Solar PanelsSolar panels at The Pavilion Performing Arts Centre,  30 Eton Street, Sutherland NSW

Case Study:  Council Going Off-Grid

  • The Anglers Club was originally connected to the main grid by 5 power poles that required replacement and going off-grid was found to be a significantly cheaper option than replacing them.
  • 22 solar panels were installed that can generate 11kW of energy an hour, and a battery that can hold 30kW of energy.
  • A new switchboard was also installed, and additional energy reduction updates were made, including a switch from floodlights to LED outdoor lights and an energy-efficient hot water heat pump system.
  • The off-grid system has been up and running since July 2023.
  • The removal of the powerlines has opened views for residents of Botany Bay.
  • The Anglers Club is now fully energy-independent, and there are no ongoing energy bills for Council.
  • This system will save approximately 1.7 tonnes of C02 emissions annually, the equivalent of 28.1 trees growing for 10 years.