Wollongong City Council (WCC) is set to sign up for renewable energy for its electricity supply in a move which its staff say will result in cost savings as well as environmental benefits.
The council will on Monday consider a report which recommends it join with other councils and purchasers using Procurement Australia (PA), a group which started as a buying agent for councils in Victoria.
The report, from the council's manager of governance and customer service Todd Hopwood, said entering a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) in advance would enable WCC to reduce emissions from electricity consumption by 81 per cent.
This would be a cut of 10.7 per cent in the council's total greenhouse gas emissions, and a significant step towards its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.
Mr Hopwood's report quoted analysis which showed the council would actually save money on the deal, compared to current pricing. But the analysis which demonstrates this was kept confidential because the modelling "would be advantageous to potential tender respondents".
"The analysis found that the estimated PPA [cost] would be slightly less than the current level of expenditure under council's current contracts for electricity supply for street lighting and large sites," Mr Hopwood wrote.
It would cover council's street light network, and 18 "large sites". Smaller sites would not be included.
The estimated [cost] would be slightly less than the current level of expenditure under councils current contractsWollongong City Council report
The report says using a procurement agency such as Procurement Australia would help counter volatility in the energy market, was able to draw power from different renewable sources as the need may be, and could assist the council to negotiate the PPA which was "notoriously difficult to engineer".
More than 40 councils in Victoria have signed up for a PPA, for a term of 9.5 years.
"This means that almost all Victorian councils, have a long-term renewable energy contract, via a PPA mechanism," Mr Hopwood's report says.
"This demonstrates that renewable energy PPAs are quickly emerging as the procurement model for meeting council energy needs into the future."
We depend on subscription revenue to support our journalism. If you are able, please subscribe here. If you are already a subscriber, thank you for your support.