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After over a century as Australia’s coal capital, Newcastle is going renewable

Date: 31-Oct-19
Author: Liam Taylor

Newcastle will become the first council in NSW to transition to 100% renewable energy thanks to the wind turbines at Sapphire Wind Farm.

Newcastle will become the first council in NSW to transition to 100% renewable energy thanks to the wind turbines at Sapphire Wind Farm.

The Australian city, long notorious for being home to the largest coal exporting harbour in the world, has announced it will embark on a complete transition away from dirty energy.

It comes following the signing of a 10-year power purchase agreement with energy retailer Flow Power, which will supply power from the Sapphire Wind Farm in northeast NSW. Under this agreement, the City of Newcastle will become the first council in NSW to move to 100 per cent renewable energy as of the early stages of 2020.

The council decided to make the move based on the importance of sustainability initiatives among residents as well as the potential for them to benefit from the project.  The council estimates ratepayers will save around $1.8 million over the course of the 10-year contract, while a recent community survey showed residents ranked the switch to renewable energy as one of their highest priority measures to reduce the council's impact on the environment.

The council’s lord mayor Nuatali Nelmes said it was important for the council to become more sustainable and lead by example in terms of sustainability initiatives.

“Drawing all our energy needs from renewables is a significant achievement for the city and our mission to make our operations more sustainable and cost effective,” Ms Nelmes said in a statement.

“This means enough clean energy will be put into the grid to power every sportsground floodlight, local library, park-BBQ and any other facility Council operates." 

The City already currently uses around half a megawatt of solar energy generated on the roofs of local facilities, including Newcastle Museum, with an additional five megawatts to come from the solar farm at the Summerhill Waste Management Centre. 
Located 18km west of Glen Innes, CWP Renewables’ Sapphire Wind Farm generates enough energy to power around 115,000 homes annually. The facility is part of a 1,300-megawatt wind, solar and battery portfolio the Newcastle-based firm is building across Australia. 


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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia. Joining the communications team at Planet Ark, he hopes to inspire positive environmental behaviour through effective and positive messaging.

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