What if businesses covered their roofs in panels? Could they store excess electricity in batteries or even in electric cars or delivery vans? How about if solar uptake spread across a whole industrial estate? Could it power the whole thing?
Six months down the track we’ve asked many more questions, done a great deal of research and come up with a vision for Brookvale.
Big if. But worth a try.
Read on for the full media release which has more details about the collaboration on Powerhouse Brookvale. If you work or live or play in Brookvale, please spread the word.
What is an Urban Renewable Energy Zone? Read on…
Imagine this. A clean, green, mini-power plant in the city where local businesses get paid for energy they collect from their roof; where cars and trucks are powered by the sun; where residences and businesses share energy storage; where having solar panels on your roof is not just smart, it’s normal.
It’s nearly here. Brookvale is home to the largest commercial area within the Northern Beaches and it’s also a powerhouse for renewable energy – 7000 solar panels producing 2 MWp. There are panels on car showrooms, hotels and office blocks, boutique brewers and coffee roasters. But there is room for so much more. Taking that number to 70,000 solar panels (which is 50% of Brookvale’s suitable roofs) is, well… You do the maths. 20 mW, the size of a small power station.
The trouble is, in spite of tax breaks, rebates and the best efforts of solar salesmen not enough businesses have jumped on the solar train. The obvious incentive – money – isn’t getting the attention of small business owners with day-to-day worries about Covid, cash flow and customers.
Zero Emissions Sydney North volunteers are collaborating with Clean Energy for Eternity and Clear Sky Solar Investments to help reach the Northern Beaches Council ambitious target of 50% of suitable premises in the LGA installing solar panels by 2030. We’re putting early adopters – Solar Champions, we call them – together with skilled volunteers – Solar Ambassadors – to provide trusted peer-to-peer support, instead of the solar hard sell. We help with finance, we do the research, we fill in the forms. All businesses need is a roof.
The project launches officially in February of next year, but we’re already running pilot schemes and looking for Solar Ambassadors. And we’re thrilled to announce that we have just won a $5000 grant from the Northern Beaches Council towards the project.
If you’re a business owner or property owner in Brookvale, of if you feel inspired by the idea of an Urban Renewable Energy Zone, we’d love to hear from you.
It’s been a week of winning prizes and kicking goals.
North of the Spit Bridge, a range of local heroes in environmentalism on the Northern Beaches gathered last week for the Council’s annual Eco Awards. Legends such as Phil Colman, who has dedicated his life to protecting Long Reef, and Brendan Donohoe, dogged campaigner for better care of our coast and ocean. As Brendan says, “Use science and tell the truth”. Words to live by.
Other winners included: Rosalynd Gooding, who successfully fought for the purchase and preservation of Hillside Road Littoral Rainforest; 17 year old Stephanie Jackson, founder of ‘Seas of Change’; and Joan Reid, who has been a volunteer with Sydney Wildlife Rescue for over 14 years.
Ann-Charlott Paduch and Harriet Cunningham were thrilled to accept the award for Sustainability and Climate Change on behalf of Zero Emissions Sydney North, and equally thrilled for Anyo Geddes & Sophie Scamps, our friends from Our Blue Dot, highly commended.
In the words of Northern Beaches Mayor Michael Regan, the Eco Awards awards “celebrate ordinary people, the unsung heroes, doing extraordinary things for the conservation of our environment and recognise community members who have volunteered their time and effort to enhance the region’s diverse and valuable, natural habitat.”
In the words of Harriet Cunningham: “Prizes are nice, but that’s not what we’re in it for. The best thing is being in the same room as all these inspiring people and knowing with people like this in the world, we can make a difference.”
Northern Beaches Council has signed a new deal for electricity supply which will save $1.9m, slash their carbon footprint by 80% and support the regional NSW economy.
Under the deal, electricity to Council’s large buildings and all streetlights will be supplied by Infigen, with renewable-sourced electricity generated by wind turbines located on a site at Bodangora, near Wellington.
This deal shaves some nine years off their commitment to swap to 100% renewable energy alternatives, a great outcome for the environment.
Zero Emissions founding member Dof Dickinson says:
Switching to a renewable energy supplier is one of the most important actions you can take to reduce emissions. It only takes five minutes of your time, but its impact lasts forever. If you are interested in taking meaningful action on reducing emissions, switching to a renewable energy supplier like Diamond Energy should be first on your list.
This new electricity supply deal is just part of the Northern Beaches Council ongoing strategy to take action on climate change. Other initiatives include:
the Beacon Hill Community battery
Over 800KW of solar panels installed including the 265kW “power station” solar system at Manly Andrew ‘Boy’ Charlton Aquatic Centre
5 battery electric vehicles and 13 plug-in or hybrid vehicles in Council’s fleet.