The Taree waste center in New South Wales is receiving a set of solar panels and a battery system, with support from a state government agency.
During the November 2019 bushfires, operations at the Center were interrupted by a power outage for a considerable period of time.
“Without electricity, the Center would not be able to process the waste”, said David Rees, waste management services manager at MidCoast Council.
This was not an ideal situation given that the facility handles waste from the entire local government area and operates 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. But thanks to a $200,000 helping hand from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), the Center will soon have 75kW of solar panels and a 60kW battery system.1 which will help it deal with network disruptions in the future.
Funding is provided as part of the EPA bushfire recovery programs, one of which supports projects to repair or improve the Council’s landfill facilities while providing multiple benefits and positive outcomes for a community. A total of $22.1 million in funding was provided to 15 councils for 26 landfill infrastructure projects that restore or improve municipal landfills.
“Once the signs are lit, MidCoast Council’s carbon footprint will decrease, as will costs to the community, while its ability to respond to natural disasters will increase. A fantastic project in every way!” said Liesbet Spanjaard of NSW EPA.
The project – which will see solar panels installed on the roofs of the transfer station and community recycling center – is expected to be completed by the end of this month.
Waste And MidCoast Council Climate Change Strategy
Taree Waste Center facility also aligns with Council Climate Change Strategy and its commitment to achieve 100% renewable energy and net zero emissions by 2040.
The organization has already installed solar power systems on other assets; among them a 160-panel installation at Tuncurry’s reclaimed water treatment plant and a 160 kW system at its customer service center at Yalawanyi Ganya in Taree.
Including energy and waste, MidCoast Council’s greenhouse gas emissions were estimated at 101,540 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (t CO2-e) in 2018-2019, which was the year of reference chosen for the elaboration of its strategy. More than 71% of these emissions were associated with waste.
The council is targeting net zero emissions from landfills by 2050 and achieving a 75% diversion rate of waste from landfills to recycling. These ambitions have seen some setbacks in recent years, with an increase in waste going to landfill following the bushfires, then clean-ups after the March 2021 floods and again this year.
Between the floods and the fires, it’s no wonder the MidCoast Council takes the issue of climate change very seriously. But he was doing it even before these events; declare a climate emergency in October 2019.
“…we call on New South Wales and the Federal Governments to work bipartisanly to take clear, effective and unambiguous action to avert a climate crisis in New South Wales and Australia,” said the mayor at this moment.
Unfortunately, this crisis is already well and truly underway – but beyond that.
- Whether the Council meant 60 kWh is unclear. ↩