1 August 2013
The Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is financing street lighting upgrades which help councils make significant savings on their energy bills and cut carbon emissions.
CEFC CEO Oliver Yates said street lighting was a major cost for Australian councils with more than 2.28 million streetlights nationwide representing energy and maintenance costs of more than $400 million a year and responsible for an estimated 30 to 60 per cent of council carbon emissions.
"Councils and their ratepayers pay the energy and maintenance costs of street lighting even though they do not own the assets," he said.
"We're helping councils reduce those costs by providing finance to create outcomes that benefit their communities."
Victoria's Baw Baw Shire Council will use CEFC finance to upgrade its street lighting to cut carbon emissions by an expected 18 per cent and save more than $160,000 a year.
Baw Baw Mayor Murray Cook said more than 2,660 mercury vapour street lights would be upgraded in a $1 million project which had received $550,000 finance from the CEFC and a grant from the Australian Government's Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) for the remainder.
"Street lighting is responsible for about 40 per cent of our council carbon emissions.
Switching to more energy efficient street lighting will help reduce our overall emissions levels by about 18 per cent," Cr Cook said.
"Doing nothing would have cost our Council about $450,000 by 2020, but by taking advantage of the grant funding and using finance to improve the lights, we'll be saving ratepayers' money and reducing our impact on the environment for years to come."
Experienced local government consultants Ironbark Sustainability helped the Council secure the CEEP funding for the project.
About Baw Baw Shire Council
Baw Baw Shire Council covers an area of 4,027 square kilometres in the heart of West Gippsland east of Melbourne. The northern half of the Shire is heavily forested and lies in the Great Dividing Range and its foothills, including parts of the Mt Baw Baw National Park. The Shire is bounded by the Strzelecki Range and its foothills to the south. Its population is estimated at about 43,000 and the Shire includes the towns of Warragul, Drouin, Trafalgar, Yarragon and Longwarry.
About Ironbark Sustainability
Ironbark Sustainability is a specialist consultancy that assists government and business to reduce energy and water usage through sustainable asset and data management and on-the-ground implementation. Drawing on a breadth of knowledge around sustainable asset management, Ironbark Sustainability's main areas of expertise are in street lighting, facilities, funding applications, data management and climate change strategies and action plans. Ironbark has worked with over 200 Australian local governments, state governments and businesses on sustainable asset management projects.
About the Community Energy Efficiency Program
CEEP is providing $112 million in grants to 170 local governments and non-profit community groups for energy efficiency upgrades such as lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditioning. These grants will improve the energy efficiency and amenity of council and community use facilities, including museums, aquatic and leisure centres, community clubs and town halls.