Wagga Wagga City Council saves energy

Wagga Wagga City Council will install a cogeneration unit at its aquatic centre after the summer season, as part of a $780,000 upgrade.

Low Carbon Australia Limited, an independent company established by the Australian Government in 2010 to deliver innovative programs to help the move towards a low carbon economy, is helping finance the project.

Meg McDonald, CEO of Low Carbon Australia, congratulated Wagga Wagga City Council on its foresight and said it was among a growing number of local governments acting to reduce their energy costs.

“Upgrading to cleaner technology and equipment can help councils make significant inroads on reducing their energy costs and lowering carbon emissions,” she said.

“We’re working with Wagga Wagga and other councils to finance projects to enable them to make changes now without upfront costs.”

Wagga Wagga City Council’s Mayor, Rod Kendall, said the new cogeneration unit is expected to produce annual energy cost savings of at least $320,000.

“That’s more than half the aquatic centre’s estimated annual energy costs,” he said.

The project received $375,075 in Australian Government funding through the Community Energy Efficiency Program (CEEP) and $338,250 in finance from Low Carbon Australia.

As part of its CEEP, the Australian Government provides grant assistance to help councils invest in energy efficiency and to realize the benefits of reduced energy costs.

The cogeneration unit follows work the Council undertook last year with Low Carbon Australia finance, involving upgrades to Wagga’s Civic Centre, Civic Theatre and Wagga Wagga Airport.

Cr Kendall said that, in the year since the installation of new energy efficient equipment, the operating costs of the three facilities combined were reduced by nearly $60,000.

“The figures were slightly better than estimated, which is great news for us, because we’re able to use those additional savings to pay back the finance sooner,” he said.

“We’re working towards achieving our Energy Savings Action Plan by making significant reductions to the costs of the four largest energy consuming buildings operated by Council, while reducing our carbon footprint.”

The aquatic centre plant is expected to help the Council avoid approximately 1000 tonnes of carbon emissions annually, while the energy saving measures at the other three buildings were expected to avoid approximately 200 tonnes annually.

Together, the total annual carbon emissions across the four buildings are expected to drop by 23 percent.