Edward Mandla
Final Decentralised Energy Master Plan – Renewable Energy

Published On: 02/12/2013

Lord Mayor every one minute and nineteen seconds we have a new migrant arriving to our shores. Many end up in the City of Sydney.

At face value, that’s scary and it makes you shiver thinking “where will we get the energy to power their lives?” The reality is that NSW is drowning in electricity capacity. People are simply using less and solar panels and solar hot water have driven volumes right down.

The energy grid is not an evil thing. The grid will change and evolve. It brings power from renewable sources and it will continue to bring more and more renewable energy.

So here we are. A Council that struggles with dumping, can’t stop bill posters, has endless projects behind schedule and can’t deliver a swimming pool on time is going to generate 100% of it’s electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It’s a bit far fetched.

There are a lot of good things in the Decentralised Energy Master Plan and I’m not against it but repeatedly stating that the City of Sydney can supply 100% of it’s energy needs from renewable energy by 2030 is tantamount to fraud. We skirt around the topic by saying “potential” and “could” but we’re just playing with words and the effect is misleading.

We’re giving people false hope. We’re telling people they can relax. That’s wrong.

On page 4, the Council papers state: “The final Masterplan provides a Blueprint that could be achieved over time with appropriate implementation plans and regulatory change. The implementation of the Master Plan cannot be delivered by the City alone and without regulatory change, nor can the outcomes be realised in a short time frame.” Let’s call this the disclaimer.

This is dumbed down in the Foreword of the Master Plan and regulatory changes are not explicitly mentioned.

On page 25, we just plain lie – concluding without any mention of the disclaimer that “we would deliver a 100% renewable energy system by 2030”.

Given the disclaimer, no one in this room would put there own money in this scheme and no one in the private sector would finance something that isn’t possible.

By continually using positive language around the disclaimer it reduces the paper to an advertisement for the Lord Mayor’s office. As it stands, the Lord Mayor could run an election campaign off the document. Not really fair to Councillors on this side of the table.

Over the years, I understand we’ve had the leaders of energy companies in the Lord Mayor’s office. They’ve all told the Lord Mayor that 100% energy generation from renewable sources is not cost effective at the precinct level. They’ve all told the Lord Mayor 100% energy generation is beyond the remit of a Council. By adding the disclaimer in my amendment we are at least indirectly acknowledging this reality.

I appeal to our Councillors, particularly on this side of the table, that this vision and ambition we have is great but we have an obligation to be have a disclaimer of every page to truthfully say that the City will not achieve this alone and not without regulatory change.

Edward Mandla
December 2013

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