Lachlan Shire Council has taken out top spot in two divisions of the highly contested LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Awards 2021.
The awards encompassed 12 award categories, with three separate divisions in each category based on population.
At the virtual award presentation, Council was recognised for its outstanding environmental achievements and was crowned Division A winner (population less than 30,000) and overall winner for Sustainable Infrastructure – Renewable Energy project (solar power); while Council’s nomination under the Toward Net Zero Emissions Division A section saw Council scoop the winners’ award for the Shire’s Energy Sustainability Plan.
“This is a fantastic achievement and reflects the hard work carried out within a short period of time and the work that we will continue to carry out into the future to make Council’s buildings and infrastructure more energy efficient,” Lachlan Shire Council General Manager Greg Tory explained.
In 2020, Council developed and adopted an ambitious Energy Sustainability Plan with an aim for its electricity consumption to be carbon neutral by 2050.
The Plan features solar power and renewable energy installations, battery storage trials, tariff changes and lighting overhauls as well as other initiatives that have already resulted in significant savings.
To implement the Plan, Council secured $1.1m in Federal Government funding under the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program to undertake 14 solar energy projects.
“The long-term outcomes from our renewable energy projects are expected to deliver significant benefits including an annual generation of 978 MWh of renewable energy, a reduction of 792 tonnes per annum in Council’s carbon footprint, 27 per cent reduction in net energy compared to the 2019 baseline, and a 17 per cent reduction in gross energy import from the grid,” Mr Tory stated.
“Being the recipient of these state awards is an outstanding result for Lachlan Shire, and an achievement we should all be very proud of, particularly given the growing community demand for all governments to address climate change and sustainability.
“These projects were delivered on time, and on budget, and I would like to thank Council’s Director Environment, Tourism and Economic Development Jon Shillito and our Environment and Waste Coordinator Rowan Bentick for their vision, commitment, and drive in bringing these projects to fruition.”