Push to make solar switch in renewable energy plan

COFFS Coast Climate Action Group is continuing to place pressure on Coffs Harbour City Council ahead of Thursday night's meeting, where the council will table its Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan.  

The action group is concerned the council will use the meeting as a chance to backtrack on existing targets, which include reducing its yearly corporate emissions from 2010 levels by 50% by 2025, and its energy use consisting of 100% renewables by 2030.  

Climate Action Group "climate angel" Marnie Cotton this week visited Karangi Water Treatment Plant and other council sites the group considers ideal for installing solar power.  

"What is the council waiting for?" Ms Cotton said.  

"Karangi Water Treatment Plant is one of council's biggest energy users.   

"Solar panels here would be just heavenly, paying for themselves in just a few years and greatly reducing carbon pollution."  

A council spokeswoman said a number of solar power installations were already in place, providing significant savings in energy costs.  

"In 2010, Coffs Harbour City Council installed the largest public rooftop solar power array in NSW on the top of Rigby House, which saves $30,000 per annum in electricity costs," the spokeswoman said.  

"In addition, we have solar photovoltaic power panels on the Castle St car park, at the Botanic Garden and at Woolgoolga Lakeside Holiday Park."  

The spokeswoman said the Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan being tabled this week includes a number of solar initiatives.  

"In the short-term to 2020, it proposes we prioritise a list of council facilities that would be most suitable for the installation of solar panels," she said.  

"In the longer-term up to 2025, there is a proposal for a large-scale solar generation project of around 70 hectares in size.   

"As part of that process, possible locations will need to be identified and detailed assessments of their suitability undertaken."  

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