SYD­NEY 2030


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For once, busi­ness and bu­reau­crats seem to be on the same page. Lo­cal gov­ern­ment and ma­jor busi­ness groups want to see more ef­fi­cient energy sys­tems in Aus­tralia. In fact, the City of Syd­ney has cre­ated a blue­print to be adopted by 2030 that cre­ates a green, global and con­nected land­scape. To achieve this vi­sion the city is im­ple­ment­ing cli­mate change ini­tia­tives in­clud­ing: • Energy ef­fi­ciency retrofits, LED street and park light­ing and rolling out Aus­tralia’s largest build­ing mounted so­lar panel pro­ject on the City’s own build­ings and oper­a­tions • Bet­ter Build­ings Part­ner­ship and En­vi­ron­men­tal Up­grade Agree­ments to help busi­ness to re­duce energy bills and emis­sions • Green In­fra­struc­ture Plan – Tri­gen­er­a­tion, Re­new­able Energy, Ad­vanced Waste Treat­ment and De­cen­tralised Wa­ter Master Plans to de­tail the in­fra­struc­ture needed to de­liver Sus­tain­able Syd­ney 2030. The City of Syd­ney re­cently urged mem­bers of the NSW Par­lia­ment to re­form out­dated elec­tric­ity reg­u­la­tions pre­vent­ing the in­stal­la­tion of low-car­bon tri­gen­er­a­tion elec­tric­ity precincts.

At a hear­ing of the NSW Par­lia­ment’s Public Ac­counts Com­mit­tee into tri­gen­er­a­tion, the City of Syd­ney’s Chief De­vel­op­ment Of­fi­cer Energy and Cli­mate Change, Allan Jones, said ma­jor busi­nesses groups that want to bring more ef­fi­cient energy sys­tems to Aus­tralia echoed the City’s views.

“Tri­gen­er­a­tion is a proven way to pro­duce elec­tric­ity lo­cally and to re­cy­cle the waste heat that would oth­er­wise be thrown away at re­mote power sta­tions and not only slash car­bon emis­sions but re­duce energy costs at the same time,” Allan says.

“While the cur­rent reg­u­la­tions al­low in­stal­la­tion of a tri­gen­er­a­tion plant in a sin­gle build­ing, they make it very dif­fi­cult to in­stall big­ger, more ef­fi­cient plants which could sup­ply elec­tric­ity, heat­ing and cool­ing to a clus­ter of neigh­bour­ing build­ings be­cause of the pro­hib­i­tive cost of trans­port­ing elec­tric­ity short dis­tances.”

The way the reg­u­la­tions work now, the net­work charges to move elec­tric­ity across the road is the same as bring­ing elec­tric­ity on the net­work all the way down from the Hunter Val­ley.

“In many other coun­tries reg­u­la­tions that make these plants more eco­nom­i­cally vi­able have led to the in­stal­la­tion of thou­sands of megawatts of tri­gen­er­a­tion power and sig­nif­i­cantly slashed car­bon emis­sions.

“Tri­gen­er­a­tion net­works in the US, UK, Rus­sia, China, Ger­many, In­dia and Ja­pan of­fer a cheaper and cleaner al­ter­na­tive to coal-fired power, prov­ing this is a safe and re­li­able way to pro­duce lo­cal elec­tric­ity, heat­ing and cool­ing. There are cur­rently more than 330 gi­gawatts of elec­tric­ity pro­duced world­wide us­ing tri­gen­er­a­tion. With the rest of the world mov­ing in this di­rec­tion, it’s time for Aus­tralia to join the 21st cen­tury on this crit­i­cal is­sue.”

Allan was brought into the Syd­ney pro­ject in late 2008 due to his vast ex­pe­ri­ence in meet­ing a city’s energy re­quire­ments. He says the dif­fer­ence in the UK, where he had ex­tra­or­di­nary re­sults, to Aus­tralia was reg­u­la­tion.

“In Wok­ing we had a bet­ter reg­u­la­tory regime. We were able to form joint ven­tures with the pri­vate sec­tor. By the time I left Wok­ing I’d im­ple­mented more than 80 pri­vate de­cen­tralised energy sys­tems.

“Over here lo­cal gov­ern­ment is not recog­nised in your con­sti­tu­tion, so any­thing that we try to do in this area is sub­ject to min­is­te­rial ap­proval and that’s just too big a risk for the pri­vate sec­tor to want to par­tic­i­pate with the public sec­tor.”

The public and pri­vate sec­tors work­ing to­gether is nec­es­sary to de­liver Sus­tain­able Syd­ney 2030 so this was one of the first things that Allan had to ad­dress through such ini­tia­tives as the Bet­ter Build­ings Part­ner­ship and En­vi­ron­men­tal Up­grade Agree­ments.

With­out too many bar­ri­ers, cer­tainly at the gov­ern­ment level in Wok­ing,

Allan helped re­duce CO2 emis­sions by 77.5% from 1990 lev­els to 2004, im­proved the energy ef­fi­ciency of the ex­ist­ing hous­ing stock within its area by 30% from 1996 to 2004 and un­der­took ground­break­ing work on energy and wa­ter ef­fi­ciency, pri­vate wire CHP co­gen­er­a­tion and tri­gen­er­a­tion de­cen­tralised energy sys­tems, en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly waste re­cy­cling/re­cov­ery and energy from waste tech­nolo­gies, al­ter­na­tive fu­els for trans­port, re­new­able energy and fuel cells. Wok­ing in­stalled 81 pri­vate wire de­cen­tralised energy sys­tems, nearly 10% of the UK’s to­tal in­stalled so­lar energy pho­to­voltaics and the first fuel cell CHP in the UK. Wok­ing was able to able to im­ple­ment pri­vate wire net­works un­der the UK’s ex­empt li­cens­ing regime.

He re­peated these achieve­ments in 2004, when the then Mayor of Lon­don, Ken Liv­ing­stone re­cruited Jones to head up his new cli­mate change agency for Lon­don as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer (2004 to 2008) of the Lon­don Cli­mate Change Agency Ltd.

Allan is cred­ited with the re­moval of the reg­u­la­tory bar­ri­ers to de­cen­tralised energy in the UK with the high level ad­vo­cacy and lob­by­ing that led to the cre­ation of a sep­a­rate elec­tric­ity sup­ply li­cence for de­cen­tralised energy or dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion to sup­ply elec­tric­ity over the lo­cal dis­tri­bu­tion net­work, oth­er­wise known as the ‘vir­tual pri­vate wire’ over public wires prin­ci­ple.

Allan has thus had to ap­proach things dif­fer­ently in Aus­tralia.

We want the same out­come for Syd- ney, so we need to press for elec­tric­ity reg­u­la­tory re­form for de­cen­tralised energy. The City is do­ing all that it can, so for tri­gen­er­a­tion for ex­am­ple, it is look­ing at en­abling ther­mal energy net­works be­tween build­ings so that sur­plus ther­mal energy can be supplied to other build­ings in the precinct.

Some schemes are mov­ing ahead via en­vi­ron­men­tal up­grade agree­ments

and the bet­ter build­ings part­ner­ship, a part­ner­ship be­tween the City and 15 of the city’s ma­jor land­lords who own more than 50% of the com­mer­cial real es­tate in the city. So things are hap­pen­ing de­spite the reg­u­la­tory bar­ri­ers.

The City of Syd­ney al­ready has ap­prox­i­mately 15 tri­gen­er­a­tion sys­tems in place but Allan wants to see those move away from build­ing only sys­tems to sup­ply other build­ings very high lev­els of ef­fi­ciency and a much greater re­duc­tion in green­house gas emis­sions.

A part of Allan’s role when he moved to Aus­tralia just un­der four years ago was to up­skill staff. Nei­ther he nor the City wanted some­one to fly in and fly out af­ter mak­ing changes, but have no­body un­der­stand what was done. This would make it im­pos­si­ble to con­tinue the work.

“There’s been quite a sig­nif­i­cant up­skilling of peo­ple in­side this or­gan­i­sa­tion; whether it’s de­sign or op­er­a­tion main­te­nance or the ac­tual de­liv­ery of the projects that I helped de­velop like build­ing energy ef­fi­ciency have been al­lo­cated to dif­fer­ent de­part­ments for them to man­age the con­tracts go­ing for­ward be­cause I re­ally didn’t need to be a con­tract man­ager as well.”

It is a long process to get ev­ery­body on board, in­clud­ing staff and out­side el­e­ments, but Allan be­lieves that the best way to con­vince some­one of the ef­fi­cacy of a pro­gram is to take them on the jour­ney with you.

“When we de­vel­oped the tri­gen­er­a­tion mas­ter­plan, one of the first things I did was to in­volve Ausgrid, the elec­tric­ity net­work op­er­a­tor and Je­mena, the gas net­work op­er­a­tor into the pro­ject team. The tech­ni­cal de­tail of how energy is con­sumed in the city and at what point can you in­ject sur­plus elec­tric­ity into the lo­cal elec­tric­ity net­work at par­tic­u­lar ca­pac­i­ties was pro­vided by

Build­ing a greener Syd­ney

pitt&sherry, with pro­ject part­ner Ex­ergy Aus­tralia Ltd, is work­ing closely with the City of Syd­ney to im­prove energy ef­fi­ciency in build­ings as part of the Green In­fra­struc­ture Plan. As a lead­ing multi-spe­cial­ist con­sul­tancy, pitt&sherry has been de­liv­er­ing in­tel­li­gent and sus­tain­able so­lu­tions to in­dus­try, gov­ern­ment and com­mu­ni­ties for over 50 years. – pitt&sherry Ausgrid. ‘ The tri­gen­er­a­tion mas­ter­plan is a de­tailed tech­ni­cal doc­u­ment that can be used by any­one who wants to de­velop a tri­gen­er­a­tion net­work.’

Sim­i­larly we’ve done the same thing with the re­new­able energy and the de­cen­tralised wa­ter mas­ter­plans. The pri­vate sec­tor on its own would have never have done that, they need a busi­ness case, so you in­volve them in the process and they un­der­stand they should get a re­turn on in­vest­ment.”

Another prob­lem Allan has had to over­come is a lack of knowl­edge in this area.

Aus­tralia is be­hind Europe, Amer­ica and Asia in the adop­tion of de­cen­tralised energy and ad­vanced re­new­able energy pro­grammes. For ex­am­ple, new ‘power to gas’ tech­nolo­gies con­vert­ing sur­plus wind and so­lar into re­new­able gas used in Europe could un­lock Aus­tralia’s vast re­new­able energy min­ing and ex­port po­ten­tial. Aus­tralia’s so­lar energy re­source alone is 10,000 times Aus­tralia’s to­tal an­nual energy con­sump­tion and less than 1% of this re­source would equal Aus­tralia’s cur­rent black coal and nat­u­ral gas ex­ports at an eco­nomic value of $31 bil­lion. No holes would have to be drilled or dug, the re­source would never run out and Aus­tralia could be re­duc­ing global emis­sions rather than in­creas­ing them if it adopted these tech­nolo­gies.

“One of the ben­e­fits of me be­ing here is that I can show peo­ple that this isn’t rocket science. Ger­many’s do­ing it, Den­mark’s do­ing it, Cal­i­for­nia’s do­ing it, the UK is do­ing it. Coun­tries like South Korea, In­dia, Ja­pan, and even China are do­ing this, how­ever I find that a lot of peo­ple in­volved in this pro­ject area are to­tally un­aware of that. So just pro­vid­ing them with the in­for­ma­tion and mak­ing them aware that this is al­ready be­ing done else­where makes it much eas­ier for them to get on with the pro­ject rather than think­ing that they’re work­ing at some kind of lead­ing edge level that they feel un­com­fort­able with.”

“I guess a lot of what I’ve done to un­lock the po­ten­tial in Aus­tralia is the sort of dis­sem­i­na­tion of in­for­ma­tion and knowl­edge that makes peo­ple aware of how you go about de­sign­ing, build­ing and op­er­at­ing these sys­tems.”

Other coun­tries and world cities may be ahead in­di­vid­u­ally with tri­gen­er­a­tion, so­lar, wind, re­new­able gas from waste, de­cen­tralised wa­ter and so on but not, as yet, as an in­te­grated so­lu­tion for sus­tain­abil­ity, cli­mate change mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion.’

Where the City of Syd­ney has ac­tu­ally be­come a world leader is not, as yet, in the de­liv­ery of sus­tain­able energy, wa­ter or waste of the scale that has al­ready been de­liv­ered in other world cities, but in join­ing up the dots and show­ing how a world city can be­come 100% sus­tain­able and self-suf­fi­cient through the ap­pli­ca­tion of its green in­fra­struc­ture and other plans that both mit­i­gates and is re­silient to cli­mate change.

“How you go about de­car­bon­is­ing the cities in a mat­ter of a cou­ple of decades is of key in­ter­est to the rest of the world. We’re ac­tu­ally get­ting a lot of en­quiries from over­seas cities. We make all that tech­ni­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion avail­able to peo­ple on the ‘Pow­er­ing Syd­ney’ web­site; it can be freely down­loaded, and so we’re work­ing with other world cities around to copy what we’re do­ing in terms of the mas­ter­plan­ning process – of how you ac­tu­ally go about de­car­bon­is­ing the city to a 100% re­new­able energy city, a sus­tain­able wa­ter sup­ply and so on.”

For decades now, Allan has been in­volved in best prac­tice re­new­able energy so­lu­tions. Though Aus­tralia has been be­hind in knowl­edge and im­ple­men­ta­tion, it is hoped that the City of Syd­ney pro­ject will have na­tion­wide im­pact. All it takes is sim­ple things like con­vert­ing waste into re­new­able gases for in­jec­tion into the gas grid to sup­ply the planned tri­gen­er­a­tion net­work and us­ing LED lights in the city streets. Allan is now four years into the pro­ject, but al­ready he feels that the 2030 tar­get will be achieved be­fore­hand.

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