Why is the City developing a community energy plan and who will benefit?

The Community Energy Plan is being developed to support City of Stirling residents take charge of their energy use at home by:

·  Switching Off: avoiding energy use

·  Switching Up: improving energy efficiency

·  Switching Over: changing to renewable resources

These changes save money and help slow down global warming.

Household electricity consumption in the City reduced an average of 3 per cent in 2018 from 2012 levels. This is only 0.5 per cent per year on average. The community energy plan aims to assist residents reduce energy use at home at a much faster rate.

What is the workshop about?

Do you feel comfortable at home on the coldest winter days even without a heater? How about during heatwaves in summer without an air conditioner? It may sound like a dream but that’s the future we are working towards with the community. 

Join consultation expert Joel Levin from Aha! Consulting to explore what motivates you to save energy in your home and how the City can support you on your journey. Special guest and sustainability expert Professor Peter Newman is set to talk about why urgent action is needed to slow global warming. Peter will explain the science in a simple way, motivating you to take action in your neighbourhood - starting at home. And enjoy a pedal powered display to help visualise how much energy we use at home every day!

What does ‘taking charge' of energy use mean and why is it important?

When we say take charge of energy use we mean use less energy and choose renewable options whenever possible. This includes creating an achievable Energy Plan for changing energy use at home.

It is important to take charge of energy use because the cost of electricity, gas and petrol is high and continuing to increase. By using less energy we save money. Often it costs more to buy appliances and lights that use less energy (are more efficient) but they cost less to run from year to year. Switching to renewable energy (instead of fossil fuel energy) can be expensive but will eventually pay itself off. That is why the City wants to help residents to make these changes.

It is important to take charge because fossil fuels are a valuable resource that will run out one day. When we use traditional grid energy (from a power point in the wall) it comes from burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are formed from the remains of ancient plants and animals, buried deep inside the Earth for millions of years. Over a long time, heat and pressure has turned these remains into the fossil fuels that we call coal, oil and natural gas.

It is important to take charge because burning of fossil fuels is a major contributor to global warming (see more information in What is global warming or climate change? below). 
We all need to make changes at home to slow down global warming. 

What is global warming or climate change?

Global warming or climate change is happening because humans burn fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) and have cleared large areas of land globally, which has increased the amount of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and fluorocarbons) in our atmosphere. This has caused temperatures to rise and triggered environmental processes (e.g. sea levels rising, ice caps melting and changing climatic regions).

This is a problem because the changes are happening so quickly eco-systems don’t have time to adapt. This includes built city environments which have, or will have, increased flooding, increased mosquito borne disease, more severe weather events such as storms and tornadoes. We need to take charge of our energy consumption to slow down global warming. 

Why do we need to act now to slow down global warming?

The City of Stirling wants to help residents to use less fossil fuel power and slow down global warming.

For years scientists have known that global warming is caused by human activity. As more greenhouses gases continue to be released from clearing land and burning of fossil fuels, bigger climate changes will occur. The experts on climate change, the Inter-government panel on climate change or IPCC, have urged us to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible. This means act now. The IPCC are encouraging the world to limit warming at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels (before humans began burning fossil fuels). If we all work together we can still achieve this.

Australia is also a signatory of the Paris Agreement (2016) which aims to strengthen the global response to the threat of climate change by keeping global temperature rise this century below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Additionally to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Australia is currently committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 26-28 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030.

To find out more see the useful links section.

Why should Australians take charge of our energy use when China/India is emitting so much?

It is important to take charge of energy use to slow global warming but we also need to consider that everyone deserves hygienic and safe places to live as a basic Human Right. Many places around the world are still waiting to access clean drinking water and electricity.

It has been agreed at a global level that all countries deserve to achieve a basic standard of living while they work towards reducing their contribution to global warming.

Since Australians have an excellent standard of living with electricity at our fingertips and clean drinking water at the turn of a tap, we are ready to begin reducing our contribution to global warming now.

I want to create an energy plan for my home. Where do I start?

To create an Energy Plan it is important to understand what your energy needs are at home. To find this out you can look at energy bills and see how much power is being used. The City also offers free Energy Audits to residents. As part of this service an expert will look over your energy bills and then walk through your home to identify appliances that use lots of power and simple improvements that could reduce energy needs.

To apply for a home energy audit, click here.

What is the City doing to reduce energy use?

The City of Stirling began taking charge of its energy use in 2012. Prior to this, the City purchased renewable energy through an energy supplier (Green Power) and additionally offset fleet emissions. In 2012 the City made a decision to instead focus on reducing use, improving efficiency and increasing renewable energy sources.  Examples of these energy projects include, the installation of LED lighting, Solar PV and efficient irrigation pumps etc. This approach was beneficial for the environment and saves the City money on energy bills. 


What kind of financial support is the City exploring as part of the consultation?

Financial support could be offered to households in a range of ways. Upfront Incentives or Discounts reduce the out of pocket expense a resident needs to pay. Buy Back Schemes allow residents to purchase items without any upfront costs and slowly pay off the investment at an agreed rate. Rebates provide a fixed payment for agreed items after purchase to reduce overall costs.

What other kinds of support is the City considering apart from financial support?

  • Household energy information and resources (including online information)
  • Face to face household energy workshops and training
  • Home audits including tailored advice about energy in your own home
  • Follow-up to see how you are going (online tool or bill advice)
  • Opportunities to connect with like-minded people and share ideas. 

How can residents ‘Switch Off’ or avoid energy use?

'Switching Off' simply means turn it off or use it less. For example, turning off lighting and appliances will save money immediately by using less energy. If you have solar, switching off means more energy will be exported back to the grid.

How can residents ‘Switch Up’ or improve energy efficiency?

'Switching Up' means using less energy to do the same thing. For example, an old refrigerator uses a lot more energy than a new model but it performs the same task of keeping food and drinks cool. The technical way to say this is improve energy efficiency.

How can residents ‘Switch Over’ to renewable energy?

'Switching Over' is generally best considered after energy use has been reduced through a combination of 'Switching Off' and 'Switching Up'. We 'Switch Over' by changing from fossil fuel energy or traditional grid electricity and gas power to renewable energy sources, such as solar PV rooftop systems, solar battery storage and wind power.

When will the Community Energy Plan be finalised?

It is expected that the Community Energy Plan will be released by December 2019.