Local council projects

Council climate strategies

There are several strategies you can encourage your local council to adopt in order to reduce carbon emissions in your area:

Encourage local project applications

This one is easy! Your council could make sure community organisations in your area are aware they can apply for a CORENA project to reduce their carbon footprint. We accept projects where the organisation rents council-owned premises, like the examples above, or the organisation might own or rent other premises.

All details are on the project application page, and a handy info sheet can be downloaded here.

Apply for a getting-off-gas project loan

Graphic showing no-gas icon

More and more local councils are reducing carbon emissions from their own buildings and facilities by installing solar and/or buying renewable electricity. They could achieve an even greater impact if they used that carbon-free electricity to replace fossil gas for heating their swimming pools, building heating, and hot water.

CORENA can provide loans to councils for getting off gas projects in cases where their capital works budget won’t stretch far enough to eliminate gas use within the next few years. Reducing emissions now rather than later is crucial.

By doing so your council would be setting a good decarbonisation example to the entire community and encouraging solar owners in particular to replace gas appliances with efficient electric ones. For more information see Getting off fossil gas.

Set up a council-run revolving climate fund

Clever Climate Economics for Local Councils Powerpoint

Your council could set up its own revolving fund. The resources at the links below focus on solar, but the revolving fund model is equally applicable to other emissions reduction initiatives, such as schemes to help householders get off fossil gas.

You can download the Clever Climate Economics Powerpoint to see an overview of how a local council solar revolving fund works. You can also download an interactive Excel file for automatically calculating quarterly payment amounts and payback terms that suit your area.

Please contact us if you have questions.

Householders’ perspective

If a householder participates in a council-run revolving climate fund scheme, their carbon emissions will be greatly reduced as soon as the solar or other emissions reduction project is implemented without any impost on the household budget.

The following chart is an example showing the effect on quarterly expenses if a householder participates in a revolving solar scheme (assuming electricity bills are currently $500/quarter).

Chart showing no budget impact while repaying a Council solar project loan

Steps to set up a revolving climate fund

  • Determine capacity of Council to fund a solar scheme – Council reserves? Low-interest loan?
  • Check mechanisms Council could use to receive solar repayments – Special Charge on rates notices (so the debt is attached to the premises rather than the current owner)? Other type of payment agreement?
  • Get indicative costings for high-quality solar installations from reputable local suppliers
  • Determine likely uptake of solar scheme – Public info session to explain concept and get preliminary indications of interest? Survey?
  • Determine Council’s preferred system sizes, panels, inverters, monitoring, warranties, etc., to offer to local households/businesses
  • Call for tenders from reputable solar suppliers so that precise costs are known
  • Publicise solar scheme and invite applications for a solar installation from local residents/businesses (subject to outcome of site visit by solar supplier)
  • Arrange for solar supplier to make site visits, advise on best system design for the premises, and give quotes to the householder/business
  • Sign agreements with householders/businesses who wish to accept the quote they have received
  • Check outcomes – Inspect at least some of the in-progress or completed solar installations in person? Enable remote monitoring of solar performance so Council staff can check all solar installations are operating correctly?

A community Climate Emergency fund

Map of Australia showing local councils that have declared a Climate Emergency

If your local council is one of the 100+ Australian councils that declared a Climate Emergency by mid-2021, chances are they are working on strategies to engage their local community and make the entire area carbon neutral.

Our suggestion:

  • pick an inspiring project, such as every local pensioner having an efficient reverse-cycle air conditioner to protect them during heat waves and also to keep them warm in winter without needing to switch on their gas heating
  • set up a council-managed revolving fund to offer interest-free loans for the selected project, with loan repayments made via a special charge on rates notices
  • invite everyone in the community to donate into the revolving fund – a great way of empowering the community to take practical collective action on the climate emergency!
  • loan repayments and on-going donations continue to fund the selected project until it is achieved, then select a new carbon reduction project to continue to use the revolving funds to reduce community-wide carbon emissions for the common good

Climate actions 4 councils brochure

Click to download the brochure at left if you’d like to print a copy to take to your local council.

OR, send them this link – https://beacon.by/corena/climate-action-for-councils – if you want them to be able to view it online and have active links to further information.