Bathurst Regional Council invests in energy saving initiatives

SKY HIGH: Solar panels on the roof of the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Library.
SKY HIGH: Solar panels on the roof of the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Library.

BATHURST Regional Council’s investment in a green future is starting to pay for itself.

Council established a Revolving Energy Fund (REF) in 2010-11 to pay for the rollout of energy saving initiatives at council-owned infrastructure.

The REF started with seed funding of $100,000 with a proportion of all savings that flowed from energy-saving projects to be reinvested in new projects.

A report to councillors by acting environmental, planning and building services director Richard Denyer has outlined the success of the program, with 10 projects funded since May 2011.

Mr Denyer said three of those projects – including solar panels on a Mount Panorama amenities block and lighting upgrades at council’s depot and the National Motor Racing Museum – had already paid for themselves in energy savings and at least two more are close to breaking even.

In addition, the 10 projects have achieved electricity savings of more than 500,000 kilowatt hours each year, and cut the region’s annual carbon monoxide emissions by more than 400 tonnes.

The latest project was the installation of an 80 kilowatt solar system on the roof of the Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and Library, and Mr Denyer said council staff were well advanced with plans for the next project.

“Council’s environmental staff are currently working on the design of a solar storage project for the Bathurst Visitor Information Centre, with the intention that the facility will have a zero net import of electricity from the grid over the year,” he said.

“This project will be funded from the REF, which has a current balance of approximately $70,000.”