Renewable electricity

Renewable electricity contract

The City of Adelaide is taking real and meaningful action on climate change through a partnership with Flow Power to meet its electricity needs from a mix of wind and solar power. Adelaide is now the first council in South Australia to use 100 per cent renewable electricity in a power purchase agreement that ensures City of Adelaide’s operations, including the Adelaide Aquatic Centre, UParks, depots and buildings, including the historic Adelaide Town Hall, are powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

Since 1 July 2020, everything run by the City of Adelaide is powered by renewable electricity, which includes community buildings, electric vehicle chargers, barbecues in the Park Lands, water pumps, street lighting and traffic lights. This power purchase agreement is a first for any council in South Australia.

This means 100% of the City’s power is now sourced from a mixture of wind and solar power.

The electricity in the contract is delivered by Clements Gap wind farm in mid north South Australia and two new solar farms on the Eyre Peninsula (Streaky Bay) and South East (Coonalpyn) built by Flow Power.

Having recently been recognised for environmental leadership, achieving an ‘A’ score for the City of Adelaide’s 2019 climate report, the deal further cements the Council’s commitment in becoming carbon neutral. The partnership with Flow Power is reducing the City’s operational greenhouse gas emissions by over 50 per cent.

The Council’s use of electricity every year is equivalent to the electricity use of 3,800 Adelaide homes. The switch to zero emissions sources is reducing emissions by over 11,000 tonnes or the equivalent of taking 3,500 cars off the road.

Solar farms leading the way

In June 2021, Flow Power successfully reached full operation of both the Streaky Bay Solar Farm and the Coonalpyn Solar Farm – both in South Australia. These two purpose-built solar farms help bring the City of Adelaide’s commitment to renewable energy to life.

The 3.10 megawatt (MW) Streaky Bay Energy Project – powered by 10,000 panels and the 4.95 MW Coonalpyn Solar Farm, switched on in March 2021, will now see three-quarters of the City of Adelaide’s renewable energy continue to come from wind, and an additional 25 per cent from the two new solar farms.

The combination of solar and wind is important as it delivers a renewable load match that more closely aligns to the ‘real time’ daily usage of the council and sets to reduce the council’s emissions by approximately half.

The 10-year agreement with Flow Power helps progress the growing renewables industry, while supporting local employment and investment beyond the boundaries of Adelaide and reduces electricity costs, saving ratepayers’ money.

Installed solar systems

The City of Adelaide has installed its own on-site solar panels on Adelaide Town Hall, Adelaide Aquatic Centre, UPark Topham Mall and UPark Pirie Flinders, in addition to those on the Central Market, Adelaide Central Bus Station, London Road Depot and UPark Rundle.

The new systems that were installed in 2019 brought the City of Adelaide’s total solar power capacity to over 1.1 megawatts.

Together, the installed solar power is providing approximately 12 per cent of the electricity used by all council buildings combined. This is equivalent to the power used by 333 average homes.

This project is saving Council around $300,000 on electricity bills and avoiding around 760 tonnes carbon dioxide each year. This is equivalent to taking 302 petrol cars of the road every year.

Is this energy contract saving money or costing money for Council and ratepayers?

Modelling has shown that the long-term contract is anticipated to deliver a reduction in electricity costs compared to the City of Adelaide’s most recent contract.

What is the benefit to ratepayers and broader community?

Saving on electricity costs saves ratepayers money, every year for the next ten years.

By saving money on utilities, the Council is exercising good financial management and freeing up funds to be spent on other services provided by to residents and ratepayers.

This contract will reduce emissions from Council operation by approximately half (50%). Taking a leadership position on emissions reduction for the state means City of Adelaide is playing our part in the transition to a low carbon economy. The Council’s commitment to this contract supports jobs of the future and fosters innovation in greener industries.  

What is a power purchase agreement or renewable electricity contract?

Power is supplied by Virtual Generation Agreement (VGA), also referred to as “Power Purchase Agreement” or PPA. Under this type of agreement, large organisations can buy a fixed percentage of wind or solar output directly from the renewable generator.

This means any future energy efficiency work undertaken by Council will continue to save money on our electricity bills.

How long is the contract term for the energy?

The renewable portion of the contract will run for 9.5 years from 1 July 2020. Longer term contracts provide certainty for the electricity generators and help to increase renewable generation in the state.

Which renewable energy generators will be providing our power?

The City’s power is sourced from a mixture of wind and solar power, approximately 25% from solar power.

The renewable electricity is sourced by Flow Power from several locations:

  • Clements Gap wind farm in mid-north South Australia
  • Streaky Bay Solar Farm on the Eyre Peninsula
  • Coonalpyn Solar Farm in regional south-east SA.

    How much electricity does the Council use each year?

    The amount of electricity being supplied to all council operations is equivalent to the electricity used by over 3,800 homes.