Councils encouraged to tackle infrastructure backlog with switch to clean energy

Councils have been urged to consider tailored debt finance to improve their energy performance and reduce emissions from old and poorly maintained assets.

According to a newly released Market Report by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), Clean energy opportunities for local government, councils are missing out on lower cost clean energy solutions, leading to unnecessarily high operating costs, as well as higher carbon emissions.

The report finds that councils typically hold large property and infrastructure portfolios with long operating lives. But while councils generally have stable cash flows and a strong capacity to service debt, many councils are making relatively little use of currently available low cost finance to update this critical infrastructure.

The report identifies a number of areas where councils can act immediately to benefit from clean energy investments. Practical steps can include:

  • Using specialist energy efficiency consultants and energy companies to conduct energy audits of council buildings, fleets and facilities, usually involving reviews of asset inventories and energy costs, to identify investments that would boost energy efficiency at a cost below the saving gained.
  • Working with other councils in their area to share knowledge and resourcing as well as combine smaller individual upgrades into a larger project to achieve economies of scale.
  • Focusing on large buildings with higher energy consumption, such as civic and leisure centres, to maximise energy cost savings and prove up the financial benefits of other energy efficiency investments.

More information about the report is available on the CEFC website.

The CEFC will be at the 2016 National General Assembly of Local Government at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 19 to 22 June, 2016.