History made with Australia’s first low carbon energy network

Sydney’s Lord Mayor Clover Moore has hailed the groundbreaking new district energy system, which will link Sydney in the country’s first citywide low carbon network, and says has the potential to make Sydney one of the world’s leading green cities.

“Our trigeneration network will give consumers a cleaner and cost-competitive alternative to the rising price of electricity,” the Lord Mayor said.

“This network could save NSW electricity consumers as much as $1.5 bn by 2030 in avoided or delayed spending on grid upgrades and new power stations.

“It will help us deliver on our target to cut carbon emissions across the City of Sydney by 70 per cent by 2030 (on 2006 levels) – one of the most ambitious of any Australian government.”

Under the agreement, Cogent, which is a fully owned subsidiary of Origin, will install a trigeneration network to supply low-carbon electricity, heating and air-conditioning to council and privately owned buildings in four low-carbon-zones across central Sydney:

The City’s interim trigeneration master plan included a total of 360 MW by 2030 at a cost of $440m to provide 70 per cent of the Local Government Area’s electricity requirements. Today’s agreement with Origin covers the initial stages of this plan and involves a portion of the total 360 MW as projected in the City of Sydney’s Interim Trigeneration Master Plan which extends to 2030.

Trigeneration energy systems can be located in basements or rooftops, run on natural gas or renewable energy, and supply electricity, heating and cooling to clusters of surrounding buildings. These systems are more than twice as energy efficient as coal-fired power stations and reduce carbon emissions by up to 60 per cent for city buildings.

Almost 90 per cent of electricity used in the city comes from remotely located coal fired power stations, which are responsible for 80 per cent of its carbon emissions.

Two new power stations are planned for NSW with a capacity of 4,000 MW, costing from $4.6bn to $7bn. If these proposed power stations were to use coal they would emit 23 million tonnes of carbon dioxide per year or 15 per cent of NSW’s total greenhouse gas emissions and four per cent of Australia’s emissions.

The study showed that a Sydney trigeneration network could save NSW electricity consumers up to $1.5bn in avoided or delayed spending on grid upgrades and new power stations by 2030.

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