Up to $5 million is available for councils to cut pollution and reduce their energy costs through energy efficient upgrades to street lighting, community facilities and council buildings.
A Gillard Labor Government will provide $80 million in government grants to support local councils and communities to take action on climate change and transition to a greener, cheaper future.
The Low Carbon Communities initiative will help local councils and communities to cut pollution and reduce their energy costs through energy efficient upgrades to street lighting, community facilities and council buildings.
The government grants will also assist communities to reduce pollution through investment in cogeneration facilities or energy efficient upgrades to community sites such as stadiums, education facilities, town halls or nursing homes.
Government grants will be provided for councils and operators of community facilities to undertake small and large projects to reduce energy consumption and pollution.
For smaller scale projects, government grants of up to $500,000 will be available for councils. The government grants could be used for projects such as:
- Replacing inefficient street lights with high-efficiency technologies that use less energy and are more reliable.
- Retrofitting council properties and community buildings.
- Improving the energy efficiency of council-operated childcare, aged care and recreation facilities.
- Replacing incandescent traffic lights with modern LED versions, which can reduce their energy consumption by around 90 per cent.
For larger projects to improve energy efficiency, government grants of up to $5 million will be available to operators of community facilities with the backing of their local council.
The government grants could be used for local community icons such as stadiums, education facilities, town halls or nursing homes. Funded projects could include the installation of cogeneration and new heating and air conditioning.
Councils will be able to apply for the Low Carbon Communities initiative for smaller scale projects to reduce energy consumption and pollution in facilities such as outdoor lighting.
For larger projects, operators of community facilities can put together bids with the support of their local council for energy upgrades to local community facilities.
Low Carbon Communities initiative applications will have to meet merit-based criteria which include value for money and environmental outcomes, to be successful under this initiative.
All applicants will need to match Federal Labor’s funding contribution. The Low Carbon Communities initiative bids will also need to demonstrate best practice in the deployment of cost-effective and integrated energy retrofits.
Successful applicants will need to report on the energy they have saved, and use their experience and project plans to help similar facilities undertaking these upgrades in the future.
- A local council in metropolitan Melbourne spends around $250,000 per year on energy to power its street lights and traffic lights.
- It puts together a $1 million proposal to replace its oldest traffic and street lights with super efficient LED systems. These last four times as long and halve greenhouse gases emissions.
- It receives $500,000 under the Low Carbon Communities program to support the project with the remaining funding coming from the council.
- In three years, once the upgrade is fully complete, the Council is saving more than $150,000 a year in reduced electricity and maintenance costs.
- A major aquatic and sports centre spends about $600,000 per year heating its pools and powering the outdoor lighting on its football and hockey pitches.
- The centre approaches its local council and receives their support to bid for funding under Low Carbon Communities.
- They propose a project worth $4m to install a mix of solar heating, new lighting and cogeneration systems. The facility receives $2m in funding from the Commonwealth Government under the Low Carbon Communities program.
- The retrofit and cogeneration project proceeds and the sports centre reduces its energy bill by about $300,000 a year, the project paying itself off in around 8 years.
- A major TAFE College in Sydney spends about $1 million per year on electricity and gas to heat and power its classrooms and buildings.
- It is approached by its local council which sponsors an application under Low Carbon Communities.
- A project worth $8m is proposed, which includes a retrofit of the buildings and a replacement of the 1970s boiler. The project consortium receives $4m in funding from the Commonwealth Government under the Low Carbon Communities program.
- The retrofit project proceeds and the TAFE College reduces its energy bills by about $400,000 a year.
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