Case Study: The advancement of energy and carbon management at Gosford City Council
Chapter from the book: Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology Sydney . & Australian Alliance to Save Energy (A2SE) . 2016. Proceedings of the Australian Summer Study on Energy Productivity.
There are various approaches to energy and carbon management and the most appropriate approach is likely to change over time. Selecting the appropriate approach is pivotal in determining how successful an organisation will be in achieving its energy and carbon management objectives. Over the last fifteen years, Gosford City Council has undergone numerous shifts in its approach to the management of energy and carbon across its operations.
Council initially focused on reducing its carbon footprint, firstly by setting aspirational targets and followed by the setting of evidence based targets. In response to rising energy costs, Council shifted from a “carbon abatement” to an “energy management” focus in 2012. At this time, the sophistication of Council’s energy management program was vastly improved with the introduction of a corporate energy management information system and a revolving energy fund. In 2014, Council’s energy management program focused on “use less” and “pay less” levers. The first lever “use less” covered much the same ground as previous carbon abatement approaches, however, the second energy management lever, “pay less” unlocked significant additional value to Council. Payless initiatives, such as energy procurement, load shifting, energy account management and bill validation resulted in energy cost savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars for Council.
Council is now shifting from a tactical to a more strategic approach to energy management. An Energy Management Strategy is under development. The Energy Management Strategy will introduce an Energy Productivity Improvement Objective. This objective will focus on recognising the complete economic value of improved energy and carbon management. This should yield organisational productivity improvements and economic value in the local community. The strategy also introduces advanced energy metrics such as an energy cost index and asset class energy intensity metrics.
The appropriate approach for Gosford City Council’s energy and carbon management has advanced in line with wider organisation objectives, values and maturity of its energy management systems.