Are our cities ready to go renewable?

Tuesday, 10 April, 2018

Are our cities ready to go renewable?

Around the world, urban areas of all sizes are stepping up to the urgent challenge for cities and towns to become carbon neutral and are setting targets to ramp up renewables in their energy mix. Australian cities and towns are taking charge of their energy future, and developing solutions for their local areas.

The City of Adelaide has also set this challenge as a priority and is well on the path of its five-year Action Plan. The city was thus a natural fit for the third Renewable Cities Australia forum and electric vehicle workshop — an event that will share case studies from its host city as well as the innovations and successes achieved in other urban areas across Australia.

Going renewable is more than just adding solar panels and batteries — it’s about a well-considered path with a mix of solutions, involving new ways to manage energy and waste and thinking differently about urban transport. Corporate sustainability strategies now involve understanding energy management, such as the types of power purchase agreements; the benefits of blockchain for transacting energy; and tools for whole communities to map solar resources. All these topics and more will be discussed when Australian local government and business leaders share their real case studies on the first day of the forum.

Business and industry will meet with local government representatives to discuss projects already underway, such as how nine metropolitan councils in Perth are leading the way turning waste into renewable energy and how Victorian University is taking action towards 100% renewable power. The Mayor of Port Augusta, Sam Johnson, will meanwhile share the challenge of a regional area becoming a renewable energy hub for industry.

The focus on the second day is the future of urban transport — for consumers, for fleets buyers, for industry and for public transportation — and the incentives and regulatory changes that are needed to adopt low-carbon transport options. Behyad Jafari, CEO of the EV Council, will share views of who should take the lead in this planning. Mark Thompson of PwC will highlight the scenario of high-growth uptake of electric vehicles and perspectives will be provided from Renault, Jaguar Land Rover and Hyundai — all launching new electric vehicles in Australia this year — while Tritium and JETCharge will discuss the infrastructure needed to support this uptake. Tony Fairweather of SEA Electric will talk about how electrifying the rigid truck segment is happening much sooner than forecast, while Roger van der Lee will outline how driverless technology is part of the future of transport and is already being deployed.

Detailed case studies, networking and visits to the exhibition area will be followed with a free walking tour, hosted by the City of Adelaide. This informal session will include a visit to an energy storage system in a commercial premises, viewing the progress of the 20-storey U City — on track to become South Australia’s highest rated Green Star-rated multipurpose building — and the City of Adelaide Electric Vehicle Charging Hub.

Renewable Cities Australia will be held from 23–24 May at the Adelaide Convention Centre and provides free access to the co-located Australian Energy Storage exhibition. Registration is available for single days or for the two-day forum, plus the walking tour (subject to available places). Further details are available at

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