In 2020, the Tweed Shire Council set some ambitious sustainability targets.

“Reducing carbon emissions isn’t just about the positive results for our environment. It’s also about building stronger community resources that will stand the test of changing times.”

Is your council or water authority searching for a more sustainable energy plan? One that offers value and real-time control of the market rate?

That’s the challenge Tweed Shire Council set itself in 2020.

And to meet its goal of zero net carbon emissions by 2030, the Council found the perfect partner… in Flow Power.

Located in the Northern Rivers region, Tweed Shire Council (TSC) is the largest council on the north coast of NSW. In 2020, the Council set ambitious new policies to combat the challenges of climate change.

And Flow Power was ready to help future-proof its power sources.

The challenge: Big power without the big carbon footprint

TSC delivers more than 50 services to approximately 94,000 residents. In addition to powering its public buildings, it manages streetlights and large water and wastewater operations.

The Council’s energy use is therefore high – at around 20,000 MWh per annum. This presented a challenge to its new Climate Change Management Policy.

But the Council was undaunted: “Our Council has a key role to play in reducing emissions,” said Michael Wraight.

“There is a community expectation, legislative requirement and moral obligation for TSC to address climate change.”

The goal: Reduce emissions and increase resilience

Reducing carbon emissions isn’t just about the positive results for our environment. It’s also about building stronger community resources that will stand the test of changing times.

“We must ensure that our assets and services are resilient to the predicted impacts of climate change,” said Michael Wraight.

So, the Council set the following goals:

  • A 25% reduction in electricity-related carbon emissions by 2022
  • A 50% reduction by 2025
  • Net zero carbon emissions by 2030

The solution: A tailor-made Virtual Generation Agreement

But how to meet these targets? First, TSC installed onsite solar power at several sites – and has plans for more installations to follow.

Second, it sought offers for a new electricity plan that would support the transition to renewable energy – and supplement the solar installations.

That’s where Flow Power’s Virtual Generation Agreement (VGA) stood apart from the competition. Our VGAs are Power Purchasing Agreements (PPAs) tailored to a business’s needs and energy goals.

We match the user’s energy-use profile and onsite assets with a mix of renewable projects. That means users gain access to wholesale energy rates – in addition to wind and solar projects.

The result: Accessible, affordable wind and solar power

“Flow Power provided a traditional retail interface but allowed access to wholesale market pricing – as well as a VGA with new wind and solar projects. This VGA offered a good load match for our requirements,” said Michael Wraight.

So TSC entered a VGA with Sapphire Wind Farm (Invernell, NSW) and Bomen Solar Farm (Wagga Wagga, NSW). And it’ll procure approximately 9,000MWh per annum from wind and solar power – a strategy set to complement its climate change planning for the next 10 years.

By matching various kinds of renewable energy with its assets and power needs, TSC is on track for a more sustainable future.

Going with the flow

Better still, with Flow Power, wind and solar energy is also cost effective. Because TSC controls its local government water assets, it benefits from a wholesale agreement that mixes fixed rates through the VGA and variable rates through the wholesale market.

Previously, TSC optimised power use for its water-pumping operations around peak and off-peak periods.

But with Flow Power, TSC can use its energy differently.

During high-price events, it can load shed. When the energy market rises, TSC can minimise its costs through carefully reduced energy use.

And when the market drops, it can load shift – using more power at a lower price.

More control – with lower costs

To ensure its assets are always pumping at the best value, TSC uses Flow Power’s Market Monitoring platform.

Flow Power’s team monitors the market throughout the day – and night. So when the market rate changes, we notify the Council via SMS and email. And just like that, TSC knows to adjust its load – and avoid those peak prices.

What’s more, with our kWatch® Controller, TSC will be able to monitor its power use in real time. When installed onsite, this intelligent technology allows TSC to:

  • View live data feeds of its exact power use at any time
  • Monitor the cost of its energy through the user portal
  • Automatically adjust usage in response to market changes