Port Macquarie-Hastings Council defers draft renewable energy strategy

A councillor workshop on July 31 will further discuss the draft long term renewable energy strategy.

A councillor workshop on July 31 will further discuss the draft long term renewable energy strategy.

MORE internal discussion is set to take place about the council's draft long term renewable energy strategy.

A report to the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council meeting on April 19 recommended the draft strategy go on public exhibition but councillors deferred the matter to allow for a further workshop/briefing on July 31.

The council sought expert advice on the development of a long-term energy strategy, which focuses on the council’s future financial sustainability.

That included a review of the council’s current energy state, and current and future energy efficiency and renewable energy opportunities.​ 

Cr Justin Levido raised concerns about the draft strategy making a statement the council was never going to live up to.

The draft strategy stated the council would source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2027.

“To say we will be [sourcing] 100 per cent renewable energy by 2027 just doesn’t make sense to me,” Cr Levido said.

“I think we can say we will do our best, we will try or look at things as we go but to make a motherhood statement like that is ridiculous.”

Cr Levido said he was committed to being energy efficient and he didn’t have a problem with a long term renewable energy strategy but it had to be based on common sense.

Cr Peter Alley said they had enough information to proceed at this stage.

“I think putting it out to public consultation now will engage a broader number of people, so when it comes back after public consultation, then we will have the information to make a decision in terms of proceeding,” Cr Alley said.

Cr Lisa Intemann said she thoroughly agreed there was a lot of good information in the draft strategy and it would benefit the council by putting the draft document on public exhibition and getting comments back.

She said the council should be courageous and not have cold feet.

Port Macquarie-Hastings mayor Peter Besseling said it would be beneficial to bring everyone along for the journey.

“I don’t think the timing of this going out on exhibition today or in a month or two months will be significant but I do think there can be refinements made by the briefing,” he said.

He said there was no doubt the council needed to be as efficient as possible but they needed to take the councillors and the community along for the ride.

The draft long term renewable energy strategy will be the subject of a further report to council after the councillor workshop.

The deferral vote was carried 5:2 with Cr Alley and Cr Intemann against the decision.

The story More talks on renewable energy first appeared on Port Macquarie News.

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