Waiting for NSW Government Funding?

Glenda Stowell and Lucy Carew-Reid

The New South Wales State Government recently set up a fund dedicated to support climate change activities. 

Many councils have been preparing for this, expecting this to assist in funding their energy efficiency priorities. Timing of the first round was expected in late 2017 but the timing is now uncertain.

What Does this Mean for Your Council? 

This is a little frustrating but not unusual. The roller coaster that climate policy is locally and nationally has meant rapidly changing funding options over the past 20 years. So, how do you manage this as a Council project deliverer?

There are a lot of funding options available to councils for specific projects types. Many of which have excellent paybacks (under 10 years) and deserve to be funded on their own merits. When delivering energy efficiency projects Ironbark uses a 5 stage project framework:

  1. Prepare
  2. Fund
  3. Define and plan
  4. Procure
  5. Manage and evaluate

The first stage “Prepare” is essentially a business case or feasibility to put to Council to determine whether to proceed or not with the project. Stage 2 “Fund” then identifies internal and external options to fund or finance the project and then accessing the funding is typically included in the remaining 3 project stages. For NSW councils, we currently include the following funding streams with energy efficiency projects:

  • Projects resulting in reduced energy use are eligible for the NSW Energy Saving Scheme. The energy saving certificates (ESCs) generated provide a financial incentive.
  • The Renewable Energy Target is being phased out as its 2020 goal is close to being reached. At this stage, small scale renewable energy systems can create small-scale technology certificates (STCs) either upfront or after installation. Systems are awarded STCs at a decreasing rate every year until 2030. The large scale renewable energy scheme is approaching its 2020 target. Currently this funds as much as 20-30% of a solar project.
  • Another option to be aware of is NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and Local Government Procurement Pty Ltd (LGP) are developing a solar PPA supplier panel. A launch is expected in early 2018 with first contracts commencing on 1st March. A PPA incorporates funding and management of the solar system as part of the procurement process.

For the councils Ironbark is working with the news (or lack thereof) from the NSW Government on climate funding is a bit of a pain. However, there are many other fish in the sea and it’s exciting to see how many councils are still moving forward on delivering excellent energy efficiency projects. 

These councils that we are preparing projects for will still be able to access Climate Change funding, but won’t be relying on any one funding source to drive amazing projects.