The C40 Mayor's Summit in Mexico

The City of Sydney and City of Melbourne are two of four cities selected to participate in the City Solutions Platform, a new initiative by the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group to help accelerate the deployment of innovative climate solutions.

The program, run in conjunction with the International Cleantech Network and Danish cleantech cluster CLEAN, offers support from international experts to accelerate the development of climate change solutions and adaptation strategies through early engagement with private sector providers.

Other cities selected for this first pilot stage are Seattle and Rio de Janeiro.

Melbourne will use the program to create innovative approaches to drainage and flood management in the Arden Macaulay urban renewal precinct in the city’s inner north.

City of Sydney is looking for advice as how best to invest its $10 million renewable energy fund to accelerate uptake locally so it can achieve its target of 50 per cent renewable energy for the city’s operations by 2021.

Under the city’s net zero emissions by 2050 target, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said half of the entire area’s electricity needs to be coming from renewable sources by 2030.

“Returning from the United Nations climate talks in Paris last year, we saw clearly the urgent need to produce more renewable energy in Sydney and to reduce our reliance on the coal power – and we set aside $10 million in our environment strategy for renewable energy,” Ms Moore said.

She said that buying more solar panels or investing in another trigeneration plant were good options, but would not go far enough to reach the 2030 target.

“We’ve come to the City Solutions Platform with this challenge – to determine the most effective way to use $10 million to create as much renewable energy as possible, within the earliest time frame while engaging directly with businesses and residents.”

Ms Moore said the city was already installing what it believes to be one of Australia’s largest rooftop solar programs on its own buildings, and is trialling a network-scale battery for local grid operations at one of its depots. Grant funding is also being provided for a range of initiatives, including a solar cooperative and models for multi-residential occupants to install and share solar power.

Ms Moore said options for the $10 million fund include voluntary purchase agreements by local businesses, more community renewable and a reverse auction process for renewable energy developers to bid to supply power.

“We don’t have all the answers yet, which is why we applied for support from the City Solutions Platform – and we are thrilled to have been selected,” Ms Moore said.

“This platform will call on world leading expertise and engage with leading thinkers across the globe to design a solution for Sydney which is commercial, attractive, and works within our regulatory framework.”

Under the program, cities that participate will also share their learnings with other cities around the globe as part of a push to accelerate progress towards climate change adaptation globally.

The working group for each city’s project will also create an inventory of ways to support city-private sector engagement and procurement models. The aim is for both to be replicable across the C40 network and lead to the evolution of a worldwide network of city-private sector partnerships.