Sydney Town Hall

25 February 2014 — The City of Sydney is pushing forward with plans to install trigeneration plants in Town Hall, council offices and its indoor pool network, with the potential for expansion to service the Queen Victoria Building and other CBD areas.

The council on Monday night endorsed a plan to further investigate the installation of a trigen plants for both Town Hall and neighbouring Town Hall House, which house more than 1500 City of Sydney employees.

The City said trigeneration was also particularly suited to indoor pools because they had consistent heating, electricity and cooling needs, and that a number of other NSW councils had already installed pool trigen or cogen plants, including Willoughby, Wagga Wagga, North Sydney and Leichhardt.

“We’ve made the simple and obvious changes but to meet our target of reducing emissions by 70 per cent we need to change the way we power our city,” said Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore. “That means shifting away from coal-fired power and investing more in clean and local energy.”

She said trigeneration was more than twice as efficient as sourcing energy from coal-fired power stations, and that locally produced energy would reduce carbon pollution, improve energy efficiency and reduce high network charges.

The City has estimated that trigen on the roof of Town Hall House would cut the council’s carbon emissions by five per cent, avoiding 74,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifetime.

The cost of carbon abatement per tonne was comparable with purchasing Greenpower while also providing infrastructure to improve building energy efficiency, Ms Moore said.

The City has said, however, that the NSW and federal governments need to cut red tape to support precinct-wide trigeneration systems, as regulatory barriers around export and unfair network charges have made it difficult to install larger, more cost-effective systems.

Allan Jones, chief development officer, energy and climate change for the City of Sydney, said city-wide trigeneration networks had been proven safe, reliable and cost-effective in places like New York, Seoul and Berlin, and were especially helpful during extreme weather events in which the grid could be overloaded or cut off.

“The precinct trigeneration network supplying Co-op City in the Bronx in New York continued to supply energy to 60,000 residents, six schools, three shopping centres and the police precinct when the electricity grid’s poles and wires were knocked out for several weeks by Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” Mr Jones said.

“The City would like to see precinct trigeneration in Sydney and we will continue to push for regulatory barriers to be removed.”