Emissions reduction target
At the end of 2019/20, Council had reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 47% on 2007/08 levels. We expect to meet our 50% emissions reduction target in the 2020/21 financial year. Our progress so far includes:
- 30% reduction from landfill gas management
- 15% reduction from wastewater treatment (reduced fugitive gas emissions)
- 5% reduction from energy efficiency and solar power
We are now are working on new emissions targets as a part of our updated Climate Change Strategy 2030.
- View Council's Emissions Reduction Policy
Council has installed nearly 3 megawatts of solar power across its facilities. These systems generate over 4.5 gigawatt hours of renewable energy each year, saving over $700,000 and 3,600 tonnes of CO2e (greenhouse gas emissions) annually.
|Northern WWTP*||600||Esplanade Lagoon||30|
|Southern WWTP*||600||Stratford Plumbers Depot||30|
|Marlin Coast WWTP*||300||Gordonvale Depot||30|
|Edmonton WWTP*||250||Botanic Gardens Visitors Centre||20|
|Edmonton Leisure Centre||100||Muddy's Cafe and Playground||15|
|Martyn Street Depot||100||Pump TB1||10|
|Tobruk Memorial Pool||100||Edmonton WWTP*||10|
|Cairns City Library||80||School of the Arts||8|
|Portsmith MRF**||60||Esplanade BBQ shelters||5|
|Gordonvale WWTP*||60||Gordonvale Community Hall||4|
|Freshwater Creek Water Plant||39||Babinda Library||4|
|Woree Disaster Centre||39||Hambledon House||4|
|Sewage Depot||30||Gordonvale Library||2|
* Waste Water Treatment Plant
** Materials Recovery Facility
Council tracks its energy use, costs and greenhouse gas emissions for electricity and vehicle use with monitoring software. This is important to identify areas for improvement and to track cost-savings from energy efficiency works and solar power generation.
Landfill gas management and fugitive emissions
‘Fugitive emissions’ are losses and leaks of greenhouse gases, typically methane, carbon dioxide and nitrous oxides. Sources of these emissions include landfill, wastewater treatment plants and refrigerant gases used in HVAC systems.
Methane, which is generated through wastewater treatment, is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. In landfills, methane is generated by the breakdown of organic matter such as food scraps and garden waste. Methane from Cairns’ de-commissioned Portsmith Landfill has been captured and flared since 2012, delivering a 30% reduction in Council’s annual emissions.
Each year, an average of 5500 carbon credits are created for Council from landfill gas management at the Portsmith Landfill and other organic materials is commercially composted.
We are constantly looking for new ways to reduce the impact of Council operations on the environment, whether that be through increasing and promoting recycling options for the city, installing renewable energy sources to power infrastructure and managing the emissions generated by our community's waste and wastewater treatment. A sample of these activities is listed below but you can find a more comprehensive picture in our State of Environment reports.