The Global View

Sydney turns to transformers in 2030 makeover

australia.jpgTown planners hoping to steal some green headlines must be a little hacked off right now, after Masdar popped up and weed on their chips. How can you cover yourself in green building glory when you’re standing in the shadow of a city that plans to be 100 percent energy self-sufficient?

That said, brave little Sydney is busy planning its own sustainable future as part of a plan to imagine how the city might look in 2030. Greenbang reckons if the city has any sense, there should be some hoverboards and personal robots sewn into the city’s very fabric.

Aside from plans to get a light rail system through the centre of town and create an indigenous Australia culture walk, there’s some greening work afoot.

Here’s some more deets, courtesy of Sydney’s mayor:

Under the plan, climate change experts and policy advisors Kinesis, lead by Bruce Taper, Nick Rowley and George Cole have put forward proposals to use a system of integrated Green Transformers to provide low-carbon energy.

“Instead of burning coal in massive power plants and then distributing that electricity across the state, this plan proposes locating a number of Green Transformers around the City’s Centre and its villages,” Mayor Clover Moore said.

“Instead of burning coal, the Green Transformers would initially be fuelled by natural gas to generate electricity. The heat and water from the generation process is then captured, providing free hot water, heating and cooling. Converting from coal to natural gas would instantly drop CO2 emissions by more than half.

“In the long-term instead of burning natural gas, the Green Transformers could burn methane gas harvested from household waste.

“The benefits are obvious and include reduced air pollution from coal-burning, lower greenhouse emissions, free hot water, free heating, free cooling, less mains water consumption, less landfill and many more,” Ms Moore said.
The technology is available now – with no need to wait for solar improvements or other technological advancements.

Through its modeling, Kinesis has applied the Green Transformer idea on the largest scale ever seen for a city. The team’s findings predicted an extraordinary result for the year 2030 – Sydney will be creating its own low-carbon energy and will have reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent.

Green Transformers could:
• Generate an estimated 330 megawatts of electricity from natural gas;
• Provide approximately 70 per cent of electricity requirements for the City by 2030, when combined with other demand reduction measures.
• Provide greenhouse-free hot water, heating and cooling to approximately 36 per cent of all dwellings in the City and 43 per cent of all non-residential buildings
• Supply an estimated 10 per cent of the City’s water demand from within City boundaries.
• Reduce energy losses currently incurred in transferring electricity from distant power stations to people’s homes.

A draft plan of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy is being considered this week and the public will get to put forward their thoughts the following week.