Energy & carbon audit of the Scenic Rim Regional Council

Gauld, Jason Andrew (2016) Energy & carbon audit of the Scenic Rim Regional Council. [USQ Project]

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In recent years, climate change has become widely accepted as a reality by the scientific community. Generally speaking, climate change is a long-term shift in weather conditions such as average rainfall, temperatures and winds. Climate change in a modern context refers to anthropogenic climate change, being that created by excessive human generated Carbon Dioxide equivalent (CO2-e) emissions entering the atmosphere exacerbating the greenhouse effect. Australia has recently recommitted its efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030. Local Government has a growing role to play in the commitment to reduce GHG emissions in an effort to mitigate the impacts of global warming.

The key objective of this dissertation is to assist the Scenic Rim Regional Council (SRRC) to identify their carbon footprint and provide recommendations and strategies to assist in the reduction of their GHG emissions. The SRRC is located approximately 60 km south of Brisbane and 40 km west of the Gold Coast in Queensland. The region is predominately zoned as Rural Use and encumbers an area of 4248 sq km and is home to over 37,780 people.

In 2011, the Australian Government introduced The Clean Energy Act (2011) which would see organisations and businesses whose Scope 1 emissions exceeded 25,000 tonnes of CO2-e in a financial year liable for a carbon emissions tax. Based upon this energy and carbon audit, the SRRC would have been liable to a carbon tax should they have not been able to reduce their GHG emissions. In 2015, the carbon tax was successfully repealed in parliament and replaced by a Direct Action Plan. While the SRRC is no longer liable for any such carbon tax, an underlying commitment to the community to reduce their GHG emissions remains.

Various guidelines currently exist for the assessment of GHG emissions however the National Greenhouse Emissions Reporting (NGER) Act (2007) which incorporates the NGER Determination 2008 and the NGER Technical Guidelines 2014 is the most widely accepted methodology as it complies with The Corporate Standard ISO 14064-1: Specification with Guidance at the Organisation Level for Quantification and Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Removals.

By researching and complying with the NGER process, a GHG emissions assessment of the SRRC was successfully completed. Specifically, this was achieved by defining the organisation and operational boundary of the SRRC, breaking down the operational boundary into three scopes to capture all direct and indirect emissions and identify the respective emissions sources within each of these scopes. Data was then subsequently collected from each source such as fuel (petrol and diesel) and energy (electricity) consumption as well as landfill waste received. This data was then calculated and converted into tonnes of CO2-e per year.

This investigation found the SRRC overall GHG emission footprint equated to 29,197 tonnes of CO2-e in the year 2014. Scope 1 emissions (fuel consumption and waste) accounted for 95.5% (27881 tonnes CO2-e) of all GHG emissions, however, fugitive emissions from the landfill facility accounted for 89.0% (24813 tonnes CO2-e) of all Scope 1 emissions or 85.0% of all SRRC emissions. Scope 2 emissions (electricity consumption) accounted for 3.2% (933 tonnes CO2-e) of all GHG emission while Scope 3 emissions (full fuel cycle) only accounted for 1.3% (368 tonnes CO2-e) of all emissions. Compared to other Councils in Queensland, the SRRC has a relatively high percentage of fugitive emissions and high emissions per capita. With the SRRC expecting population growth from 29,463 (2014) to 81,985 by 2036, it is important Council acts now to reduce their carbon emissions and set a reduction target.

An emissions target of a 20% reduction of 2014 levels by 2031 has been proposed. In order to achieve this, mitigation strategies were researched, assessed and proposed. An emission abatement strategy matrix was also developed to clearly identify the various ways to reduce GHG emissions and their respective cost, implementation time frame and abatement type (i.e. direct, improve, alternative or offset) and abatement potential. The cost and benefit associated with GHG emission reduction was also discussed including the importance of developing a marginal abatement cost curve specifically for the SRRC.

This dissertation successfully set out and undertook a comprehensive energy and carbon audit of the SRRC. By doing so, total GHG emissions were identified allowing an emission reduction target to be set and appropriate strategies identified in order to meet the reduction goal.

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Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) Major Environmental Engineering project
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Civil Engineering and Surveying (1 Jul 2013 - 31 Dec 2021)
Supervisors: Chen, Guangnan
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2017 04:01
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2017 04:01
Uncontrolled Keywords: GHG emission footprint; emission reduction target; climate change; energy and carbon audit; SRRC
Fields of Research (2008): 09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090701 Environmental Engineering Design
Fields of Research (2020): 40 ENGINEERING > 4011 Environmental engineering > 401199 Environmental engineering not elsewhere classified

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