24 November 2023

Net zero a step closer at Albury Council with battery power on show at botanic gardens

| Vanessa Hayden
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Two garden workers with battery powered equipment

The team responsible for keeping Albury’s botanic gardens in ship-shape condition will now be doing it all with battery-operated power. Photo: Vanessa Hayden.

The target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 for Albury Council got a step closer this week when it unveiled a new fleet of battery-powered equipment to be trialled by the team at the Albury Botanic Gardens.

Mayor Kylie King was on site to showcase the range which included hedge trimmers, whipper snippers, chainsaws, leaf blowers, push lawn mowers, a zero-turn ride-on mower and a Toro utility vehicle.

She said she hoped the trial would be a successful step towards a bigger transition to utilising electric technology in council fleet operations.

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A number of targets were set to be achieved in the coming decades during the development of the council’s Towards Albury 2050 Community Strategic Plan after the community expressed a desire to lead the way in emissions reduction.

“It’s really part of the community’s push for us all to do what we can to reduce emissions,” said Mayor King.

Our community have consistently told us they want to protect our beautiful natural environment and lead the way in emissions reduction.

“I think the botanic gardens is a perfect pilot site because there is such a range of equipment they need to keep the gardens in pristine condition.

“This is a great example of trialling some of this equipment as it’s coming onto the market.”

Mayor of Albury standing in front of electric utility vehicle

Albury Mayor Kylie King hopes the pilot program of battery-powered equipment at the botanic gardens will lead to other transitions across the council’s vehicle and equipment fleet. Photo: Vanessa Hayden.

She said consumption of fuel across the council fleet resulted in the council’s third highest source of carbon emissions.

“This trial gives us an opportunity for some of that minor equipment, as well as the bigger items, to be tested and to see what works and we can look at incorporating it in other elements of the business as well.

“We do have a lot of equipment, there are 177 vehicles in our fleet.

“The equipment here will be tested to see if it’s fit for purpose and from there we’ll be able to have other transitions as ageing plant and equipment reaches the end of its use.

“You do have to be mindful of the technology that is available at the time and also the cost, but this is a great example of technology evolving and changing.”

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Albury is one of seven NSW councils that have entered a 10-year agreement that sees the electricity purchased for large facilities and street lighting coming from 100 per cent renewable sources.

Since January the council’s large sites such as Lavington Sports Ground, Lauren Jackson Sports Centre, Albury Library Museum, Albury Airport, Albury Waste Management Centre, water treatment plants, and the region’s streetlights, are being powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity.

Mayor King said Albury was well on the way to meeting its net zero goals.

“We’ve set up some clear intentions of where we intend to transition and hopefully over the next five to six years we can move to 100 per cent electric; time will tell, but that’s the goal.

“The steps are there and we are progressing well and we are trying to lead by example so we can encourage the community to also see how they may help us all to reach those targets.”

Man on electric ride on mower

Garden maintenance and upkeep will be a lot quieter at the Albury Botanic Gardens with a range of battery-powered equipment now being used in a bid towards more sustainable practices. Photo: Vanessa Hayden.

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