New South Wales is gearing up to become the “California of Australia,” vastly increasing its use of renewable energy sources and pushing for more environmentally friendly options.

Led by Baird, the government has made a push for more solar panels on government owned buildings and has taken steps to ease the way for more wind farms in the state, as well as looking at other environmentally friendly options, such as solar hot water systems.

“Whe it comes to clean energy, we can be Australia’s answer to California,” Environment Minister Rob Stokes told the Clean Energy Week gathering in Sydney, according to a July 22 article published in the Sydney Morning Herald.

Currently the US state has a goal of achieving 33 per cent of its power from renewable sources by 2020. This can be contrasted with the Australian goal of 20 per cent by the same year.

In fact, at the Clean Energy Week event, Mr Stokes said the state is committed to the 41,0000 Gwh goal that needs to be met by 2020, according to the PV magazine. This amount was mandated by the Renewable Energy Target (RET) currently under review by the government.

This goal was a pre-election commitment by the federal government.

“We are making NSW number one in energy and environmental policy,” said Mr Stokes.

This announcement came just days after the federal government scrapped the carbon tax, making it clear that the NSW government has taken a different tack than the federal government, despite the same Liberal party governing both areas.

What is the NSW government doing to reduce its carbon footprint?

As well as encouraging the uptake of solar panels and encouraging the use of other renewable energy sources, the NSW government will also make use of its position as the largest employer in the country.

It already purchases 1 per cent of all cars in Australia and owns around half the land in the state, according to the July 22 article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

However, it plans to step things up a notch, purchasing only new electrical equipment that meets the average Energy Star rating for the appliance for all its buildings. This means, for example, that all dishwashers will have at least four stars.

This goal will also be extended to the buildings themselves.

“We will improve our cities by getting all large office buildings, owned or leased by the NSW government, to achieve and maintain National Australian Built Environment Rating System energy rating of at least 4.5 stars and a water rating of at least 4 stars,” Mr Stokes told the Newcastle Herald on July 22.

These measures will help to achieve the goal set by the state government to reduce emissions by 2020 and use more renewable sources by the same year.

What can businesses and households in NSW do to help?

Cutting down on power use can help to reduce power bills as well as carbon emissions. This can be achieved by ensuring you switch things off at the wall and purchase energy efficient appliances.

Some households may also consider investing in small scale renewable energy units such as solar PV panels or hydro power units. These can make power so that homes can be more sustainable.

Businesses as well as households in the state may also want to consider investing in solar hot water systems, which are a much more environmentally friendly method of hot water heating that can prevent them relying so heavily on the grid.

For more information about these units, feel free to get in touch with the team at Apricus who are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.