Taronga becomes first zoos in NSW powered by renewable electricity

Taronga becomes first zoos in NSW powered by renewable electricity

#Conservation, #Taronga Conservation Society Australia

Posted on 31st March 2023 by Media Relations

Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo become first zoos in NSW to be powered by renewable electricity

Taronga Zoo and Taronga Western Plains Zoo have become the first zoos in NSW to be powered by 100% renewable electricity. 

The switch means that the equipment that the Wildlife Hospitals teams use to treat injured wildlife, the pump that reuses water for seal enrichment and the heat lamps that many primates like to bask in, are all now powered by renewable electricity. But more importantly, clean energy is a step towards helping secure a future for all animals.   

Taronga Conservation Society Australia’s landmark switch to renewable electricity from Red Energy means that every year from now on, approximately 7,000 tonnes CO2 are no longer being released into the atmosphere. The emissions saved every year is the weight equivalent of about 300 humpback whales.

“Climate change is a key threatening process that has an impact on many of Australia’s unique flora and fauna, and wildlife across the globe. More than 1,900 species in Australia are on the brink of extinction and climate change is accelerating this process. However, renewable energy sources such as solar and wind emit little to no greenhouse gas, which is the biggest contributor to climate change,” Taronga Conservation Society Australia CEO Cameron Kerr AO explained. 

Taronga had set its target to be powered by 100% renewable electricity before 2030 – and the switch means the not-for-profit organisation achieved its goal seven years earlier1. 

“As a conservation organisation, we are dedicated to safeguarding our planet and securing a future for wildlife. Intrinsic within that is a commitment to act with leadership in environmental sustainability and climate change action, and this is a significant milestone in our sustainability journey,” Cameron said.  

By switching to Red Energy as its electricity provider, Taronga is directly supporting clean electricity generation from a solar farm that is local, on Wiradjuri Country near Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. By doing so, Taronga and Red Energy are directly supporting the transition to clean energy in NSW. 

“This is a really exciting next step in our partnership with Taronga. We were pleased to be able to help Taronga in taking the significant step of procuring 100% renewable electricity to power its operations. Red Energy has supported Taronga since 2019 as a Principal Partner and sponsor of the Taronga Seals for the Wild Presentation. This really seals the deal on a partnership that we hope will encourage families to think about their own choices and what they can do to protect the environment,” Red Energy’s General Manager, Marketing & Sales Rachel Friend said. 

“Taronga is an example of how organisations and businesses can live their values, contributing to our economic strength and protecting the environment as they do it,” she added.  

This step is just the latest action from Taronga in its sustainability journey. Taronga has installed over 500kw of solar panels across both zoos and conducted recent energy audits with the view to implement further efficiencies and savings.  

Taronga has also implemented policies for low-emissions new buildings, increased its usage of donated produce and agricultural by-products for animal feed and achieves a high recycling rate which means less landfill emissions.   

“Environmental leadership is one of six priorities in Taronga’s strategic plan, and we want to lead by example in reducing the impact of our operations and ensure we are doing everything in our power to protect our world and its wildlife,” Taronga Conservation Society’s Sustainability Manager Bridget Corcoran said. 

“Switching to renewable electricity or GreenPower is one of the most impactful ways that businesses and individuals can contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and therefore help to address the climate crisis. I’m so proud that we’ve been able to model this at Taronga and I hope that we can encourage others to make a change for the wild,” she added.  

In addition to these sustainability commitments, Taronga is also delivering a number of projects to protect climate-affected wildlife, including two new platypus facilities at Sydney and Dubbo and two new wildlife hospitals which will allow Taronga’s veterinary team to rescue, rehabilitate and understand more about these iconic but little-understood animals.  
For more information about Taronga’s sustainability journey or to plan a day out that’s good for the planet, head to taronga.org.au