Ballarat signs up for 100% renewable energy

The City of Ballarat is one of 46 Victorian Councils to sign on to the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) the largest ever emissions reduction project by local government in Australia.

The ground-breaking project is aimed at reducing each of the Council’s current energy bills by using clean renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.

In Ballarat, the City’s small and large sites and streetlighting will be powered through the VECO project by the clean energy coming from Victorian wind farms for the next 9.5 years.

“Ballarat Council has an aim to be carbon neutral by 2025 so this landmark agreement is a major step toward that goal,” Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said. “This is one of the most important collaborations in our Council’s recent history, and with residents rating sustainability initiatives highly in Council Plan consultation, we believe it will be greatly welcomed by our residents and businesses, he said.

Led by Darebin City Council, the collaboration will provide 45 per cent of all Victorian Councils’ electricity requirements with 100 per cent renewables, reducing greenhouse emissions by 260,000 tonnes of C02-e every year.

Provided by Red Energy, the 240GWh of clean power is equivalent to powering 48,000 homes with renewables or removing the emissions from 90,000 cars every year.

Darebin Mayor Cr Lina Messina said the project was proof of what can be achieved with collaboration. “Every dollar we save on energy bills is a dollar we can put towards improving roads, footpaths, libraries or community programs.”

Red Energy will provide 240 GWh of electricity per year to the 46 councils in the VECO purchasing group over a period of 9.5 years, beginning 1 July 2021.

Owned by Snowy Hydro, Red Energy is a 100 per cent Australian owned and operated energy retailer based in Melbourne.

“Red Energy is delighted to partner with Victorian Councils to provide a long-term energy contract that will enable councils to purchase renewable energy at a competitive price,” CEO, Iain Graham said.

The renewable energy will be provided by two wind farms in Victoria – Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake, which started exporting power to the grid in March 2020, and Murra Warra II wind farm near Horsham, which commenced construction September 2020 and will be fully operational by June 2022.

Both wind farms have and will continue to deliver economic benefits to the regions during construction and ongoing operation, and form an important part of state, regional and local economic development.

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