The City of Ballarat is on its way to reaching an organisational net zero emissions target by 2025.
A progress report on the implementation of the City of Ballarat’s Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan presented at Wednesday night’s Ballarat City Council meeting shows emissions avoided as a result of implemented initiatives is about 15,000 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-eq) annually by 2025.
These reductions are mainly the result of a decrease in electricity used by the City of Ballarat’s facilities and implementation of LED streetlighting and methane recovery at the landfill.
In 2018, the City of Ballarat’s greenhouse gas emissions were 39,000 tCO2-eq. This reduced to 34,917 tCO2-eq in 2021.
Compared to the 2018 level, reductions were achieved in all categories except for the organisation’s fleet. The Plan is now focused on reducing emissions from landfill, fleet and gas categories.
City of Ballarat Councillor, Belinda Coates said at the council meeting the organisation’s move to carbon neutrality was a “significant undertaking”.
“We can pat ourselves on the back for some of those big-ticket items but also be aware the clock is ticking and be aware we need to push ahead if we are to meet the ambitious targets in there,” she said.
The Plan, adopted by Council in 2019, provides advice to the City of Ballarat on how to support the community with emissions reduction initiatives and to capitalise on renewable energy opportunities. It contains 61 actions – three of these actions have been completed and 44 actions are now underway with 14 yet to commence.
Many of the actions feature multiple projects that deliver emission reductions as each project or activity is delivered. For example, the City of Ballarat carried out a number of activities in 2020-2021 that directly or indirectly reduced greenhouse gas emissions from its operations and facilities, including signing the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) – Power Purchase Agreement for 100% renewable electricity and rooftop solar installations.
In 2022-2023, pending budget approval, the Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan will address:
Development of a Landfill Masterplan, including an assessment of opportunities to maximise gas extraction and renewable energy production
Development of an electric vehicle transition plan and initiation of electric vehicle procurement into Council fleet
Development of electric vehicle charging infrastructure for Council fleet and public
Gas to electric transition and upgrade to all-electric in Council facilities
LED retrofitting of heritage and major roads streetlighting
Continue solar rollout on Council buildings
Energy reduction planning for larger more complex facilities, such as the Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre, for action in subsequent years.