The City of Greater Bendigo is one of forty-six Victorian Councils to sign on to VECO, the Victorian Energy Collaboration, the largest ever emissions reduction project by Local Government in Australia.
VECO, led by Darebin City Council in Melbourne’s north, 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.
Initiated by and facilitated with the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances, VECO recognises the benefits of renewable energy for the environment and the economy.
The ground-breaking project will reduce each of the Council’s current energy bills and reduce electricity prices by using clean renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.
By joining the project, the City will power 100 per cent of its electricity use with 100 per cent renewables, including community buildings, libraries and street lights.
Mayor Cr Jen Alden said the City was delighted to be involved in the landmark project.
“The City is leading the way as one of 46 Victorian Councils to form the largest ever emissions reduction project by Local Government in Australia, switching to 100 per cent renewable electricity,” Cr Alden said.
“The project highlights that large scale cooperation and collaboration is possible to transition to a renewable energy future and address climate change.”
Darebin Mayor Councillor Lina Messina said the project was proof of what can be achieved with collaboration.
“This is a collective effort formed by staff and Councillors from across the state, for the benefit of our communities,” Cr Messina said.
“By powering councils with affordable renewable energy, we’re making ratepayers’ dollars go further. 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 July 1, 2021.
Owned by Snowy Hydro, Red Energy is a 100 per cent Australian owned and operated energy retailer based in Melbourne.
“Given Red Energy is born and bred in Victoria, we are really excited to be a part of a project that is supporting Victorian councils, their ratepayers and two new Victorian wind farms”, said Red Energy CEO Iain Graham.
“Our owner Snowy Hydro has been a leader in renewable generation for decades and 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”, Mr 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 in 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.