Council leads clean energy revolution

Greater Geelong is partnering with 45 other Victorian councils on the largest ever emissions reduction project by local government in Australia.

Known as the Victorian Energy Collaboration(VECO), the project will provide the councils with 100 per cent renewable energy until the end of 2030.

The estimated collective total 240 GWh of clean energy is equivalent to powering 48,000 homes with renewables or removing the emissions from 90,000 cars every year.

The ground-breaking venture is expected to save up to 22 per cent on the City’s electricity bills.

Greater Geelong Mayor Stephanie Asher said by joining VECO, the City would use renewables for 100 per cent of its total energy use.

“As the biggest partner in this collective agreement, we are leading the way on taking meaningful action on climate change,” Mayor Asher said.

“This project is a prime example of our commitment to take local action to reduce the region’s carbon emissions, as outlined in our Sustainability Framework Action Plan.

“This long-term deal will power our street lights, libraries, leisure centres and council facilities, while reducing emissions and keeping costs low.”

The initiative will play a major role in helping to meet the target of having City-managed operations carbon neutral by2025.

VECO has been co-ordinated by Darebin City Council, in Melbourne’s north.

“This is a collective effort formed by staff and councillors from across the state, for the benefit of our communities,” Darebin Mayor Lina 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 participating councils 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.

“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,” Red Energy CEO Iain Graham said.

The renewable energy will be provided by two Victorian wind farms: Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake, which started exporting power to the grid in March 2020, and Murra Warra II wind farm near Horsham, which is being built and will be fully operational by June 2022.

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