Council signs history-making renewable energy agreement

The City of Whittlesea has signed the largest ever emissions reduction project undertaken by local government as part of a joint commitment from 46 Victorian councils to purchase renewable energy over the next 10 years.

By signing the Victorian Energy Collaboration agreement (VECO), the City of Whittlesea commits to using 100 percent renewable energy to power its buildings and community facilities –

reducing greenhouse emissions by 260,000 tonnes of C02-e every year.

CEO Craig Lloyd said Council was proud to be a part of this collaborative sustainability initiative, which would result in some financial savings for the City of Whittlesea.

“Today’s history-making agreement is another important step forward in our ‘Sustainable Environment’ Whittlesea 2040 goal,” he said.

“Maintaining, enhancing and protecting our environment to ensure that the City of Whittlesea remains a wonderful place for all is a key priority for Council.

“Over the last nine years, we have installed solar power systems across more than 60 Council buildings, and batteries to store renewable energy at 11 facilities.

“Today, 23 per cent of our electricity for Council buildings is derived from on-site solar power, and more than 53 per cent of our streetlights are now energy efficient. Because of these and other steps, we are on track to be an organisation that produces zero net carbon emissions by next year, and that’s a significant achievement.”

The VECO agreement is expected to reduce councils’ electricity costs by making smart, collaborative use of renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.

Provided by Red Energy, the 240GWh of clean power secured for the 46 councils over the next 9.5 years is equivalent to powering 48,000 homes with renewables or removing the emissions from 90,000 cars every year.

“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.

“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.”

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 farms have and will continue to deliver economic benefits to the regions during construction and ongoing operation.

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