Monash signs on to VECO, Australia’s largest ever emissions reduction project by local government

Monash Council is one of 46 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.

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.

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 councils’ current energy bills and reduce electricity prices by using clean renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.

VECO is expected to save Monash Council 8 per cent on its electricity bills, based on current costs. This will vary across councils based on energy needs.

By joining the project, Council will power up to 100 per cent of its electricity use with 100 per cent renewables, including streetlights, major facilities and community buildings.

Mayor Brian Little said this project would go a long way in reducing Council’s greenhouse gas emissions, in line with Council’s commitment to zero net corporate emissions by 2025.

“Electricity is the top source of Council’s greenhouse gas emissions and this initiative will enable Monash to reduce these by 60 per cent,” Cr Little said.

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 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”, 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 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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