Australia’s largest ever emissions reduction project by local government
Swan Hill Rural City 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 council’s current energy bills and reduce electricity prices by using clean renewable energy generated right here in Victoria.
VECO is expected to save councils up to 35 per cent on their electricity bills, based on current costs. This will vary across councils based on energy needs.
By joining the project, Swan Hill Rural City Council will power all of its total energy use with 100 per cent renewables, including public lighting and small and large sites.
Swan Hill Rural City Council Mayor Bill Moar said that Council was proud to be involved in such a large-scale emissions reduction project and hopes to see more councils jumping on board in the future.
“This project will help pave the way not only for other Local Government Authorities but for all sectors looking at innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprint,” Cr Moar said.
Darebin Mayor 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,” 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,” 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.