Australia’s largest emissions reduction project

Article image - Australia’s largest emissions reduction project Dundonnell Windfarm, Mortlake.

Forty-six Victorian councils have announced the launch of VECO, the Victorian Energy Collaboration, the largest ever emissions reduction project by local government in Australia.

By pooling their energy contracts, this partnership will power 45 percent of all Victorian Council electricity with renewables, reducing greenhouse emissions by 260,000 tonnes of C02-e every year.

The 240GWh of clean power, provided by Red Energy, is equivalent to powering 48,000 homes with renewables or removing the emissions from 90,000 cars every year.

Led by Darebin City Council in Melbourne’s north and facilitated with the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances, VECO demonstrates the benefits of renewable energy for the environment and the economy. 

The ground-breaking project will reduce each of the council’s energy bills and reduce electricity prices by using clean renewable energy generated in Victoria.

VECO is expected to save councils up to 35 percent on their electricity bills, based on current costs. This will vary across councils based on energy needs.

Darebin Mayor, Lina Messina said the project was proof of what could be achieved by local government working together.

“This is a bold, visionary project that pushes the boundaries of what was thought possible for local government. This is a collective effort of staff and councillors from across the state, for the benefit of our communities.

“There is no box this project doesn’t tick – it tackles climate change, cuts energy bills, invests in Victorian businesses, and grows jobs in regional Victoria.”

Glen Eira City Council will power 100 percent of its total energy use with 100 percent renewables by joining the project, including streetlights, libraries, aquatic centres and pavilions.

Glen Eira Mayor, Margaret Esakoff said moving to 100 percent renewable energy was an important step in reducing carbon emissions generated by Council’s operations.

“We’re committed to strong and fast action on climate change. Electricity makes up a significant proportion of Council’s carbon footprint, so buying 100 percent renewables will cut our emissions by over two-thirds. 

“Purchasing renewable energy also helps to develop the renewable energy sector in Victoria and of course the cost-savings to Council are very welcome.”

Indigo Shire, in Victoria’s North East, joined VECO. 

Mayor, Jenny O’Connor said the project was an important step in Council’s response to declaring a climate emergency and sent a strong message to the community that Council was serious about tackling climate change

“This is a fantastic initiative that will have far reaching benefits, not just for the environment, but also in cost savings for our community.”

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 an operated energy retailer based in Melbourne.

Red Energy Chief Executive Officer, Iain Graham, said, “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.”