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

Dundonnell Wind Farm

Mount Alexander Shire Council is one of forty-six Victorian Councils to sign on to VECO, the Victorian Energy Collaboration, the largest ever emissions reduction project by local government in Australia.

Wednesday 19 May 2021

Mount Alexander Shire Council is one of forty-six 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 in Victoria.

By joining the project, Mount Alexander Shire Council will power 100 per cent of its total electricity use with 100 per cent renewables.

This includes streetlights, public toilets and facilities such as the Civic Centre, Castlemaine Town Hall, community buildings and the Castlemaine Library.

“I’m delighted to say that by signing on to the VECO project, we’ve met a key milestone of Council’s Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality 2020-2025,” said Darren Fuzzard, Chief Executive Officer, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“As of January next year, we anticipate to have zero-emissions electricity for all Council-managed operations, cutting out over 700 tonnes of greenhouse emissions per year.”

“We also anticipate significant savings on our electricity bills – so it’s a win-win situation,” said Mr Fuzzard.

“When Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 we committed to urgent action on climate change.

“Not only are we on track to meet our Roadmap goals, but we are also working with the community on the development of the shire’s ZNET Community Transition Plan.

“The plan is a collective vision that outlines ways to reduce carbon emissions and adapt to climate change,” said Mr Fuzzard.

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. Mount Alexander Shire Council will join this contract beginning 1 January 2022.

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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