Victoria’s Wellington Shire Council is celebrating the resounding success of the second annual Gippsland New Energy Conference, held last week at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre in Sale.
The Council-hosted event brought together more than 1,000 people, including students, experts, community leaders, and government representatives to discuss the future of clean energy.
Federal Government Senator, Jess Walsh; Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester, and Victorian Minister for Water, Regional Development, and Equality, Harriet Shing were in attendance, while Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen addressed the audience on day one, acknowledging Gippsland’s commitment to recognising its renewable energy priorities.
State Minister for Climate Action, Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio and the State Electricity Commission addressed attendees on day two, discussing Victorian Government energy priorities.
Council said the conference provided a unique platform for guests to explore practical opportunities for Gippsland’s transition to clean and renewable energy, and address climate change.
Mayor, Ian Bye said the Council recognises the rapid advancements taking place in renewable energy, including onshore and offshore wind, solar panel recycling, and converting waste into clean energy through hydrogen.
“Wellington Shire Council’s commitment to renewable energy aligns with our community’s call for action against climate change. We have abundant natural resources like wind, sun, and water providing incredible opportunities,” he said.
“The renewable energy sector is moving at a fast pace. Last year’s new energy conference saw us at the start of this journey, fast forward 12 months and these projects have propelled to reality.”
Day two of the Gippsland New Energy Conference also saw Council’s Major Projects and Principal Strategic Planner, Josh Clydesdale, take centre stage to present the recent Wellington Renewable Energy Impact and Readiness Study. The study assesses planned renewable energy investment in Wellington Shire and broader Gippsland, and considers workforce needs, supply chain, infrastructure requirements, and land use implications for areas like Yarram that are expecting significant growth.
Mayor Bye also took the opportunity to highlight the importance of planned renewable energy investments, not just for Wellington Shire but also at state and national levels, calling for a coordinated government response led by the National Net Zero Authority.
“The Wellington Renewable Energy Impact and Readiness Study was a key conversation starter throughout the conference, encouraging discussions about how Local Government can influence transition through advocacy, partnerships, local planning, economic development, and community support,” he said.
“The study is helping us prepare for a successful transition to renewable energy, maximising the benefits of over $40 billion in planned projects.
“Our commitment to our renewable energy priorities remains strong, and we are determined to provide our community with the tools and information needed to be active participants in this exciting journey towards a sustainable future.”