Thursday, February 29, 2024

Award-winning Victorian councils powering new energy initiatives

Brimbank City Council, Merri-bek City Council and City of Yarra took out top honours for their work driving renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives in their communities at the Cities Power Partnership Awards last night.

The Cities Power Partnership Awards recognise the work of climate heroes in local governments across the country who are transforming Australia’s energy landscape.

Brimbank took home the Energy Efficiency Achievement award for its Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre – the first all-electric aquatic centre in Australia.

Brimbank Mayor, Bruce Lancashire said they were very proud of the Brimbank Aquatic and Wellness Centre’s (pictured) world-leading sustainability features, and thrilled to win the Energy Efficiency Achievement award.

“This all-electric aquatic facility, powered by renewable energy, demonstrates our commitment to reaching net zero for Council operations by 2030,” said Mayor Lancashire.

“The centre’s operation has already demonstrated remarkable efficiency, achieving a 76% energy use reduction compared to conventional gas-powered aquatic centres since its opening.”

Merri-bek City Council was highly commended in the Energy Efficiency category for its Solar and Thermal Subsidy program which assists low-income households in adopting solar panels or improving thermal insulation.

Merri-bek’s Acting Mayor, Cr Helen Davidson said Merri-bek is proud of our commitment to prioritising climate justice.

“Our Solar and Thermal Subsidy program is just one example of a tailored climate initiative that helps residents reduce their energy bills whilst maintaining a comfortable home environment—essential for those in our community who are most impacted by a changing climate,” said Cr Davidson.

“Alongside the Solar and Thermal Subsidy program, Merri-bek continues to support a range of renewable energy initiatives within the community such as Electrify Merri-bek to work towards realising our Zero Carbon Merri-bek target by 2035 as well as reducing the impact of our own operations.”

The City of Yarra won the Collaboration Award for its innovative Business Renewables Buying group designed to help businesses work collectively to purchase 100% renewable energy by scaling up their buying power whilst cutting complexity, time, and cost.

The program’s group renewable energy buy is reducing carbon emissions by 18,500 tonnes per annum or the equivalent of removing 11,300 cars off the road or shifting 5,000 houses to 100% renewable energy.

City of Yarra Councillor Amanda Stone said we are delighted to receive this award.

“We know that collaboration will be the key to achieving net zero and this project demonstrates the power of councils working with business to drive down emissions across the community.”

“It can be challenging to engage businesses in the energy transformation and this project shows not only that it’s possible but that businesses are ready and eager to embark on the net zero journey.”

Cities Power Partnership director, Dr Portia Odell congratulated the trio, noting that the winning entries were shining examples of local councils leading clean energy solutions.

“It’s great to see three Victoria councils continue to take bold, collaborative approaches to climate solutions. We know that community pools are notorious for being massive energy suckers – they are expensive to run, produce loads of carbon emissions and are difficult to electrify. To see councils like Brimbank take this on is no small feat,” Dr Odell said.

“The local climate solutions on display at these awards are tangible proof that Australian communities are rising up to meet the challenges of climate change and play a critical role delivering climate solutions in Australia.”

The Cities Power Partnership Awards celebrated outstanding work from local governments in the fields including, renewable energy, energy efficiency, collaboration and innovation.

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