Tuesday, March 5, 2024

New Year energy windfall for Wellington

On 1 January, Wellington Shire Council will celebrate its first year of emissions reductions and cost savings through VECO, Australia’s largest ever emissions reduction project by local government.

Wellington Shire is one of 51 Victorian councils which signed up to have their energy bills slashed and reduce emissions through the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) – a joint renewable electricity contract.

The project lowers each councils’ energy bills through locked-in reduced electricity prices, and allows access to clean, renewable energy generated by two Victorian wind farms – Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake and Murra Warra II wind farm near Horsham.  

The collective investment in local renewable energy has delivered electricity 25% cheaper over the first 12 months. These savings can be redirected to other council services.

Council says VECO has saved the organisation around $5,000 on in annual electricity bills, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 321 tonnes Co2 between January 1 and June 30, 2022.

Wellington Shire Mayor, Ian Bye said the project helped deliver on commitments reflected in Council’s Sustainability Strategy 2020-24 document.

“The Port of Sale Wellington Centre, Sale Service Centre (council headquarters), and The Wedge Performing Arts Centre are powered by 100% renewable electricity,” he said.

“The project is a huge part of achieving our goal of net zero Council emissions by 2040. By accelerating our renewable energy uptake, we are working to reduce greenhouse emissions from council operations.”

Mayor Bye said the project showed the value of collaboration in local government.

“The first year of VECO has delivered beyond our expectations for cost decreases and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

“Effective collaboration has enabled us to deliver stronger climate action, while supporting the economy, the renewable energy transition and allowing our ratepayers’ dollars to go further.”

The long-term contract with Red Energy will continue to protect councils from record high wholesale prices in the coming years and help to increase the stability of the State’s energy system.

Approximately 172,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been saved by councils in the first 12 months, which is equivalent to powering up to 35,000 homes or taking 66,000 cars off the road each year.

Initiated by and facilitated with the Victorian Greenhouse Alliances, now led by Glen Eira City Council, VECO recognises the benefits of renewable energy for the environment and the economy.

Owned by Snowy Hydro, Red Energy is a 100% Australian-owned and operated energy retailer based in Melbourne.

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