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Celebrating a year of renewable energy

On January 1, Wellington Shire Council celebrated its first year of emissions reductions and cost savings through Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), Australia’s largest-ever emissions reduction project by local government.

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

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

Locally, VECO has reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 321 tonnes Co2 between January 1, 2022 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.

“Our Port of Sale building, Sale Service Centre (council headquarters) in Sale, and The Wedge Performing Arts Centre are powered by 100 per cent renewable electricity,” Cr Bye 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.”

Approximately 172,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions have been saved collectively by the 51 councils in the first 12 months, which is the equivalent to powering up to 35,000 homes, or taking 66,000 cars off the road each year.

The collective investment has also delivered electricity an average of 25 per cent cheaper over the first 12 months.

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.

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