Celebrating one year of VECO

Published on 16 January 2023

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Yarra Ranges Council is one of 51 Victorian local governments to have slashed their energy bills and reduced emissions through the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), a joint renewable electricity contract.

The collective investment in Victorian renewables has delivered electricity 25 per cent cheaper over the first 12 months. These savings can be redirected to critical community services provided by Council.

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.

In Yarra Ranges, VECO has saved Council over $90,000 on streetlighting between June 2021 and July 2022, a reduction of 15% on previous years bills and avoided over 2,400tCO2e greenhouse gas emissions.

Yarra Ranges Council Mayor, Jim Child, said the project helps deliver on the commitments in Council’s Liveable Climate Plan, to hit 100 per cent renewable energy use by 2030, and a final goal of net zero emissions by 2040.

“We’ve been working hard for more than a decade to reduce our impact on the environment here at Council,” Cr Child said.

“Our partnership with more than two thirds of Victorian Councils has removed the source of more than 50 per cent of our annual greenhouse gas emissions, while saving money on our bills, which I think is a tremendous result.

“This is a huge step forward, and absolutely crucial to our goals set out in the Liveable Climate Plan.

“We’re well on track to have complete renewable energy use before the end of the 2020s, and we’re working towards net zero emissions across the 120 services we deliver for the community.”

Cr Child said the project showed the value of collaboration in local government.

“The fact of the matter is that, without this level of collaboration, something like what we’ve achieved through VECO could not be possible for any one local government,” he said.

“By working together, we’ve all been able to deliver better action for the environment and the climate, support the Victorian economy and keep our costs down for our ratepayers.

“I look forward to seeing what else we’ll be able to achieve through this partnership into the future.”

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

The renewable energy is being 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 started exporting power in February 2022.

 

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