Greater Dandenong Council is set to be totally powered by renewables after signing onto Australia’s largest multi-council energy deal.
As part of the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO), 46 Victorian councils will be provided 240 Gigawatt-hours of 100 per cent renewables per year by Red Energy.
Greenhouse gas emissions are expected to reduce by 260,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalent a year.
Greater Dandenong’s annual share of 5.5 GWh is equivalent to powering more than 100 homes or removing nearly 2000 cars’ emissions.
According to the council, it can now power all of its assets including street lights, libraries and town halls with 100 per cent renewables.
“Costs will continue to be on a user-pays system, however we anticipate substantial savings on current (electricity) expenditure, likely to be up to 35 per cent,” a spokesperson said.
Mayor Angela Long said the project secured a “better future for both our current and future community”.
“This project will reduce Council’s electricity use charges as well as enable Council to make significant progress towards achieving its target of Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2025.
“It demonstrates the value of local governments working together to transition to a renewable energy future and address climate change.”
The renewable energy will be provided by two wind farms in Victoria.
They are Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake, which started exporting power to the grid in March 2020, and Murra Warra II wind farm near Horsham.
Construction started on Murra Warra II in September 2020. It is expected to be fully operational by June 2022.
Darebin City Council led the VECO project.
Its mayor Lina Messina said the project would make “ratepayers’ dollars go further”.
“Every dollar we save on energy bills is a dollar we can put towards improving roads, footpaths, libraries or community programs.”
Red Energy will provide the renewable-sourced power to VECO councils for nine-and-a-half years, beginning 1 July 2021.
“Given Red Energy is born and bred in Victoria, we are really excited to be a part of a project that is supporting Victorian councils, their ratepayers and two new Victorian wind farms”, its chief executive Iain Graham.
“Our owner Snowy Hydro has been a leader in renewable generation for decades and Red Energy is delighted to partner with Victorian councils to provide a long-term energy contract that will enable councils to purchase renewable energy at a competitive price.”