The City of Melbourne has become the first Australian capital to use 100 per cent renewables to power its streets and businesses. As a result, ‘Melbourne renewable energy capital’ is a title the city can proudly bear.
Melbourne City Council is also the first in Australia to introduce a renewable energy power purchasing agreement (PPA).
The city will draw its clean energy from the 80 MW wind farm at Crowlands, near Ararat in south-west Victoria.
Fourteen of Melbourne’s leading councils, corporations, universities and cultural institutions banded together to support construction of the wind farm using combined purchasing power.
Melbourne renewable energy comes from wind
According to Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Arron Wood, 25 of the 39 wind turbines have already been installed by Pacific Hydro. The project will be completed by May.
Authorities will then expand the project and businesses across Melbourne will also be able to take part in similar PPAs.
This will continue to generate investment in renewable energy, Wood claims.
Smaller regional centres will also benefit from PPAs
Melbourne is a major city with a $92 billion economy. However, the pioneering scheme will also benefit smaller regional centres because it is easy to replicate on different scales.
The real challenge is to get Australia’s other big cities to take up the gauntlet and commit equally as the Melbourne renewable energy commitment.
One in five councils target 100 per cent renewables
There are currently few solar powered town halls across regional Australia.
Crowlands wind farm created more than 140 regional jobs during its construction phase. It has also provided eight ongoing maintenance jobs.
A Climate Council ‘Local Leadership’ report shows that one in five local governments across Australia now have 100 per renewable energy goals.
The Queensland Government has also released a solar farm guide to help the state’s local government authorities maximise their savings from solar energy. This will then help them build solar farms supplying 5 MW or more of clean electricity to the grid.
Council solar bulk buy schemes help residents go solar
Councils across Australia are now helping residents and businesses install solar energy with community bulk buy schemes.
Some allow people to pay back over several years, while others add repayments to council rates. Some councils also arrange discounted solar installations through local installers.
Moreland and Darebin City Councils both started solar bulk buy schemes in 2014.
Positive Charge partners with local councils across Victoria, while MASH (More Australian Solar Homes) runs solar bulk buys for councils in Central Victoria.