The City of Whittlesea and Macedon Ranges councils have signed the largest carbon emissions reduction project ever to be undertaken by Victorian local governments.

By signing the Victorian Energy Collaboration agreement, councils commit to using 100 percent renewable energy to power buildings and community facilities – reducing greenhouse emissions by 260,000 tonnes of C02-e every year.

The agreement is a joint commitment from 46 Victorian councils to purchase renewable energy over the next 10 years.

City of Whittlesea chief executive Craig Lloyd said council was proud to be a part of the collaborative sustainability initiative, which would also result in financial savings for the City of Whittlesea by making use of Victorian-generated renewable energy.

“Today’s history-making agreement is another important step forward in our Sustainable Environment Whittlesea 2040 goal,” he said.

“Over the last nine years, we have installed solar power systems across more than 60 council buildings, and batteries to store renewable energy at 11 facilities.

“Today, 23 per cent of our electricity for council buildings is derived from on-site solar power, and more than 53 per cent of our streetlights are now energy efficient.

“Because of these and other steps, we are on track to be an organisation that produces zero net carbon emissions by next year, and that’s a significant achievement.”

Provided by Red Energy, the 240GWh of clean power secured for the 46 councils over the next 9.5 years is equivalent to powering 48,000 homes with renewables, or removing the emissions from 90,000 cars every year.

The renewable energy will be 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 will be fully operational by June 2022. Both farms will continue to deliver economic benefits and employment to the regions during construction and ongoing operation.

Macedon Ranges Mayor Jennifer Anderson said signing onto the project would be beneficial to the reduction of emissions in the shire, both in council operations and across the wider community.

“In the long term, taking action to mitigate against climate change will have broad ranging benefits for the safety and security of the community,” she said.

“VECO represents a fantastic collaboration involving over half the local councils across Victoria, working together to reduce greenhouse emissions and deliver financial savings to councils and ratepayers, though sourcing renewable energy generated in Victoria.”