Photo by Andrew Roberts on Unsplash

Imagine a renewable energy retailer owned by all Victorian councils that would result in 100 per cent renewable energy for their communities, with profits funding climate change projects by local governments.

This was one of the winning ideas at an event held in Melbourne last week by Cities Power Partnership, City of Yarra and Northern Alliance for Greenhouse Action (NAGA).

Thirteen Victorian councils assembled at Richmond Town Hall for a hackathon style event to come up with out-of-the-box solutions to wicked problems standing in the way of net zero communities.

The bright idea for a council-owned renewable energy retailer was the work of representatives from Yarra Ranges, the City of Yarra and Wyndham City Council.

The problem it’s solving is that businesses need to procure more renewable energy, but PPAs and other renewable electricity contracts are extremely complex, and are not suitable for small businesses and other key groups such as renters/apartment owners and community groups.

In theory, all 79 Victorian councils would band together to form a generator and retailer for renewable energy across the state, with significant local generation.

The other idea that stood out for the judges was a plan to strategically place electric vehicle charging infrastructure in spots that allow drivers to multi-task – go to the gym or grab a coffee, and charge their car at the same time. 

The absence of a comprehensive charging network is leading to a slow uptake of EVs, with 70 per cent of respondents to an Electric Vehicle Council survey stating that public fast charging is important. Community emissions are expected to reduce by 20 per cent by switching completely to EVs.

The plan would be to target car drivers who are accessing local businesses, services and community facilities by planting EV fast charging infrastructure strategically across municipality boundaries.

Representatives from Nillumbik Shire, Manningham, City of Yarra and Moonee Valley came up with this solution to the EV uptake problem.

The chosen ideas are in the initial workshopping phase. The Cities Power Partnership is working with participating councils on next steps and implementation.

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  1. Great initiative for all Councils to become members to benefit the people and give the big energy retailers a run for their money. Please take action fast.