A project to make Hepburn Australia's first zero-net emission shire within 10 years has been selected as a finalist in the Victorian Premier's Sustainability Awards.
Renew, the sustainability not-for-profit that lead the Hepburn Shire's Z-NET plan, is recognised in the Community and Environmental Justice categories of the award.
The Z-NET Community Transition Plan was released in April, detailing a 10-year plan to transition Hepburn Shire to source all of its energy from renewable sources and completely offset carbon emissions.
Hepburn Shire Council chief executive Evan King said celebrating sustainability within the shire was a major priority for council.
"We are involved in many programs and initiatives that address emissions, both in council operations and the community," he said.
"We are pleased that the Z-NET initiative has been recognised by the Premier's Sustainability Awards."
The Z-NET plan is a first for Australia and continues the region's history of leadership in sustainability.
We built a model other communities could replicate and made everything open source, so it is good to be recognised that our work is a model for other communities as well.Taryn Lane, Hepburn Wind
Hepburn Wind became Australia's first community-owned energy generator in 2011 after more than 2000 community members pooled $10 million to build a two turbine wind farm at Leonards Hill.
The project was awarded $500,000 from the state government to expand to solar last year, a move that will contribute to the shire's goal to reach 100 per cent renewable electricity supply by 2024 and zero-net emissions by 2029.
Hepburn Wind community manager Taryn Lane said it was exciting the collaboration behind the Z-NET project had been recognised.
"We built a model other communities could replicate and made everything open source, so it is good to be recognised that our work is a model for other communities as well," she said.
"There has been lots of movement and lots of projects happening since the release of Z-NET in April, with the Solar Bulk Buy and Solar Savers programs, and the community solar farm is progressing well.
"We are starting to engage with the farming sector and work on what that will look like moving forward. It is beneficial having a strategy. As a community we can act more strategically."
The Premier's Sustainability Awards is one of Victoria's major sustainability programs, celebrating people working to reduce the impact of climate change.
Sustainability Victoria interim chief executive Carl Muller congratulated finalists for their innovative work, building a more sustainable environment for current and future generations.
"Delivering these awards means we continue to discover and celebrate the talent and enthusiasm Victorians have for thinking creatively about new models of sustainability," he said.
"Each finalist is commended for improving sustainable outcomes across business, government, education, health and within the community."
Ballarat sustainability efforts are also recognised in the awards, with the Ballarat Community Power Hub and the Ballarat Tech School also listed as finalists.
Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions is a finalist in the community category for its work running the Ballarat Community Power Hub, a state government funded program to develop locally-owned renewable energy projects.
The Ballarat Tech School is named as a finalist in the education category of the Premier's Sustainability Awards for its War on Waste program.
The program provides students with the chance to design and develop products and business ideas from other people's waste.
Showcasing their work encourages others in the community to start seeing their waste as a potential, not just as rubbish.
Winners of the Sustainability Awards will be announced on Thursday 10 October at Forum Melbourne.
For the full list of finalists visit sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au.