More than half of Victoria's councils - including the City of Ballarat - are joining forces in a bid to get all their electricity from renewable sources.
The project, a renewables power purchase agreement, is being led by Darebin Council and involves a total of 48 municipalities.
Organisers say it could power the equivalent of 47,000 homes using green energy. In terms of emission reductions, they calculate it would be the same as more than 80,000 vehicles coming off the roads.
The project has been supported from its early stages by the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, which has Ballarat councillor Belinda Coates as the chair of its board.
It fits so well with our council's position, acknowledging the climate emergency. It's a great way to take leadership and have positive economic impacts.Cr Belinda Coates
"It's an amazing initiative, it's pretty exciting," Ms Coates told The Courier. The council group would be one of Australia's largest ever buying groups to switch to renewable energy.
"It fits so well with our council's position, acknowledging the climate emergency. It's a great way to take leadership and have positive economic impacts," she said.
At this stage, the project has confirmed the councils that wish to be involved in the procurement process, which would be negotiated by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
For Ms Coates, the project has the potential to be a "landmark collaboration". "It demonstrates the value of local government working together," she said.
WIND FARM CONSTRUCTION AROUND BALLARAT
Earlier this year, councillors approved the City of Ballarat's Carbon Neutral and 100 Per cent Renewables plan. One of the significant items it includes is the aim to power the council's activities solely using green energy.
- READ MORE: A road trip through wind farm country
Part of the appeal for many councils is the help they would have meeting greenhouse emissions targets.
It is not yet clear if the source of the renewable energy would come from existing infrastructure or whether the combined buying power of almost 50 municipalities would underwrite the costs of a new facility. However, The Courier understands the renewable energy would be created in Victoria.
This is the largest ever emissions reduction project undertaken by local government in AustraliaCity of Darebin mayor Susan Rennie
The City of Darebin mayor Susan Rennie told The Courier they hoped an agreement would allow 45 per cent of all Victorian local government electricity to be powered by renewables. Cr Rennie described it as "the largest ever emissions reduction project undertaken by local government in Australia."
The buying group and the MAV are working on a tender to call for proposals. Its advocates say that, however negotiations unfold, the economies of scale should keep energy costs at least as low as - or lower than -current arrangements.
Organisers hope an offer will be finalised by March next year.
The City of Ballarat council's existing energy contract, which was also part of a deal procured in partnership with other councils by the MAV, is due to end early next year. Council officers hope to seamlessly transfer to the new arrangement.
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