History was made a couple of weeks ago when Eliud Kipchoge, from Kenya, ran a marathon in under 2 hours - 1.59.40 actually. In doing so he broke a mythical barrier of human capacity, just as Roger Bannister did in 1954 breaking the four minute mile.
The very next day, Brigid Kosgei, also from Kenya, broke the women's world record for the marathon, running 2.14:04. Did Brigid just have a great race, one of those where the planets align, and nothing goes wrong. Or was she inspired and propelled by possibility. The answer is probably a bit of both.
Many have debated Eliud's achievement as he was not running in "true" race conditions. He was paced by some extraordinary athletes and aided by significant technology, including the shoes he wore. Whilst this is all true, he still had to run 42.2 kms at about 2.50 mins per km - wow, try running 1 km in 2mins 50 secs.
Both Eliud and Brigid exemplify just what is possible when we bring together an ambitious vision with great planning, collaboration, preparation, creativity, technology, innovation, capability and the relentless pursuit of excellence. The power of such a combination is profound and are the enablers to humanity's ability to keep raising the bar.
Now imagine Ballarat and its surrounding regions, powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. A thriving community, with business, industry and government all working in collaboration, not limited by current constructs, rather inspired by a vision for a fully sustainable city.
Through the relentless pursuit of excellence in renewable energy, together with the enablers of human capability, we can pursue a renewable energy future for our community that would put us among the world's best.
The Victorian Parliament has just legislated to boost Victoria's Renewable Energy Target (VRET) to 50 per cent by 2030. This is an ambitious vision and sends a clear signal to industry to keep investing in renewables.
The City of Ballarat Council has set a target to work towards achieving carbon neutrality and 100 per cent renewables for the city's operations by 2025. This is an ambitious vision.
The Grampians New Energy Taskforce will soon release its much anticipated Roadmap to Zero Emissions which will outline how communities can transition to a carbon-neutral future.
Projects that may emerge include further development of wind and solar, hydrogen storage, biowaste, mosaic farming, micro grids and community education. An ambitious vision.
To achieve the above and more will require refining priorities, economic cost-benefit analysis, business cases, risks analysis and a whole range of other compliance requirements. As we inevitably become consumed with these processes, let us not forget, that we are relentlessly pursuing excellence.
If we can succeed, it will be transformative. We are a Goldilocks town, not too big and not too small. For a micro grid to succeed in a town like Ballarat ... will have resonance for the entire country
A vision of Ballarat and its surrounds, carbon neutral and powered by 100 percent renewable energy, off grid.
The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), recognises our region as one of Australia's key renewable energy zones. Ross Garnaut says we have unparalleled renewable energy resources and we have the necessary scientific skills to make Australia home for an increasing proportion of a global renewables industry. The planets seem to be aligning.
So, can we harness this potential with the power of great planning, collaboration, preparation, creativity, technology, innovation and capability, to raise the bar and create a new energy future.
If we can succeed, it will be transformative.
We are a Goldilocks town, not too big and not too small. For a micro grid to succeed in a town like Ballarat - bringing together solar, wind, hydrogen, bio fuels, storage and technologies yet to be explored - will have resonance for the entire country.
To succeed will be to enhance the liveability, the creativity and the innovation of the region we chose to live and work in. Innovation and creativity attracts innovative and creative entrepreneurs.
There is no reason why we can't create the environment in our region, to attract the sustainable businesses of the future.
Let us be the leaders of the change we want.
Through collaboration with business, industry, government and the community, let us create the future with a zero-carbon economy. Let us be inspired by possibility.
Most of all, if we succeed, we will be doing for the planet what is needed to ensure our future is a bright one.