Professor Ross Garnaut was in Ballarat in August, speaking at the Grampians New Energy Taskforce's Decarbonising Victoria event.
Since then, he's released a book, Superpower: Australia's Low-Carbon Opportunity, and he said Ballarat is a superb example of how to make the most of this opportunity to harness renewable energy for cheaper electricity and more jobs.
"I was impressed," he said.
"I was very interested in the focus of the region in building on these assets to create a bigger economic future in the region.
READ MORE: Ballarat hosts zero emissions forum
"There's a lot of good thought being given to the possibilities, and that made me very interested in keeping in touch."
He'll return on Wednesday for a public forum to discuss a low-carbon future, led globally by Australia.
The book notes decarbonisation of electricity is a path to nearly complete decarbonisation of transport, and partial decarbonisation of industry, and that could be the foundation for Australia to become an economic "superpower" - hence the title of the book.
The wind turbines being installed across the district, and solar panels on roofs, will be part of a bigger plan, he adds - once enough green electricity is being generated, other problems can be solved more easily.
"I mention briefly in the book the very low cost of renewable energy transforms the economics of moving water, recycling water, and desalinating water," he said.
"I'm interested in bringing that into the conversation about western Victoria."
Also speaking at the event on Wednesday is City of Ballarat deputy mayor Belinda Coates.
READ MORE: Ballarat's journey to carbon neutrality
She said when economists like Professor Garnaut say there is an "enormous opportunity", then "everyone should be pricking their ears up".
"Having the foresight and vision to put in some investment now for a really big return - not only does it make comm more resilient, it creates jobs along the way and reduces impact on the environment," she said.
"It really is win-win-win."
Professor Garnaut had a simple message for people still not convinced.
"There's already a lot of interest in Ballarat and western Victoria, there's opportunity, I'd like to confirm for them that it's real, it's big, and within the grasp of the region
The Committee for Ballarat will host the public forum at the Ballarat Tech School on Wednesday from 5.30pm.
Limited free tickets are available online.
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