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Melbourne Leaders Take Charge On Renewable Energy Policy

Amidst national policies in Australia that seem to be growing ever further from reality, the City of Melbourne and several other local councils and businesses have made a stand to attempt to divest themselves from Victoria’s coal-fuelled energy grid.

Led by Lord Mayor Robert Doyle of the City of Melbourne, the group of councils and businesses which represent a collective 100 GWh have initiated a “Request for Information” (RFI) process intended to seek out “proposals for new projects from the renewable energy sector.”

“The group is interested in entering into long term electricity supply contracts that will directly support and drive investment in new identifiable renewable energy projects.”

Led by the City of Melbourne — the capital of Australia’s second-most-populous state — the group consists of the City of Maribyrnong, the City of Yara, and businesses Federation Square, NEXTDC, Mirvac, and bankmecu.

“The City of Melbourne has united other like-minded local governments and businesses to challenge the market to supply us with the right energy at the right price,” the Lord Mayor said.“We have launched a Request for Information Process to combine our purchasing power and signal our interest in securing a competitive price for a long term electricity supply from renewable sources. We hope this scale of demand will stimulate investment in a new renewable energy project that is shovel-ready and has planning approvals in place.”

City of Melbourne

Partners launching the project at Melbourne Town Hall: (L-R) Grace Girardi, City of Maribyrnong; Sam Gaylard, City of Yarra; Cathy Oke, City of Melbourne; Arron Wood, City of Melbourne; Lord Mayor Robert Doyle; Sharon Pollard, Fed Square; Peter Taylor, bankmecu; Ben Hindmarsh, Mirvac; and Simon Cooper, NEXTDC. Photo: Andrew Bott.

According to its Zero Net Emissions by 2020 target, the City of Melbourne intends to obtain 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2018. This latest Request for Information is one step along the road towards attaining this goal, and developing a robust renewable energy industry in the region.

“Goals are easy to set but harder to meet,” said the Chair of Melbourne Council’s Environment Portfolio, Councillor Arron Wood. “Achieving this ambitious target requires substantial structural, economic and policy changes in Melbourne to help decrease our reliance on carbon intensive fuel sources. The target cannot be achieved through council actions alone and we can’t currently access the level of renewable energy we require from within the municipality of Melbourne.”

“What we are proposing is a new model for securing renewable energy. If it works we would encourage other organisations to adopt a similar model.”

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