Renewable energy

Advocacy priorities:

Climate change affects everyone, with local governments often on the front line in dealing with climate change impacts. All M9 Councils have declared or acknowledged a state of climate emergency that requires urgent action by all levels of government, including local councils.

M9 Councils are already undertaking significant direct action through a variety of methods to address climate change – such as reduction of their own energy footprints through energy efficiency activities, supporting solar uptake in the community through initiatives such as bulk buys or installation programs and energy upgrade agreements and similar.

Renewable energy, however, presents a significant M9 advocacy opportunity. It is a key area where M9 Councils are working towards zero net corporate and community emissions. Significant work has already been undertaken in this space through initiatives such as the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) and Virtual Power Plant (VPP). However, M9 Councils have identified significant opportunities to advance progress via renewable energy batteries, electric vehicle infrastructure, and planning.

The Climate Change Act 2017 (CCA) sets a goal of net-zero emissions by 2050 into law. It establishes a framework of five-yearly interim targets and emission reduction pledges to reach net- zero emissions and supports new opportunities and other changes involved in the transition to a net zero greenhouse gas emissions economy.

The CCA does not work in isolation, and is supported by the Climate Change Framework, Victorian Adaptation Action Plans and the Renewable Energy Action Plan. The Renewable Energy Action Plan outlines investment into the energy sector to increase renewable energy. It supports modernising the energy system, sector growth and empowering our communities and energy consumers.

Under the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET), Victoria originally set targets of 25% renewable energy by 2020 (target met – 26% by 2020); and 40% by 2025. The VRET has now been increased to 50% renewable energy by 2030 via the Renewable Energy (Jobs and Investment) Act 2017. With the current growth in the renewables market, this is expected to be met earlier than 2030.

Under the Local Government Act Councils must include consideration of climate change in their decision making and planning and incorporate climate change in their Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans.