Ballarat Net Zero Emissions Plan Adopted

Ballarat Net Zero emissions

In Victoria, City of Ballarat Councillors have signed off on an ambitious plan that includes an aspirational community-wide target of reaching net zero emissions in the municipality by 2030.

The endorsement comes after the Ballarat community was invited to have their say on the draft plan. As well as the My Say consultation, several community consultations were held in person and online. Of the 48 submissions received, most were supportive of its contents – including the need for a greater sense of urgency to address climate change.

When it comes to local government, some believe Councils should stick to the 3Rs – Roads, Rates and Rubbish. But they have an important role to play in renewable energy uptake, environmental stewardship and tackling climate change at a local level.

Council notes:

“A small proportion of respondents disagreed with the climate science and Council’s role in addressing climate change.”

Some tweaking has been done on the plan as a result of feedback, but its spirit remains the same.

A Big Task Ahead

Considering emissions in Ballarat were an estimated 1.5 million tonnes in 2020, reaching net zero emissions by 2030 will be no mean feat, and reflects recognition of where we find ourselves in terms of the climate emergency.

The final plan identifies key areas of action for the Ballarat community in five categories: business, homes, new developments, transport and waste.

Renewable Energy In Ballarat

Renewable energy gets a number of mentions in the final plan. Solar panels are already a common sight across the local government area and uptake has been supported by a bunch of good solar installers servicing Ballarat. And emissions aside; with more electricity price rises on the horizon, no doubt they’ll be kept pretty busy.

Here’s how solar installation figures were looking in the City of Ballarat LGA up to the end of September this year (Source: APVI)

  • Estimated free-standing and semi-detached dwellings: 50,891
  • Installations: 10,450 (approx. 19% of dwellings)
  • Est. installed capacity: 71,942 kW
  • Under 10kW: 43,841 kW (installations under 10kW: 9,688)
  • 10-100kW: 18,962 kW (installations: 751)
  • Over 100kW: 9,139 kW (installations: 11)

There are a bunch of solar panels in Ballarat itself (postcode 3350), with more than 5,473 small-scale systems (<100kW) with a collective capacity of 31,959 kW installed as at September 30, 2022.

In terms of Council’s own renewable energy efforts in relation to corporate operations, the City of Ballarat was one of 46 Victorian Councils to sign on to the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO). Under that initiative, the City’s small and large sites and streetlighting are being supplied green energy coming from Victorian wind farms out to 2030.

Council has also installed solar power systems on some of its assets, including Girrabanya Integrated Children’s Centre (40 kW), Sebastopol Library (37 kW) and Wendouree Children’s Centre (30 kW) – and more on-site solar energy is to come.

Additionally, Council has committed to achieving carbon neutrality organisation-wide by 2025.

The final Ballarat Net Zero Emissions Plan, along with the changes made to the draft, can be found here.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. I made a submission on the subject of their proposed ‘hydrogen bus trial’, suggesting electric buses are a far simpler, superior solution for city buses.

    Melbourne has a long and uninspiring history of bus trials, including ethanol in the ’90s and diesel-hybrids from the 2000s and some EVs in recent years. The default new city bus purchase remains diesel, which the government says will supposedly change from 2025. I contrasted this to the city of Shenzhen, which completely phased in EV buses between 2010 and 2017.

    The topic of the transitioning the diesel regional railway network to ZEVs has never been openly discussed to my knowledge.

    Hydrogen for local buses has many disadvantages: complex infrastructure, currently being a fossil fuel byproduct, the need for physical transport of fuel and presumably higher overall costs. EV range is not a major issue for city buses doing set, and relatively short routes.

    It looks like they changed the wording to make some vague promise of transitioning to green hydrogen at a later date. Oh well, I tried.

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