Indigo Council Declares Climate Emergency, Aims For 100% Renewables

Indigo Shire Council

Victoria’s Indigo Shire Council voted to declare a climate emergency last week and join dozens of councils looking to slash emissions and energy costs with a renewables PPA.

The Indigo Shire area is located in the Hume region of Victoria, in the north-east of the state. Covering an area of 2,044 square kilometres, the local government area (LGA) had a population just shy of 16,000 at the last census. Indigo Shire towns and localities include Beechworth, Rutherglen and Yackandandah.

Last week, Indigo Shire Council voted to declare a climate emergency, joining other councils across Australia to have recently done so including City of Darwin, City of Sydney, Noosa Shire and City of Melbourne.

Council says subsequent actions include preparing an advocacy plan to urge State and Federal Government to do more on the issue, and convene a series of public meetings to raise awareness of and develop ideas to help tackle climate change threats.

“At this stage, we are looking into the best way to go about enacting this plan and how Council can mitigate the risks and adapt to the increased likelihood of extreme climate events,” states Council.

Renewable Energy PPA Participation

It’s one thing to declare a climate emergency and talk about next steps, but actions speak louder than words. To this end, Indigo Shire Council also voted last week to join a consortium of dozens of councils  participating in a Victorian Local Government Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) project that will go out to tender soon.

“The proposed agreement will supplement measures we’ve already taken in the field of energy efficiency and will meet all grid supply required to power Council operations from street lighting through to Council buildings,” said Indigo Shire Mayor Cr Bernard Gaffney.

Indigo Shire Council is currently part of the Procurement Australia (PA) collaborative buying group for its electricity supply, the majority of which comes from coal-fired power generation. In 2018/19, Council’s total costs associated with the purchase of electricity was approximately $270,000.  While financial savings are not necessarily the major driver of the renewables PPA initiative, they are likely compared to various business-as-usual scenarios.

“The decision to take part in the tender aligns with our Climate Change Policy and Environment Strategy, which were also adopted at the Council meeting last night, and shows real action on tackling climate change at a local level,” stated Cr Gaffney.

Assuming it goes ahead, Indigo and other participating councils will be procuring low-cost renewable energy from 2020/21; after the conclusion of their current contracts.

Solar Power In Indigo Shire

Many of the Shire’s residents have already switched on to the electricity bill and emissions busting benefits of renewables through rooftop solar energy. The Australian Photovoltaic Institute estimates 37.7% of dwellings in the Shire had solar panels installed as at the end of March. The estimated percentage of houses with solar PV across Victoria is 17.5%, so Indigo is punching well above its weight.

The area is home of the award-winning Totally Renewable Yackandandah project, which is developing a micro-grid largely based on solar power backed by battery storage. The project aims to enable Yackandandah to source 100 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2022 and has inspired other communities, including nearby Beechworth.

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.

Comments

  1. China is building 200 airports.
    And Indigo Council will be controlling the weather?

    • Ronald Brakels says

      There were about 5,000 bank robberies in the US last year, so if you and I team up to knock over the local bank that couldn’t possibly hurt anyone. It would just be a drop in the ocean compared to the Yanks.

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