Home' ALGY : ALGY Edition 24 2017 Contents THE AUSTRALIAN LOCAL GOVERNMENT YEARBOOK EDITION 24 • 73
ENVIRONMENT, ENERGY + SUSTAINABILITY
other alliances -- the western, the south-eastern, and the central
Victorian greenhouse alliances. They got some seed funding to
put on a dedicated staff resource to coordinate their activities
across the alliances.
It wasn't until 2012 that the seven councils agreed to
commit to a formal memorandum of understanding (MoU) to
contribute an annual membership fee, and appoint a dedicated
staff resource -- the executive officer, which is my role.
Since then, we've done a whole bunch of projects and
initiatives. The alliances have a fairly consistent purpose, and that
is to do projects on a scale that would otherwise not be possible
at the individual or municipal level. The strategy is similar: for all
the alliances, it's all about mitigation (reducing emissions) and
adaptation projects (respond to the impacts of climate change)
supported by a platform of collaboration and information
sharing. We're also fairly active in the advocacy space.
All the councils have respective goals and ambitions towards
reducing emissions, both within their own operations and
within the community, and acting regionally helps them to
realise those objective goals and strategies.
ALGY: What are some of the more recent projects that EAGA has
worked on? What have been the outcomes of these?
SM: EAGA regularly works in partnership with the other
alliances -- a recent example includes a regulatory review
around electricity pricing. EAGA works quite proactively with the
region's distributors because they do a lot of energy efficiency
programs, and so do councils, so there's quite a few areas where
the interests of the parties intersect, and for councils that's an
opportunity to leverage private-sector investment within the
communities, as well.
We engaged with the distribution sector because of a recent
regulatory review, which is about the pricing for the operation of
streetlights -- a big energy consumer for councils. People don't
realise that councils pay the bill for the streetlights on residential
roads. Victorian councils have the largest streetlight retrofit
program in the world just after New York state, and about three-
quarters of all councils have now changed their streetlighting
over to more efficient lights, which has reduced the lighting
emissions by about 30 per cent, and the costs similarly.
We participated in a regulatory review around some of those
regulated issues to businesses, and through a collective advocacy
program, we identified and secured around $22 million worth of
savings for councils right across the state for the next five years.
Another project that we're currently running is an
engagement program targeting the region's sporting clubs.
We're rolling out an initiative to 34 clubs across the region;
we're doing site assessments and opportunity assessments for
each of the clubs to help them save money on their electricity
bills and save emissions so that they can free up cash for
other things, like uniforms ... We've just started a competition
to try to encourage clubs to undertake specific behavioural
change measures, like shorter showers. The winner/winning
club of that competition -- whoever can demonstrate [these
changes] -- will go into the running to win a solar PV system
that councils will install.
Two major initiatives that we're starting now, and that
we'll roll into the next couple of years, are energy efficiency
in council buildings, and rolling out solar to the state's low-
The first one is called an energy performance contracting
(EPC) program, and EAGA has just put on a new staff member
to manage this. They will help the councils to reduce the energy
consumption in their buildings by about 30 per cent, which is a
significant investment in the buildings and infrastructure. Those
savings are guaranteed through the program, and then the
councils are in front after seven or eight years ... the building
retrofits will probably take place in the next 12 months, and the
savings will be coming in the year after.
The second one is called Solar Savers. We secured a state
government grant earlier this year, and partnered with 20
councils, so there's EAGA councils plus others from across the
state. It's about councils using their rates to help vulnerable
households access solar PV, and pay that off through their rate
repayments (to read more about this program, go to page 56).
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