Written by PowerArk Solar

Melbourne is breaking barriers and continuously proving that it is not impossible to create a cleaner city by using renewables. Deputy mayor, Arron Wood proudly said, “It’s a pretty nice New Year’s resolution to go to 100% renewable energy,”. It is because in time with the new year, Melbourne has become the first capital city in Australia to have all its council-owned infrastructure powered by renewables. “We are immensely proud to be the first Australian capital city council powered by 100 % renewable energy,” He added “Every light on our streets, every treadmill in our gyms and every barbecue in our parks is now powered by renewable energy,”. This transition to 100% renewable means that council gyms, libraries, childcare centers and establishment are now fully-powered by renewable energy.

The people behind the project

This milestone has been achieved by the help of the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project (MREP) agreement which paved the way for the developments of Pacific Hydro. This partially-completed 80 MW wind farm located at Crowlands has now started supplying clean energy to the city. Pacific Hydro has installed 25 of the 39 turbines and energy has begun flowing into the grid, according to deputy mayor.

The Crowland’s wind farm was funded by a power purchase agreement with the Melbourne City and 13 other councils and institutions composed of Melbourne city, RMIT, Federation Square, City of Port Phillip, Yarra City, Moreland City Council, Bank Australia, Zoos Victoria, Citywide, National Australia Bank, Australia Post, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and NEXTDC. Melbourne City Council is also the first in the country to introduce a renewable energy power purchasing agreement (PPA). The group have decided to purchase 88 GWh of electricity every year, of which half of the energy will be produced by the 80MW Crowlands wind farm.

The project that creates jobs

Aside from the fact the this is a very helpful move for the city of Melbourne, another benefit of this achievement is the creation of additional jobs. So far, the project has created more than 140 jobs during its construction and could increase until the project is totally completed in May.  There are more than 40 large-scale wind and solar projects either under construction or with pending approval in Victoria while 26 projects are already producing electricity. The sector is expected to create 6,000 annual jobs.

The result

With the implementation of the project, Victoria is still on track to surpass its renewable energy targets of producing 25% of the state’s electricity needs from renewable sources by 2020 and 40% by 2025. Though, it is said to be an ambitious and expensive project, the deputy mayor has something to say – “When people say to me that it costs money to support renewable energy projects, well, we are actually paying for our renewable energy projects through our efficiency projects,” Aaron Wood said. This initiative from Melbourne challenges other states and cities to kick any doubt and hesitation towards renewable energy today and in the future.

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