East Gippsland Shire Joins Cities Power Partnership

Congratulations to the East Gippsland Shire Council (EGSC) joining the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership (CPP). Environment Connect Spring 21 announced that “A motion was carried unanimously enabling East Gippsland Shire Council to sign up to the Cities Power Partnership at the 24 August 2021 Council meeting.” At least two other Gippsland councils – Wellington and Baw Baw – have joined the CPP.

The CPP website states “The Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership is Australia’s largest network of local councils leading the way to a thriving, zero emissions future. We are made up of over 145 councils from across the country, representing almost 60 percent of the Australian population. Local councils that join the partnership make five action pledges to tackle climate change. Whether it’s putting solar on the local library, switching to electric buses, or opening up old landfills for new solar farms, the possibilities are endless.”

Environment Connect noted “The CPP program focusses on supporting and celebrating the emissions-reduction success of local councils across Australia. The free program connects local Councils with shared emissions reduction project interests across the pledge areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and community advocacy. Partner councils submit five pledge actions and report on progress in an annual survey.”

Councils choose pledge actions from the 40 that the CPP offers under the categories of Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Sustainable Transport and Work Together and Influence. Shire Environment officer Rebecca Lamble listed the five pledge actions nominated by the EGSC as follows: “1. Roll out energy efficient lighting across the municipality 2. Facilitate large energy users collectively tendering and purchasing renewable energy at a low cost. 3. Provide fast-charging infrastructure…at key locations for electric vehicles. 4. Develop education and behaviour-change programs to support local residents and businesses to tackle climate change through clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport, and; 5. Support the local community to develop capacity and skills to tackle climate change.”

The first three actions pledged are already in progress and scheduled to be completed by 2022 although facilitating other large energy users besides the shire to join Power Purchase Agreements (such as Patties?) may be an ongoing role. The EGSC has chosen “low hanging fruit” but the pledges of numbers 4 and 5 are interesting and any progress in these areas will be beneficial. One wonders what sort of programs the shire will use for this and how they assess them.