Gannawarra Shire Council has won the Victorian Premier’s Regional Recognition Award in this year's Premier's Sustainability Awards for their sustainability focus, featuring the first large scale solar farm and battery storage in Victoria.
Many small rural communities struggle to remain sustainable with reducing populations, declining rate revenue and a lack of jobs. The Gannawarra Shire has taken a strategic approach to fortify the future of the local economy by identifying platforms of nature-based tourism, renewable energy and innovative agriculture.
The large-scale solar farm and battery storage could inspire the development of further creative projects transforming not only the municipality, but providing a high level of financial and environmental sustainability.
A joint project between the cities of Melbourne, Moreland, Port Phillip and Yarra also won the Government category for the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project.
The project marks the first time in Australia that a group of local governments, cultural institutions, universities and corporations have collectively purchased renewable energy from a newly built facility.
Members have committed to purchase 88 GWh of electricity per year from the yet to be built Crowlands Wind Farm near Ararat under a long-term power purchase agreement. It provides long-term price certainty and will be critical to partner organisations achieving their ambitious CO2 reduction targets.
Their approach is replicable as it enables cities, corporations and institutions to take an active role in securing renewable electricity supply and to take action on climate change.
For more information on the Awards, other winners and photos from the night visit www.sustainabilityawards.vic.gov.au