Mildura Rural City Council made an important step towards its goal of achieving zero net carbon emissions this week by officially switching over to electricity generated by 100 per cent renewables.

Council was among 46 municipalities to sign on to the Victorian Energy Collaboration (VECO) in May this year, which is the largest ever emissions reduction project by local government in Australia.

VECO, led by Darebin City Council in Melbourne’s north, provides 45 per cent of all Victorian Councils’ electricity requirements with 100 per cent renewables, reducing greenhouse emissions by 260,000 tonnes of C02-e every year (the equivalent of taking 56,000 cars off the road).

By joining the project, Council will power 100 per cent of its total electricity use with 100 per cent renewables, including all buildings, facilities and public/street lighting.

The project will reduce Council’s carbon emissions by 19 per cent and electricity bills by up to 35 per cent.

The agreement officially took effect on July 1, with Council’s electricity now provided by Australian-owned Red Energy for the next nine-and-a-half years as part of VECO.

Mildura Mayor Jason Modica said it was a historic moment for the region.

“This represents the first time since our district was established that every kilowatt hour of electricity Council uses is generated through 100 peer cent renewables,” Cr Modica said.

“It’s to be celebrated and follows on from the recent adoption of our Towards Zero Emissions Strategy 2021-2050, which has transitioning to 100 per cent renewables as a key action.”

Council’s Towards Zero Emissions Strategy 2021-2050 is among a number of measures in response to Council’s declaration of a state of climate emergency in February last year, the 30th local government in Victoria and the 94th in Australia to make such a declaration.

The strategy outlines Council’s approach to achieve zero net carbon emissions by no later than 2050, in line with the Victorian Government’s current target.