THE Meander Valley Council will vote on a motion to register its interest for the Cities Power Partnership initiative at Tuesday’s meeting. The Climate Council program is a national initiative that motivates councils to implement green energy policies. “The [program] was launched on July 19, 2017, to focus on supporting and celebrating the emissions reduction successes of local councils across the country,” Councillor Deborah White said. “The program aims to connect local councils with shared interests across the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and community advocacy.” The motion, put forward by Cr White, would see the council nominate five policy actions as a part of its registration, and deliver progress reports every six months.
Five potential actions nominated by the Sustainable Environment Committee include installing solar panels and battery storage on council buildings, providing charging infrastructure throughout the municipality for electric cars and facilitating “large energy users [to] collectively tender and purchase renewable energy at a low cost.” Council general Manager Martin Gill wrote in the meeting’s agenda that the program has the support of the council’s officers. “Participation [in the Cities Power Partnership] demonstrates the council’s commitment to good governance, innovative leadership and sustainable energy use and provision,” he wrote. Partnership participants gain access to resources from the Climate Council to help them reach their goals. This includes access to an online knowledge hub, funding opportunities and emissions calculators.
The program was first proposed in 2016, after an International Energy Agency report found that: “Transforming the way cities use and generate energy alone has the potential to deliver 70 per cent of the total emissions reductions needed to stay on track for the two degrees limit set under the Paris Agreement.” Registration comes at no cost, however the council will have to adjust its capital budget to accommodate the proposed initiatives if the motion is carried.
This article first appeared in the Launceston Examiner on 10 October 2017.