This article first appeared in the Bega District News on October 19 2018
The Bega Valley Shire Council says it is delighted to be involved in a partnership that has taken out top honours for knowledge sharing at the inaugural Cities Power Partnership National Summit Awards.
The five-council partnership, made up of Bega Valley, Eurobodalla, Shoalhaven, Wingecarribee and Kiama Councils, was recognised for ground-breaking collaboration in developing a strong, regional climate response for south eastern NSW.
The awards, held on Thursday night, October 18, in Kiama as part of the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership National Summit, recognised the work being done in local government to transform Australia’s energy landscape.
Bega Valley Shire Mayor Kristy McBain said it was exciting and encouraging for the work of local councils to be recognised on the national stage.
“As councils we are dealing with very similar concerns and challenges and sharing our expertise and experiences is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce our climate impact,” Cr McBain said.
“Our South-East councils were among the first intake to sign up to the Cities Power Partnership last year, as we were facing similar coastal issues, recognised the efficiencies that could be gained and needed to reduce our electricity costs wherever possible.
“Since the launch we have been able to take advantage of emerging opportunities and potential joint projects such as the South-East Electric Highway proposal.
“We are on our way towards a future based around renewable energy, in line with our Climate Change Strategy,” Cr McBain said.
Darren O’Connell, energy management coordinator at Shoalhaven City Council, said the south eastern council partnership was proud to be recognised for their joint work to tackle climate change.
“Before we got involved with the Cities Power Partnership, we were all working separately on our climate strategy despite dealing with very similar concerns,” he said.
“Working with other councils is one of the most powerful tools we have to reduce our climate impact. We’re learning from other’s experience, our regional expertise to fast track powerful climate solutions.
“We’re in discussion about number of possible joint projects including a South-East Electric Highway proposal, an Emissions Reduction Plan and a revolving energy fund to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, among other things.”
The Cities Power Partnership is a free national program created by the Climate Council that celebrates and accelerates the pollution reduction and clean energy successes of Australia in towns and cities.
Alix Pearce, director of the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest local government climate alliance, said the range of climate solutions coming out of Australia’s councils was staggering.
“The local climate solutions on display at these awards are tangible proof that Australian communities are rising up to meet the challenges of climate change,” she said.
“From supporting local schools to save thousands on their power bills through solar energy through to developing Australia’s largest floating solar farm, Cities Power Partnership councils are leading the way with practical local climate solutions.
“These local heroes are stepping up and getting the job done, in the face of continuing Federal climate inaction. It’s time to celebrate these quiet achievers, who are working at the climate frontline and helping their communities to drive down local greenhouse gas pollution.”
The Cities Power Partnership Awards celebrated outstanding work from local governments in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and community advocacy, as well as individual climate champion awards.
Renewable Energy Achievement Award
Winner: Solar my School – Three Council Program from Randwick, Waverley & Woollahra Councils (New South Wales)
Energy Efficiency Achievement
Winner: Newcastle Museum Energy upgrade – The City of Newcastle (New South Wales)
Sustainable Transport Achievement Award
Winner: Transition to Zero Emissions Vehicles Action Plan 2018-21 – ACT Government
Community Engagement Achievement Award
Winner: Floating solar farm – Lismore City Council (New South Wales)
Knowledge Sharing Award
South East NSW Councils buddy group (New South Wales)
CPP Ambassador Award
Cr Ken Keith, Mayor, Parkes Shire Council (New South Wales)