About

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 150 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.

Together, Cities Power Partnership councils are making the switch to clean energy and setting up communities for a prosperous future – it’s truly inspiring stuff.

What is the Cities Power Partnership?

Find out how we help councils from around the country accelerate local action on climate.

How the Cities Power Partnership works

01

Become a member

When councils sign up to the program, they instantly receive exclusive access to our extensive resources, collaboration opportunities and communications support to get their local climate and energy projects up and running. 

02

Power up

Members have 6 months to select 5 key actions from the partnership pledges within the categories of renewable energy, efficiency, transport and working in partnership.

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To accelerate success, councils have ongoing access to our knowledge hub, monthly webinars, free reporting tool, networking events, expert training, online forum, monthly newsletter and opportunities to be part of regular media and advocacy work.

03

Power on

Members report on progress against key actions in an annual survey, following the submission of their 5 pledge items. When one or all five council pledges are complete, it’s time to pick new ones and continue the emissions reductions journey. 

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Through regular opportunities to share knowledge including at our biennial national Summit, access to Australia’s top experts on climate and energy and recognition at our annual awards program, councils are given the tools, connections and momentum to take meaningful action on climate change.

No matter where a council is at on their climate and clean energy journey, we are committed to providing support where we can.

The Partnership Action Pledges

Members select 5 key actions from dozens of partnership pledges.

Renewable Energy
  • Develop supportive planning laws to encourage residents and industry to adopt renewable energy.
  • Use council resources to support the uptake of renewable energy
  • Install renewable energy (solar PV and battery storage) on council buildings.
  • Support community facilities to access renewable energy through incentives, support or grants.
  • Power council operations by renewable energy, and set targets to increase the level of renewable power for council operations over time.
  • Provide incentives and/or remove barriers to encourage local businesses to take up solar power and battery storage.
  • Support local community renewable energy projects, and encourage investment in community energy.
  • Opening up unused council managed land for renewable energy.
  • Facilitate large energy users collectively tendering and purchasing renewable energy at a low cost.
  • Set minimum renewable energy benchmarks for new developments.
  • Electrify public transport systems and fleet vehicles and power these by 100% renewable energy.
  • Lobby electricity providers and state government to address barriers to local renewable energy uptake.
  • Identify opportunites to turn organic waste into electricity.
  • Implement landfill gas methane flaring or capture for electricity generation.
  • Create a revolving green energy fund to finance renewable energy projects.
Energy Efficiency
  • Set minimum energy efficiency benchmarks for all planning applications.
  • Adopt best practice energy efficiency measures across all council buildings, and support community facilities to adopt these measures.
  • Roll out energy efficient lighting across the municipality.
  • Provide incentives for energy efficient developments and upgrades to existing buildings.
  • Incentivise use of energy efficient heating and cooling technologies.
  • Create a green revolving energy fund to finance energy efficiency projects.
Sustainable Transport
  • Ensure Council fleet purchases meet strict greenhouse gas emissions requirements and support the uptake of electric vehicles.
  • Provide fast-charging infrastructure throughout the city at key locations for electric vehicles.
  • Encourage sustainable transport use such as public transport, walking and cycling through council transport planning and design.
  • Ensure that new developments are designed to maximize public and active transport use, and support electric vehicle uptake.
  • Support cycling through provision of adequate cycle lanes, bike parking and end-of-ride facilities. 
  • Reduce or remove minimum car parking requirements for new housing and commercial developments where suitable public transport alternatives exist.
  • Lobby state and federal governments to increase sustainable transport options
  • Create disincentives for driving high emitting vehicles.
  • Convert council waste collection fleet to hydrogen or electric power.
Work Together and Influence
  • Set city-level renewable energy or emissions reduction targets.
  • Lobby state and federal government to address barriers to the take up of renewable energy, energy efficiency and/or sustainable transport.
  • Set up meetings and attend events to work with other cities on tackling climate change.
  • Develop education and behaviour-change programs to support local residents and businesses to tackle climate change through clean energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport.
  • Lobby for state and federal support for a just transition away from coal-driven industry for local workers and the community.
  • Develop procurement policy to ensure that the practices of contractors and financers align with council’s renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable transport goals.
  • Support the local community to develop capacity and skills to tackle climate change.
  • Support local community energy groups with their community energy initiatives.
  • Achieve 100% divestment from fossil fuel aligned investments at the earliest possible date.

Frequently asked questions

How do I sign up to be a member council?

Becoming a member is easy and free. All we need is a letter from your Mayor or Shire President to our CEO Amanda McKenzie confirming your participation.

Your letter must acknowledge that you will:

  • Within 6 months, identify 5 Cities Power Partnership pledges that your council will commit to achieve
  • Complete our annual online survey that provides us an update on how your pledges are progressing
  • Nominate a point of contact within your council
  • Confirm that you’re willing to connect and collaborate with other local councils to share knowledge

Find out more

Why should my council join the Cities Power Partnership?

Local governments have a critical role to play in meeting the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. In fact, transforming the way energy is used and generated in cities and towns worldwide has the potential to deliver 70% of the total emissions reductions needed to do it.

Joining the Cities Power Partnership presents an important opportunity for your council to join dozens of other councils across the country leading the way to a vibrant, zero emissions future. As a Cities Power Partnership member, you’ll gain access to hundreds of resources, monthly webinars, an online forum to easily share knowledge with fellow councils and much more to accelerate your climate and energy goals.

Is there a cost to join the Cities Power Partnership?

No, there is no cost to joining the program. Joining the membership and gaining access to our events, webinars, resources, emissions tracking tool and more is completely free.

What kind of councils join the Cities Power Partnership?

The power of our network is the diversity of our councils. Councils of all shapes and sizes, all political affiliations and all levels of progress towards climate change join our program. We have the smallest council all the way to the largest council in Australia.

Regardless of what differs between councils, what unites councils in the partnership is a shared vision for a zero carbon future for their communities and a willingness to take steps to create that future.

How much of a time commitment is it to be a part of the Cities Power Partnership?

How much you put into the partnership is how much you’ll get out of it.

The key time commitments we require from councils are:

  1. making and submitting your pledges, and this process and time frame varies depending on your council
  2. providing us with information and a quote from your mayor to put on our website
  3. completing an annual reporting survey, where you will update us on your pledge progress.

The Annual Reporting Survey should take approximately 3 hours to complete per year. The webinars, events and other collaboration opportunities are optional however, we encourage all councils to participate in all aspects of the program as much as possible, as you’ll get the most out of it in this way.

Our council doesn’t have a sustainability or energy officer. Should we still join?

Absolutely. Our program is designed to break down the barriers to project implementation, and support councils to take action regardless of how many staff or how big of a budget you have.

Being a part of the Cities Power Partnership saves you valuable time and money, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. We can help you learn about the best practice projects, including what has and hasn’t worked from councils all across the country. It will also enable your staff to connect with leading sustainability officers throughout Australia and to draw on their knowledge and advice.

What if a town or city has very few clean energy projects and doesn't place a high priority on climate change? Is it still worth them joining the Cities Power Partnership?
Yes. The Cities Power Partnership welcomes all councils to the program no matter where they are on their climate journey. We recognise councils face different barriers to action, and we hope becoming a member can help break those down through our suite of program offerings.

What we do require though, is a willingness to take climate action and a commitment to the 5 climate action pledges as outlined within 6 months of becoming a member.

What if a town or city is already leading in renewable energy and sustainability, what does their city get out of joining the partnership?
Cities leading the way play a critical role in the partnership. They share their knowledge with other cities, their successes are celebrated to an audience of millions to inspire others and they will have access to resources and incentives to help them to continue to lead. Membership can also help leading cities collaborate with others to further increase the impact of their actions.

Many trailblazing cities who are already leading will have some of their existing initiatives counted towards their power partnership pledge. We also have an annual awards program to celebrate the leading achievements of our member councils.

How is the Cities Power Partnership different to other city or council climate alliances?
Our program is designed to be accessible to as many Australian councils as possible and is focussed on providing councils access to practical tools, knowledge and support. Our reporting requirements are significantly less intensive than some city networks and membership is free to any council in the country.

Where other networks and alliances focus on a specific regional area, our program connects councils of all sizes throughout Australia, enabling greater access to knowledge, case studies and resources, and providing a powerful national voice for local government.

What if my council is already part of another climate alliance or city network?
No problem. Many Cities Power Partnership member councils are also part of other networks and alliances. The actions your council is already taking as part of other networks and alliances can be included in its pledges and we work closely with other networks and alliances to ensure that our program complements and supports the actions their members are taking.
When does council need to submit its pledges?

Councils are required to submit their pledges within the first 6 months of joining the program. Feel free to get in touch with the team at [email protected] if you have any questions on how to get started.

Does council need to choose new pledges every year?
No, it’s not necessary to submit new pledges each year. We understand that many pledges take years to complete, so as long as there is progress on your current pledges there is no need to submit new ones. However, if a pledge needs to be abandoned or if a pledge is completed, then we require a new pledge to be submitted in its place.
How does Cities Power Partnership facilitate collaboration?

At the heart of the Cities Power Partnership is connection and sharing between participants. From nation-wide events to our online forum, councils have ample opportunity to connect and work together. We also hold a monthly meet and greet for council members, monthly webinars on topics you’ve told us are important, events throughout the year and an online collaboration forum.

What kind of media opportunities do member councils get?

We’re dedicated to sharing the climate success stories of local councils and communities. As part of the Climate Council, the number one climate change media communications organisation, we have significant media reach and are well placed to help councils profile their renewable energy and sustainability work.

From opportunities to be part of Climate Council report launches and joint advocacy statements to regular events and the annual Cities Power Partnership awards ceremony, we offer ample opportunity to celebrate the trailblazing work our members are spearheading.

Can Cities Power Partnership assist with emissions reporting?
Yes. The Cities Power Partnership currently provides its members access to a ‘freemium’ version of the emissions tracking tool, Azility. Azility’s easy to use portal empowers our members to track and report on: project costs, projected and actual savings, resource and emissions saved and offset, greenpower or offsets purchased, and a projects checklist, giving you a succinct summary of all the projects and initiatives your council has implemented to improve your energy performance.
Can the broader community nominate their town or city to be part of the Cities Power Partnership?

Yes. Nominations can easily be made through our website. This will allow you to email your council directly, informing them about the program.

How do I find out if a council is already a member of the Cities Power Partnership?

You can find a full list of Cities Power Partnership member councils on the homepage of our website.

Scroll down to the Our Member section and you will find both a list and a map version.

Join now and be part of the groundswell of local governments and communities across Australia tackling climate change.