The Cities Power Partnership 2020 Climate Awards recognises the outstanding council-led initiatives all over Australia and celebrates the exceptional achievements of member councils striving to lower greenhouse gas emissions and embrace clean energy and transport. Watch this year’s award ceremony here.
The City of Melbourne’s Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 2 united a buying group of seven large energy users to collectively buy renewable energy. The deal is enabled 14 shopping centres, 9 office buildings, 7 educational campuses, and 4 manufacturing facilities to be powered by 100% renewable energy. The project will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 123,000 tonnes a year, that’s the equivalent of taking more than 28,000 cars off the road every year.
The City of Cockburn has the largest inventory of renewable energy systems of any local government in WA. This year, Cockburn exceeded its 2020 target to generate 20% of its electricity from its own renewable energy and committed to 100% by 2030.
Shoalhaven took top honours for its ‘A ray of light still shines bright in the Shoalhaven’ project that includes a range of clean energy initiatives with a focus on energy efficiency. Some of the projects include replacing 4,200 street lights with energy saving LEDs. They have also begun implementing a Sustainable Energy Strategy that will drive emissions reductions across Council operations. A key element of this strategy is a revolving energy fund that is enabling council to re-invest the money it saves through clean energy initiatives into further sustainability measures.
Lake Macquarie took top honours for its Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Strategy, a council-led initiative to see more electric vehicles on the road. The aim of the Lake Mac EV Charging Strategy is to set long-term vision and principles to ensure the city’s investment in electric vehicle chargers aligns with regional and national investments. The strategy is supported by a three-year action plan where Council will lead the way in establishing several publicly accessible chargers across the city, providing the catalyst for others to install more chargers around Lake Macquarie.
Inner West Council’s Go Solar, a series of council-led community engagement initiatives, is this years Community Engagement award winner for its work increasing solar in the community by 11 per cent in the year from 2018-9 to 2019-20. As a densely populated metropolitan area, a major barrier to entry in solar is that 40% of residents rent, and 44% live in apartments. Council sought to research new solar models to reach these neglected communities and break down barriers to help renters and apartment dwellers install solar.
Nillumbik Shire and Brisbane City Council
Nillumbik’s world-first Hybrid Solar and Battery Off-Grid Stadium and Relief Centre is a facility renovated to operate as an emergency shelter. The Stadium plays a critical role as an Emergency Relief Centre and for the community vulnerable to power outages during heatwaves, flooding and bushfires. Council has installed 100 kilowatts of solar PV and a 100 kilowatt hour battery system that can provide off-grid power for up to eight hours during emergencies, including bushfires, floods and heatwaves. In normal times, the system is helping to cut emissions and costs by reducing grid-sourced electricity by 80 per cent.
Brisbane City Council took out the Metropolitan Innovation Project of the Year Award for its Metro Charging Strategy. The strategy will see the city roll out an Australian-first metro service with 60 new electric buses at the forefront of EV technology. The electric bus charging system is one of the most significant developments in the EV industry worldwide. Its on-board batteries can be charged in 4-6 minutes.
Blue Heart Sunshine Coast, a joint conservation project pioneered by Sunshine Coast Council, the Queensland Government and Unitywater, was named Regional Innovation Project of the Year for its work to protect more than 5,000 hectares of former sugarcane agricultural land on a coastal floodplain. The first-of-its-kind initiative aimed to restore the farmland and expand wetland reserves to store carbon dioxide in the soil, enhance the Maroochy River water quality and provide more recreational opportunities for locals and tourists to enjoy.
Mayor Greenhill regularly contributes to the climate debate locally and nationally. He consistently makes public statements to inform the community, stimulate media coverage and to lobby other levels of government.
Belinda Coates has gained a significant local profile over the last 15 years and is known for her climate campaigning and advocacy work. In addition to this, she has continually advocated for Council to apply a climate lens to all policies and strategies.
The City of Yarra’s Sustainability Team prioritises learning from and supporting other local governments action, which they believe is fundamental to addressing the climate emergency.