Acting on the Climate Emergency
Mornington Peninsula Shire’s Climate Emergency Plan, adopted by Council in August 2020, guides the Peninsula towards zero net community carbon emissions by 2040 to restore a safe climate pathway. The plan includes interim targets of a 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, 65% by 2030 and an 80% reduction by 2035. In the first year of implementation we have commenced delivery of 70% of the 172 tasks set out in the Plan. More details on our progress can be found in our annual Climate Emergency Progress Report found here.
Achieving Carbon Neutrality
The Mornington Peninsula Shire is now certified as carbon neutral under the Climate Active Standards. This has been achieved through keeping an emissions inventory, limiting emissions and offsetting residual emissions. We have reduced our emissions by installing rooftop solar on Shire buildings, installing LED streetlights across the municipality and various energy efficient building works.
Through the adoption of the Shire’s Climate Emergency Plan, commitments have been made to further reduce residual greenhouse gas emissions. This includes a target to use 100% electricity from renewable sources by 2023 and to develop a Beyond Carbon Neutral Plan which will set out additional emissions reduction actions.
The Shire has a long-standing history of supporting the uptake of renewable energy generation. To date, 46 systems are in operation on Shire operated buildings with a capacity of 1,242.6 kW and an annual generation potential of 1,452,674 kWh. The Shire has also assisted 23 community groups install solar systems and is exploring innovative funding mechanisms to incentivise energy upgrades such as solar systems on our Shire maintained tenanted buildings.
The Shire also facilitates the delivery of the Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) program for local businesses to access low interest, long term loans to install energy efficiency upgrades. Fifteen separate upgrades have been undertaken in local businesses utilising EUF, resulting in the installation of 1, 153 kW solar PV systems and a range of energy efficiency measures. This has resulted in 41,422 tonnes CO2 saved and $6,665,723 operation savings over the lifetime of these projects.
Working with the community
Community engagement is critical to the Shire’s approach to addressing climate change. The Shire is helping our community, schools and businesses to reduce emissions through a number of initiatives, including partnering with Climate Clever to offer half price subscriptions to the app. This app allows users to calculate and track their carbon footprint, conduct an audit of their buildings/homes and create a personalised action plan to reduce consumption, costs, and carbon emissions across all utilities.
We’ve recently revised our Schools Environmental Education Program to offer hands-on learning for students from preschool to VCE. Lessons are delivered by experienced educators and are designed to engage students to learn more about biodiversity, water, energy, waste, environmentally sustainable design and climate change.
We also provide a variety of Environmental Workshops to support our community to reduce their carbon emissions, empower them to take action on climate change and adapt to a climate-altered future, including hosting climate conversations, talking to children about climate change and managing climate anxiety. We also host hands-on sustainability workshops such as composting, creating wicking beds and keeping backyard chooks at our Eco Living Display Centre. The Centre is a retrofitted house that displays a range of energy and water saving initiatives, where residents can drop in to learn how to sustainably retrofit their home, live more sustainably and receive free energy consultations.
We have partnered with the Australian Energy Foundation to offer a Solar and Energy Bulk buy to residents. Through the bulk buy residents can access trusted energy efficiency advice and buy quality renewables and energy efficiency products at discounted process from accredited suppliers.
Promoting Electric Vehicles
The Shire is leading by example when it comes to electric vehicles (EV) having made commitments to transition its own fleet to a zero-tailpipe emissions fleet. The Shire has adopted an internal Shire Fleet Policy in 2020 requiring all new vehicles to be hybrid or electric vehicles where this is fit for purpose. Six EV’s have been added to the Shire fleet and six new EV charging stations will be installed over coming months increasing the total number to 12. We are also working with the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance to develop a Regional EV charging roadmap. The Shire’s Climate Emergency Plan sets targets for all pool vehicles to have zero tail pipe emissions by 2025 and all fleet vehicles to have zero tailpipe emissions by 2030.
The Shire is working to integrate climate change across all our operations and to support the community in the transition to net zero emissions by 2040. However, we recognise that we cannot do this alone. The Shire continues to advocate strongly to State and Federal governments for strong climate change action. Recent advocacy has included advocacy to State government to reject the proposed AGL Gas Import Jetty and Pipeline Project at Crib Point on Western Port Bay and advocacy to Federal government for stronger climate change targets and actions.
Environmentally Sustainable Design
The Shire is working to include sustainability requirements into the planning scheme, covering a broad range of initiatives such as solar and energy efficiency, water efficiency and onsite water retention, health and wellbeing, waste, transport and biodiversity. The Shire has also adopted the ESD Policy for Council Buildings and Civil Works, detailing the objectives and requirements for all capital works. The scope includes new and refurbished buildings, as well as roads, infrastructure and open spaces. The Policy supports the Climate Emergency objectives, particularly Zero Carbon Energy, Sustainable Travel and Transport, Resilient and Adaptive Communities.