The Climate Council wants North East residents to nominate their local councils to join the Cities Power Partnership.
The initiative, which requires councils to make five pledges towards renewable energy goals and report back on progress, began in 2017.
Albury was among the first councils to join and Wagga has just signed on in the second round.
While more than half of participating areas are in NSW, only seven are in Victoria, and Strathbogie Shire is the only one outside greater Melbourne.
Strathbogie was ‘buddied’ with Albury and Deputy Mayor Amanda Cohn said it gave an opportunity for Albury to bounce ideas off others.
“I’m really proud that Albury showed leadership by signing up early and I’m pleased to hear Wagga’s on board as well, the partnership is stronger the more councils are involved,” she said.
“Our pledges are to do with powering our own operations with renewable energy and be energy efficient, to support community energy projects, encourage sustainable transport use and do wider education.”
Ms Cohn said goals had already been set in the council’s energy savings action plan.
“Council has spent $6.9 million on energy saving initiatives since 2013 and that’s given us a cost saving of $2 million on energy costs … it’s a program that’s going to pay for itself,” she said.
Climate Councillor Lesley Hughes said regional councils in particular had “nothing to lose” by joining the partnership.
“It’s free and we provide resources … it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than employing expensive consultants,” she said.
“We’ve had 5000 nominations from individual people in their communities for their council to join up.
“Indigo and Wodonga are in discussions with us.”
Wodonga Council Business Services director Trevor Ierino said council “would continue to look into other initiatives and suitable programs”.
“The council has a number of initiatives in place including a Climate Change Policy and adaptation action plan, solar panels on major venues and investigations into a community solar farm,” he said.
This article first appeared in the Border Mail on 31 January 2018