Swan Hill Rural City Council will join more than 45 other Victorian councils in a bid to power local facilities with 100 per cent renewable energy.
If implemented, the move could reduce Swan Hill Rural City Council power bills by as much as 25 per cent over 10 years, and ensure power is sourced from renewables.
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) will seek tenders from energy companies to enter into a Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA) and supply the councils with renewable energy.
Council Chief Executive Officer John McLinden said power bills were on the rise for councils across the state.
“Last year, Victorian councils experienced significant price increases of 30 to 50 per cent on their energy tariffs, when compared to the previous two-year contracts,” he said.
“These increases create budget uncertainty for councils trying to plan year on year.”
Mr McLinden said that over the past year, the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance had been working with other Victorian alliances to investigate a long-term renewable energy PPA for councils, and the MAV had now come on board.
“This agreement would offer Council better prices, budget certainty over a longer period, and we would be sourcing our power from renewables – it’s a win-win,” he said.
It would be the largest renewable energy buying group in Australia, by number of organisations involved, and the largest emissions reduction project that councils have ever done together.
The tender period is expected to be in October, with tender assessment and contract negotiations to take place from November to January. Council will make a final decision on its involvement in the PPA once tenders are received.