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Projects and initiatives

Solar panels

Find out more about the projects and sustainability initiatives we have completed or are underway. These projects are in line with our strategic objectives relating to climate change and the environment.

Renewable energy

Mount Alexander Shire Council is proud to be one of 46 Victorian Councils to join together and form VECO, the Victorian Energy Collaboration. VECO is the largest emissions reduction project ever undertaken by the local government sector in Australia.

The 46 Councils have pooled their electricity needs into one long-term contract with Red Energy which will provide the VECO group with renewable energy generated from wind farms here in Victoria. From 1 January 2022, that renewable energy will be used to power our council-owned infrastructure, like our town hall, civic centre, community venues, electric vehicle chargers and streetlights.

By using renewable energy MASC will be saving over 700 tonnes of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere. This is a great step toward achieving our goal of zero net emissions for Council operations by 2025.

The renewable energy will be provided by two wind farms in Victoria – Dundonnell wind farm near Mortlake, which started exporting power to the grid in March 2020, and Murra Warra II wind farm near Horsham, which commenced construction in September 2020 and will be fully operational by June 2022.

ZNET community transition plan

Council is now working collaboratively with the local community on a masterplan for community-wide zero-net emissions, which is expected to be developed over the 2020-2021 period. Partial funding for this program has been secured from Sustainability Victoria under the Zero Carbon Community Transition Program and Mount Alexander Shire Council. The program is being led by Renew consulting in collaboration with the community. Renew led the Hepburn Z-NET program which was developed as an open-source model and all of the developed resources are being shared for the Mount Alexander Shire program.

Online forum
Join our collaborative platform to share and comment on community climate action ideas and projects. We welcome new ideas and participants.

LED street lighting

In 2015, almost 900 street lights were upgraded from the old mercury vapour style lighting to 18 watt LEDs. The new lights are up to 75% more efficient and save 308 tCO2e each year. Prospective developers are now required to install highly efficient ‘category P’ lighting.

Council is now in the process of upgrading 286 lights to LED along the Shire's major roads, which will deliver both emissions and cost savings to Council.

Rooftop solar

Council has a strong track record of delivering solar PV on the rooftops of its facilities. There is 158kW generation capacity currently installed across 25 Council owned buildings, including the Market Building, Town Hall, Civic Centre and Library Complex.

Electric vehicle chargers

Mount Alexander Shire Council has installed two community electric vehicle charging stations - one in Harcourt and one in Castlemaine.

This initiative supports Council's commitment in working to reduce shire-wide emissions as outlined in the Climate Emergency Declaration which was adopted by Council in December 2019 at its Ordinary Council Meeting.

The power to these chargers will be 100% renewable from 1 January 2022, when Council begins its contract with the Victorian Energy Collaboration and sources renewable electricity for all Council operations.

The new community charging stations are part of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance's Charging the Regions program, which will see the installation of more than 20 electric vehicle chargers rolled out across 17 sites in Central and Western Victoria before the end of 2021.

For more detailed information regarding this project and its implementation please read Electric Vehicle Chargers - Harcourt and Castlemaine.

Environmental upgrade agreements

Through our partnership with Better Buildings Finance, Council is enabling building owners, tenants and investors to better access long term finance for environmental upgrades, including LED lighting and solar energy, to existing commercial and non-residential buildings on attractive terms.

Green team

The Green Team, which is made up of Council staff, is tasked with assisting in the integration of climate change and environmental concerns across Council operations and enabling changes to staff behaviours so that consumption of resources and energy is minimised in the workplace.

Sustainable living workshops

Since 2013 Council has been offering a series of workshops to assist community in reducing their environmental impact and adapting to climate change. More than 600 people have participated over the past five years. Council is currently examining how to improve the reach of these workshops.

Climate-ready tree planting

In 2020 Council undertook priority heat vulnerability mapping of towns within our shire to further inform implementation of an emerging streetscape plan and design standards. This included mapping for priority locations for street tree planting programs to improve the community’s resilience to increasing heat in regional Victoria.

As part of this study, the Castlemaine Institute evaluated street trees for future climate in our region. They discovered that more than one third of all public trees in Australian cities are at high risk from increased temperatures, so it’s time to re-think what we plant. This report collates potential street tree species which are likely to be less vulnerable to the impacts of climate in our region.

TAKE2 climate pledge

Council has joined almost 200 councils, businesses and community organisations to take the Victorian Government’s voluntary TAKE2 pledge to take action on climate change.

The pledge commits Council to play our part to help achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions for the state of Victoria by 2050.

TAKE2 provides tailored, easy to understand information about what individuals and organisations can do to protect the planet for generations to come. Council encourages residents, businesses and organisations in the shire to take the pledge and become part of the movement to build a cleaner, greener future. For more information and to take the pledge, visit TAKE2.

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