- 18 Council and community buildings, totaling ~135kW capacity
- Grid connect battery installed via grant at Beechworth Memorial Hall complex.
- Beechworth Transfer Station – standalone power system with battery.
Solar installations scoped: Rutherglen Council/library office, Beechworth Senior Citizens building, Beechworth Indigo Shire Council Pines building and Chiltern Athenaeum.
Energy efficient lighting upgrades
- Council (Category P) 80W Mercury Vapour Street Lights (Major Project)
- Beechworth Council Office - The Pines
- Yackandandah Senior Citizens
- Yackandandah Public Hall – Community driven project
- Beechworth Council Depot
- Yackandandah Council Depot
- Rutherglen Council Depot
Hot Water Upgrades
- Tangambalanga Swimming Pool
- Beechworth Child Care
- Beechworth Kinder
- Yackandandah Kinder
Environmental Upgrade Agreement/Finance
Passed a resolution to allow Indigo Shire businesses to access low interest loans collected via rates for environmental improvement projects. One business has applied for finance so far.
Victorian senate inquiry into tackling climate change in Victorian communities
Submission lodged in 2019. Mayor, Cr O’Connor and Deputy Mayor Cr Price represented Indigo Shire and its communities at the Inquiry roadshow - Local Government Round Table on 13 February 2020.
Council passed a Plasticwise policy in 2018. Council provided seed funding for the Dish Pig project developed by Plasticwise Yackandandah. A ‘better practice at events’ information tool has been developed to assist event organisers in reducing plastic and other wastes at events. A series of bin signage has also been developed. Currently investigating the use of the signage at Shire swimming pools to reduce contamination.
Emissions reduction target
Net zero by 2035 is the target set in the Environment Strategy 2019.
Climate Change Policy
Adopted 2016 and reviewed 2019. All reports to Council by staff must consider the policy.
Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan
2016 project to work with staff to identify service risks as a result of climate change and plan adaptation actions. Requires review.
Indigo Shire joined a collaborative local government project to offer professional, unbiased evaluations of home-owners’ patterns of electricity use, to better understand if solar panels were a good fit. Where applicable, a value for money solar solution via low interest loans was offered. All procurement was managed via the project for the customer.
Projects - In Progress/Ongoing
- Regional LG procurement feasibility study and business case. Collaborative ‘Charging the Regions’ project - focusing on EV infrastructure in the north east.
- Recommendation to Council to purchase one electric vehicle
- Council has an electric bike for staff use to cut down on vehicle trips.
Support to community energy groups
- Partnering with TRY to gain a $150,000 New Energy Jobs Fund grant for a project officer to generate a business case for a community energy retailer. This resulted in Indigo Power. In-kind support and community event hosting for the formation of Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Totally Renewable Beechworth and Totally Renewable Indigo North
- In-kind and grant application support to all community energy groups
- 2040 movie screening partnership
- Educational event co-hosting
Local Government renewables power purchase agreement
Partnering with about 40 local governments across Victoria to procure large scale renewable power from which to purchase our electricity. This is an alternative to having solar panels on all Council owned buildings and overcomes constraints re: heritage and shading. Due to commence 2021.
Constrained by grid infrastructure. Some preliminary work with Indigo Power and Council to consider leasing the former Chiltern landfill site for a community owned solar farm. No other Indigo Shire owned land parcels suitable.
Carbon Crunching Councils
Shared services agreement for an emissions data management platform. Next step is to collate data, to generate our baseline emissions profile. This will occur in 2020.
Emissions reduction plan
$20,000 allocated to work with a consultant to generate an emissions reduction plan later in 2020.
Community Facilities Energy Upgrade Grant
$20,00 per year grant pool for energy efficiency upgrades (including solar) on community buildings. Commenced in 2019.
National Tree Planting Day
Approximately 4,000 trees are ordered annually for National Tree Planting Day. Landcare groups and schools across the shire will participate in the event in July.
Projects - Planned/funded to commence in future
Emissions reduction plan
The Request for Quotation for appointing a consultant to develop an emissions profile for ISC (corporate emissions) and supporting action plan has been completed and will be distributed in 2020.
Tree planting on unused Council land for carbon offsets
This has not been specifically investigated yet, but for a similar project an analysis of all Council owned blocks of land for biodiversity offsets has been completed.
Projects - Not yet investigated
Selling Buller Gas
Council owns the Buller Gas operation – it could be sold to fund the Environment Strategy Action Plan or Climate emergency action plan (to be developed). No detailed work on this option has been undertaken since the declaration. Buller Gas is a very profitable asset for ISC, generating a profit of $500,000 per year. Council has a lease for a further 36 years.
A rate-cap variation to fund environmental initiatives
Applying for such a variation involves several steps, including consultation with the community about whether they will accept paying more rates to fund these actions.