Bendigo can be a national leader in the changing world of energy production, green-conscious City if Greater Bendigo councillor Keith Reynard said this week.
Cr Reynard, also the chairman of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, said energy production would change significantly in the future and Bendigo was in a good place to embrace it.
He said it was simply a case of more support from business, organisations and the community.
“I would like to see Bendigo as a leader and an example of what can be done when we all embrace the need to change together,” he said.
“Broadly, we still see that our energy system is someone else’s responsibility and as long as the lights come on it is OK.”
With the carbon tax becoming law in July, Cr Reynard said it would provide opportunities for Central Victoria, with up to $10 billion available for renewable energy programs
“Central Victoria is in a good position to take advantage of these funds.”
Cr Reynard’s comments came after a Community Power conference held at The Capital earlier this week
This follows a number of recent council green initiatives, such as replacing its 7411 street lights with lower energy bulbs.
Council also unanimously supported a plan to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2020.
Council has been proactive in the past with cutting emissions.
Late in 2006, it announced a plan to cut carbon emissions by 20 per cent by 2010. That target ultimately failed.
Cr Reynard said council didn’t recognise the urgency of the issue at the time, and that this is something many businesses are guilty of today.
“I believe there are many local businesses who have little understanding of their energy use, despite a number of community- based energy efficiency programs and greater availability of information,”
Cr Reynard said.
“A recent REMPLAN study has determined that it is quite feasible for most businesses to reduce their energy costs by 30 per cent through greater energy efficiency measures.”
Cr Reynard said a confirmed carbon price had triggered more businesses and organisations to take energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies more seriously, resulting in an increase in new local jobs and opportunities in emerging green industries.
He said it was an exciting time for the council as it began searching for ways to reach its 2020 goal.
“We are at the point where we can investigate options around solar on rooftops, co-generation, waste-to-energy, improved building heating and cooling systems,” Cr Reynard said.
“When you also realise that the economic viability of our business community is essentially underpinned by two major resources – that is security of water supply and the security of energy supply – you begin to realise how urgent it is to plan and prepare for the energy systems that will take us into the future.
“The need to act decisively to plan and prepare for a whole-of-Bendigo future energy plan is becoming more and more urgent.
“I urge business and manufacturing industries to become actively involved in driving this.”