Wellington Shire Council in Gippsland, Australia, has demonstrated its commitment to renewable energy by appointing Kirsten Power as its new Business Facilitation and Leveraging Officer. Power’s role is to ensure that businesses in the region are well-positioned to benefit from the planned $40 billion investment in renewable energy. The council’s focus on renewable energy investment and transition was prompted by the community’s identification of climate change as its top priority in 2021.
The council’s approach to new energy considers various factors, including transmission infrastructure, economic and community benefits, community engagement, local construction and jobs, training and skills, regional collaboration, and information sharing across government. While acknowledging that there are diverse views on the impacts of renewable energy within the community, the council is working closely with businesses and the government to ensure that the planned investment in Gippsland brings significant benefits to the Wellington communities.
The council is advocating to the state government for well-planned and coordinated transmission outcomes, with a preference for underground transmission to minimize the impact on landowners. However, the council acknowledges that the responsibility for responsible transmission infrastructure lies with the state government. The council also supports the economic potential of renewable energy investment and advocates for employment and supply-chain inclusion for businesses across the shire.
Wellington Shire Council actively supports investment from businesses that align with its focus on renewable industries. This includes companies like Elecsome in Kilmany, which is building Australia’s first solar panel upcycling service, and H2X, which is establishing a plant to convert traditional fossil fuel-based vehicles to hydrogen power. The council also recognizes the role of local ports at Barry Beach and Port Anthony in supporting the construction, operation, and maintenance phases of new energy transition projects in Gippsland.
To fully capitalize on the shire’s role in the new energy transition, the council emphasizes the importance of training and education opportunities based in Wellington. It aims to collaborate with other local government authorities and the state government to support advocacy priorities. The council also encourages effective engagement between state and federal government bodies, renewable energy proponents, the Wellington Shire community, and Traditional Owners to ensure that they are well-informed about final project proposals and investment decisions.
The council strongly encourages community consultation throughout the planning and implementation process of energy transition, particularly within communities directly affected by transitioning industries. It also invites businesses of all sizes to consider their role in the energy transition and to contact Kirsten Power to express their interest.
For more information about Wellington Shire Council’s key priorities and its commitment to renewable energy, visit their website at www.wellington.vic.gov.
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