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Even in the face of one of the world's longest COVID-19 lockdowns, Melbourne's councils are climate trailblazers, with City of Melbourne, City of Yarra and Nillumbik Shire taking out top honours in the prestigious Cities Power Partnership awards last night.

The Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership Awards recognise the work of climate heroes in local governments across the country who are transforming Australia’s energy landscape.

Awards host, ABC Fight for Planet A presenter Craig Reucassel congratulated the trifecta, noting that the winning projects shone in a competitive field.

“It’s great to see three Victorian councils continue to lead on climate solutions despite being faced with the immediate challenge of COVID-19,” Reucassel said. 

“Love the community-focused approaches to tackling climate change, delivering major emissions reductions and significant cost savings for local residents and businesses.” 

Melbourne came out on top in the Renewable Energy category for the emissions reduction impact of its Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 2. The project united a buying group of seven large energy users from across the city to collectively buy renewable energy.

City of Melbourne CEO, Justin Hanney, said he was proud to have the council’s second major bulk-buy renewables project recognised.

“The City of Melbourne is honoured to receive this award, and we would like to recognise all of the project partners involved and commend them for their leadership and commitment to climate action,” Hanney said.

"The project will reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 123,000 tonnes a year, that's the equivalent of taking more than 28,000 cars off the road every year.  

“It’s a significant step towards our goal for all of Melbourne to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.”

Nillumbik’s world-first Hybrid Solar and Battery Off-Grid Stadium and Relief Centre took home the Metropolitan Innovation Award that celebrates bold, transformative climate solutions. 

Yarra’s sustainability team took home the Climate Champion Award that celebrates the work of council staff in driving the city’s climate response. 

Vijaya Vaidyanath, chief executive officer, City of Yarra said Council is immensely proud to be the recipient of the Climate Champion Award this year.

“This award is testament to the leadership, innovation and unwavering dedication our staff have shown on climate change,” said Mr Vaidyanath.

More than double the number of local governments entered the awards this year compared to last, showing how local governments are rising to the challenges of climate change, even in the difficult circumstances of 2020, and playing a vital role in Australia’s climate solution.

The Cities Power Partnership Awards celebrated outstanding work from local governments in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport, community engagement and innovation as well as individual climate champion awards.

FULL LIST OF AWARD WINNERS

Renewable Energy Achievement Award
Winner:
City of Melbourne (VIC) - Melbourne Renewable Energy Project 2
Highly commended: City of Cockburn (WA) - Leading the way in WA

Energy Efficiency Achievement Award
Winner:
Shoalhaven City Council (NSW) - A ray of light still shines bright in the Shoalhaven

Sustainable Transport Achievement Award
Winner: Lake Macquarie Council (NSW) - EV Charging Strategy 2020-2032

Community Engagement Achievement Award
Winner:
Inner West Council (NSW) - Go Solar

Innovation Award (metropolitan)
Joint Winner:
Nillumbik Shire (VIC) - Hybrid solar and battery off-grid Community Stadium & Relief Centre
Joint Winner:
Brisbane City Council (QLD) - Brisbane Metro Charging Strategy

Innovation Award (regional)
Winner:
Sunshine Coast Council (QLD) - Blue Heart Sunshine Coast

Climate Ambassador Award (elected representative)
Winner:
Mark Greenhill, Mayor, Blue Mountains City Council (NSW)
Highly commended:
Belinda Coates, Deputy Mayor, City of Ballarat (VIC)

Climate Champion Award (council staff)
Winner:
City of Yarra (VIC) - Sustainability Team


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