Council takes centre stage at New Energy Conference

Wellington Shire Council Mayor Ian Bye with Senator Jess Walsh. Photos: Wellington Shire Council

WELLINGTON Shire Council is celebrating the success of the second Gippsland New Energy Conference, held on Wednesday, August 30 to Saturday, September 2 at The Wedge Performing Arts Centre in Sale.

Following 12 months of strong commitment to renewable energy, council hosted the highly anticipated 2023 event.

The conference brought together more than 1000 people, including students, experts, community leaders, and government representatives to discuss the future of clean energy.

Wellington Shire Deputy Mayor, John Tatterson, welcomed more than 500 attendees, and paid tribute to the event sponsors, organisers, and guests. Those in attendance included Labor Senator Jess Walsh, Federal Member for Gippsland, Darren Chester and Victoria’s Minister for Water, Regional Development and Equality, and Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing.

Wellington Shire Council Deputy Mayor John Tatterson, addressing attendees on day one of the conference.

Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Chris Bowen, addressed the audience via video link on day one, acknowledging Gippsland’s commitment to recognising its renewable energy priorities. Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Climate Action, Energy and Resources, and the State Electricity Commission, did likewise on day two, discussing state government priorities.

The conference provided a platform for guests to explore practical opportunities for Gippsland’s transition to clean and renewable energy, and new energy technology.

Wellington Shire Mayor, Ian Bye said advancements in renewable energy, including onshore and offshore wind, solar panel recycling, and converting waste into clean energy through hydrogen, had been rapid.

“Wellington Shire Council’s commitment to renewable energy aligns with our community’s call for action against climate change. We have abundant natural resources like wind, sun, and water providing incredible opportunities,” he said.

On day two of the Gippsland New Energy Conference, Josh Clydesdale, council’s major projects and principal strategic planner, took centre stage to present the recent Wellington renewable energy impact and readiness study.

Experts, community leaders, students and government representatives came to Sale to discuss the future of clean energy.

The study assesses planned renewable energy investment in Wellington Shire and broader Gippsland, and considers workforce needs, supply chain, infrastructure requirements, and land use implications for areas like Yarram that are expecting big growth.

Cr Bye highlighted the importance of planned renewable energy investments, not just for Wellington Shire but also at state and national levels, calling for a coordinated government response led by the National Net Zero Authority.

“The Wellington Renewable Energy Impact and Readiness Study was a key conversation starter throughout the conference, encouraging discussions about how local government can influence transition through advocacy, partnerships, local planning, economic development, and community support,” he said.

“The study is helping us prepare for a successful transition to renewable energy, maximising the benefits of over $40 billion in planned projects.

“Our commitment to our renewable energy priorities remains strong, and we are determined to provide our community with the tools and information needed to be active participants in this exciting journey towards a sustainable future.”