WELLINGTON Shire Council has backed its commitment to Wellington and Gippsland’s renewable and new energy transition by adding a specialist to its business team.
The council has announced Kirsten Power as its new Business Facilitation and Leveraging Officer, who aims to ensure that businesses are well-placed to get the most out of the $40 billion in planned renewable energy investment across the region.
This new position is part of a coordinated plan responding to new energy, and considers transmission infrastructure, economic and community benefits, community engagement, local construction and jobs, training and skills, regional collaboration, and information sharing across government.
In 2021, the Wellington community identified climate change as their number one council plan priority, resulting in the council supporting renewable energy investment and transition. While supportive, the council acknowledges that there are diverse views about the impacts of renewable energy throughout the local community and is working closely with businesses and government to ensure planned renewable investment in Gippsland provides big legacy benefits to Wellington communities.
Council continues to advocate to the state government via VicGrid, for well-planned and coordinated transmission outcomes. Council’s position supports community sentiment that underground is preferable, and above-ground or a mixture of both may be accepted when necessary. This will avoid a “spaghetti effect” of transmission and minimise impact on landowners, while also acknowledging that the responsibility for ensuring responsible transmission infrastructure remains with the state government and not the council.
Council seeks to ensure the economic potential of renewable energy investment and continues to advocate for employment and supply-chain inclusion for businesses across the shire.
Wellington Shire Council actively backs investment from businesses that align with its focus on renewable industries. These include already established companies such as 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 supports the role of local ports at Barry Beach and Port Anthony for the construction, operation and maintenance phases of new energy transition projects in Gippsland.
To take advantage of the shire’s role in the new energy transition, the council believes that Wellington-based training and education opportunities are vital. It will collaborate regionally with other local government authorities and the state government to support advocacy priorities.
Council will also encourage state and federal government bodies, along with renewable energy proponents, to engage effectively with the Wellington Shire community and Traditional Owners to inform them about final project proposals and investment decisions.
Community consultation is strongly encouraged during the planning and implementation process for energy transition, especially within communities directly affected by transitioning industries.
Businesses of all sizes are encouraged to think about the role that they could play in energy transition, and to contact Kirsten Power at email@example.com to show their interest.
More detail about Council’s key priorities can be found at www.wellington.vic.gov.au/renewableplanning.