Climate, emissions, energy and environment

Climate and energy

Grampians New Energy Taskforce

The Grampians New Energy Taskforce (GNET) has been formed to represent, lead and advocate for the development of a net zero carbon economy in the Grampians region. GNET is working with communities, the renewables industry and the government to maximise the long-term benefits of this investment to the Grampians region and its people.

Grampians Region Climate Adaption

Adapt Grampians is a regional hub for information sharing, learning and inspiration to ensure we adjust and thrive in a changing climate. 

Climate change impacts are already being felt across the region and there are many reasons to think strategically about adapting as our landscape and communities are affected by those changes in far-reaching ways. 

Adaptation is about developing strategies to ensure that life in this region remains good, even as the climate changes. Adaptation means working innovatively to look after our communities and the regional environment without taking actions that would exacerbate climate change.

The draft Grampians Regional Climate Adaptation Strategy has been developed by Adapt Grampians and representatives from state government, local government, the water sector, business groups, farming, universities, conservation and sustainability, with support from the Victorian Government. 

Renewable energy

Renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, is a growing industry in the region, which has ample land and long periods of sunlight.

The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) Integrated System Plan (ISP) identified six Victorian Renewable Energy Zones (REZs). These are regions with the highest potential for renewable energy development.

The Victorian Government will develop a Renewable Energy Zone Development Plan to identify the necessary upgrades to our electricity grid. This will enable Victoria to harness the enormous solar, wind and hydro resources in these regions to provide clean, reliable and affordable energy while delivering jobs and investment for our regions.

WDA prepared a submission to fast track the opportunity for further renewable energy investment in the region. The two new condensers proposed for our region would be of enormous benefit to the whole region and would immediately enable more wind farms to be established. 

WDA submission to the Victorian Renewable Energy Zones Development Plan Directions Paper, 2021 (169kb PDF)

Strengthening Western Victoria's electricity grid

This project will unlock Western Victoria’s potential to become the renewable energy powerhouse of Victoria as the state moves from coal-generated electricity to sustainable green power in coming years.

  • Currently, much of the sustainable and clean wind and solar energy being produced out of western Victoria cannot get to the electricity grid because there isn’t enough capacity in the existing network.
  • There are wind turbines in Western Victoria generating clean power that goes nowhere. Investment in new wind and solar farms is being put on hold – stifling economic opportunity for the region and the state’s ability to provide reliable and affordable energy. This project will fix that.
  • It will also create jobs during and after construction, and deliver flow-on economic benefits to the region.

Pathways to net zero for agriculture 

WDA is working with local agencies to support Wimmera Southern Mallee farmers to implement a zero emissions approach in their businesses. Agencies are working directly with local farming communities to tackle these issues using different but complementary approaches.

Wimmera Broadacre Farming Net Zero Emissions Project

The Wimmera Broadacre Farming Net Zero Emissions Project aims to increase farm productivity, profitability and protection of natural resources. The project aims to increase the sustainability of broadacre farms in the region by demonstrating the value proposition of low emissions farming practices through on-farm application at the Longerenong College farm and two other operating farms. It will demonstrate the use of carbon-emissions calculators to quantify the value of on-farm carbon abatement strategies and carbon accounting models to quantify emissions for specific practices and activities at the individual farm level.

Federation University Australia is leading the project in partnership with WDA, Longerenong College and local Landcare groups with funding from the Commonwealth Smart Farms Small Grants.

Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions Grampians Agriculture Project (R2ZGAP)

The Grampians region has set an ambitious target of achieving zero emissions by 2050. As the backbone of the Grampians region’s economy, agriculture is the largest source of carbon emissions, but with significant potential to increase carbon drawdown and reduce emissions. We need to better understand the gap between the existing tools and on-farm implementation, and to develop a better approach in consultation with farm managers. Early and effective action in agriculture to reduce emissions is especially important because early movers will be better placed to capitalise on market opportunities arising from the transition to net zero emissions and changing government policy.  

The Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions Grampians Agriculture Project (R2ZGAP) will work with farm managers to improve the adoption of carbon calculators to improve environmental and financial decisions and access to secondary carbon markets. This will enable the agriculture industry to be more responsive to zero emissions requirements and changing government policy and result in better management of soils and native vegetation.

Drought 

The Victorian Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub or Drought Hub aims to help farmers, agricultural businesses and communities become more resilient to the impacts of future droughts. The University of Melbourne is leading the hub; Birchip Cropping Group will lead the North West regional node.

In 2019, the WDA responded to the draft Australian Government Future Drought Funding Plan 2020 to 2024. The program aims to help farmers and communities become more prepared for, and resilient to, the impacts of drought.

2019 WDA response to the Drought Resilience Funding Plan 2020 to 2024 (760kb PDF)

Biodiversity

The Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (CMA) works in partnership with the community, stakeholders, and partners to deliver a range of services to improve and enhance the condition of the region’s environment. 

The CMA's Biodiversity Plan 2037 - Protecting Victoria's Environment, 2017 ( 5Mb PDF) aims to stop the decline of our biodiversity and achieve overall biodiversity improvement during the next 20 years.

The CMA's Wimmera Landcare and Community Participation Plan, 2019 ( 1Mb PDF) aims to engage Landcare and the community in regional-scale natural resource management and the design and delivery of projects that acknowledge local conditions and align regional community priorities with Australian and Victorian
Government priorities.

Water 

GWMWater supplies water services to about 72,000 people living either on farms or in one of 71 urban centres across western Victoria.

A bulk water supply is available to rural customers, typically for intensive agricultural activities such as poultry farms, piggeries and commercial feedlots.  

The Wimmera-Mallee Pipeline is the largest water infrastructure project in Australia, replacing 18,000 kilometres of inefficient earthen channel with 9159 kilometres of pressurised pipeline and associated structures. The original pipeline was completed in 2010 and has since been extended. The East Grampians Rural Pipeline is being rolled out to rural customers in parts of the Northern Grampians Shire during 2021.

Lakes and reservoirs across the Wimmera Southern Mallee are popular recreation areas for fishing, boating, water skiing, swimming, canoeing and other activities such as camping or picnics.

Local weirs, lakes and rivers make an important economic and social contribution to the regional economy. Wimmera Development Association, GWMWater, the Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and local councils have assessed this value each year from 2016 to 2020. The project estimated that the 27 lakes, weir pools and rivers around the region contributed $28.5 million to the local economy in 2019-20.

See the Wimmera Southern Mallee Socio-Economic Value of Recreational and Environmental Water reports.