COMMITTEE FOR BALLARAT AND BEYOND ZERO EMISSIONS
Established in 2005, the Committee for Ballarat (C4B) investigates and advocates for outcomes that will advance its vision for a thriving and vibrant regional community, recognised for its liveability, sustainability, and inclusiveness. Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) is an internationally recognised climate change and energy think tank that shows through independent research and innovative solutions how Australia can prosper in a zero-emissions economy. BZE was supporting Committee for Ballarat to gain a better understanding of the types of projects and financial models that will attract financial investment. BZE has been working with communities, through their Zero Carbon Communities (ZCC) initiative, and their ZCC Investment Reference Group, to unlock barriers to place based zero emissions projects.
This NAB Community Strategy Challenge brought the two organisations together to meet complementary aims. BZE goals from the NAB Community Strategy Challenge were to investigate a replicable and scalable funding model for other regional areas to use when moving to renewable energy. The Committee’s goals from the NAB Community Strategy Challenge were to understand how to reduce industrial emissions with a broader goal to reach zero emissions for the region.
In order to determine what steps Ballarat’s industrial community could follow to transition to renewable electricity, and how this model could be replicated, the Challenge followed a three-step process. Over the course of the Challenge, participants from NAB, C4B, BZE and ABV explored Ballarat’s electricity opportunities and challenges as well as current emissions, usage, and costs. This led to the definition of key goals and the identification of potential solutions. Due to the technical complexity of the issue and the short timeframes for analysis, a key recommendation for C4B was to apply for feasibility funding, as future actions would require engagement of experts to inform the decisions and plan implementation.
The sheer complexity of Australia’s energy sector, combined with the short timeframe did not appear to detract from the opportunities for learning and development of other knowledge and skills required to deliver positive outcomes.
Feedback from BZE included the following comment, which best summarises the challenges and positive outcomes. ‘The NAB team did amazingly well in getting their heads around many complex problems and confidently presented what they determined as relevant, yet broad solutions. The project was ultimately very successful in encouraging the Committee for Ballarat to undertake work that they would not have otherwise started or known how to. They are far ahead than they were prior to the program, and it has brought their membership closer together. BZE has been fortunate to first-hand observe this multi-stakeholder approach and assess its effectiveness.’
The Committee for Ballarat also acknowledged the ‘great opportunity to engage diverse thought, skills and knowledge, with objectivity and critique’.
Post-challenge feedback included acknowledgement and gratitude for ABV Program Director, Naomi Toole’s professionalism, facilitation skills, enthusiasm, motivation, and organisation.
As with previous challenges, participating NAB staff were grateful for the opportunity.
I learnt a huge amount about an area of interest to me that sits well outside my day job. I found this a stimulating and rewarding opportunity.
There is a great sense of gratitude from the immersion sponsor for the value they received, but it goes just as much the other way, and it is a privilege to receive the benefit of their knowledge and experience to explore their topic.
The experience exceeded my expectations – I gained skills that are applicable to my current role at NAB, but also learned a huge amount about renewable energy plus the way that businesses outside of NAB work.