Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) has joined forces with reputable Melbourne organisations to support the development of a wind farm, of which construction is now underway, near Ararat in regional Victoria.

MCEC’s involvement in this Australian first project will enable the venue to purchase renewable energy certificates equivalent to the projected electricity consumption for their current 20,000 square metre expansion project.

MCEC’s Chief Operating Officer, Leighton Wood said the venue was inspired to become involved in this project because it recognised the positive difference it would make, for both the venue and wider community.

“As an important public asset, it is our duty to improve our environmental impact and live up to the sustainability expectations of our stakeholders – our customers, our employees, our Club Melbourne Ambassadors, and our local community.

“Our venue is growing by 25 per cent, with the project giving us the ability to offset our expanded building with renewable energy certificates,” Mr Wood said.

City of Melbourne Acting Lord Mayor, Arron Wood said the Melbourne Renewable Energy Project has united 14 leading universities, cultural institutions, corporations and Councils to source energy from the new 80 MW wind farm.

“We’re sending a message that we’re committed to jobs and investment in regional Australia as well as long-term energy security for Melbourne.

“We expect that more than 140 jobs could be created in the construction phase, with around eight ongoing jobs in the operation and management of the facility.

“This power purchasing project will be an Australian first. It shows that large organisations can combine their purchasing power to support the development of new renewable energy plants in regional Australia,” the Acting Lord Mayor said.

The Melbourne Renewable Energy Project group is led by the City of Melbourne and includes MCEC, the University of Melbourne, RMIT, Federation Square, City of Port Phillip, City of Yarra, Moreland City Council, Bank Australia, Zoos Victoria, Citywide, National Australia Bank, Australia Post and NEXTDC.

The planned wind farm will be owned and operated by Pacific Hydro and the facility will include 39 wind turbines and will deliver a boost to the local economy with construction jobs and opportunities for local businesses, suppliers, and contractors.

Together, the group plans to purchase 88 GWh of energy, which is the equivalent to powering more than 17,000 households in Melbourne for a year.