Zoos Victoria has become the first zoo in mainland Australia to be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy, with funding contributed from the Victorian state government.
The Victorian minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, announced that the milestone was made possible thanks to a secured power purchasing agreement (PPA) for renewable energy.
“This is a fantastic achievement by Zoos Victoria − an achievement that is helping Victoria tackle climate change and halve its emissions by 2030,” D’Ambrosio said.
“We want to see more organisations transition to renewables and we’re delivering the investment needed to support that transition.”
Healesville Sanctuary is powered by renewable energy produced by the Crowlands Wind Farm, near Ararat. Melbourne Zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo use 100 per cent GreenPower. This builds on the 675 kilowatts of on-site solar already installed at the three zoos.
This is not the first climate change milestone for Zoos Victoria, which was also named the first independently certified carbon neutral zoo in the world in 2013.
Zoos Victoria, which has more than 800 employees working with more than 5,000 animals, has reduced its greenhouse gas emissions from 14,000 tonnes to 4,000 tonnes.
“Our purpose as a zoo-based conservation organisation is to ensure a future rich in wildlife. It is our duty to combat climate change by taking accountability for our own energy consumption and embracing renewable energy,” Zoos Victoria CEO Dr Jenny Gray said.
“Everyone can take this simple step and join us in reducing carbon in the atmosphere.”
Other sustainability initiatives the zoo has brought about include diverting 89 per cent of waste from landfill in 2020-21 and recycling 100 Mega-litres of water annually, through an on-site water recycling plant.
Zoos Victoria partners with organisations to protect, revegetate and restore critical habitats in key locations across Victoria. Through the Climate Active carbon neutral program, Zoos Victoria invests carbon offsets that protect biodiversity hotspots across the world.