City of Melbourne

CASE STUDY: Stakeholder engagement and media relations for City of Melbourne.

Ellis Jones  •  Thursday June 12, 2014
Commercial  •  Energy & environment
Case study - City of Melboure - Solar


The City of Melbourne has a commitment to support the expansion of renewable energy supply to meet a greater proportion of the electricity needs of the municipality. The City has a target to obtain 25 per cent of the municipality’s electricity from renewable sources by 2018 . It is also working with a major distributor on the future of the grid, including the integration of renewable energy.


As part of its renewable energy commitment, the City has launched ‘Solar Melbourne’, an initiative to catalyse local commerce and industry transition to solar power. The challenge for community engagement was to:

  • Raise awareness of the economic benefits of solar and the support council offers businesses in terms of assessments, finance and guidance; and
  • Change business and property owner behaviour, getting a wave of solar projects of the ground

Communication had to overcome ‘green message fatigue’. It also needed to connect the project partners, City of Melbourne, VECCI and Sustainable Melbourne Fund, in a compelling offer to target audiences.


Ellis Jones was commissioned to develop an engagement strategy to influence target audiences, generate media coverage, and support internal City of Melbourne advocacy for the project. The first of a series of discovery sessions was held at Polivac International, a local business that installed solar in 2013. City of Melbourne councillor, Arron Wood, VECCI and Sustainable Melbourne Fund (SMF) attended the session to help business see the ease of installing solar. Leveraging our suburban and environment media campaign editorial was prepared and journalists approached. 


From businesses in the precinct in Kensington, more than 37 people from 13 different organisations attended the discovery session. Following the session, there was 5 unprompted calls to SMF enquiring about funding options available for solar. In addition, Ellis Jones has facilitated one large scale partnership to place solar on two industrial buildings in West Melbourne. The story received coverage in trade publications and media relations is still ongoing to reach the maximum audience possible. Importantly, the project has kicked of the Solar Melbourne initiative with grass roots momentum, driving interest in future discovery sessions.


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