US Republican renewables visionary set to inspire Australia

R Rex Parris, mayor of Lancaster, aka the ‘solar capital of the universe’. Photo City of Lancaster

The Republican mayor who transformed his struggling Californian city into the ‘solar capital of the universe’ has just been confirmed to visit Australia to inspire local councils to join the global renewable energy revolution.

Mayor R. Rex Parris of Lancaster will headline the inaugural Cities Power Partnership Summit, Australia’s first national climate change summit focused on local government and grassroots solutions.

As Australia’s towns and cities increasingly take the lead in tackling climate change, Mayor Parris hopes to inspire council leaders to accelerate their community’s shift to renewable energy.

‘The issues of climate change and sustainability must be solved at the municipal level, and the City of Lancaster has proven it can be done,’ he said.

‘Over the last decade, since I was elected in 2008, Lancaster has launched its own energy utility, offering a number of renewable energy options, created a Zero Net Energy ordinance for all new homes built here, purchased 18,000 streetlights and converted them to far more efficient LEDs and will soon be home to the nation’s first fully electric bus fleet,’ Mayor Parris continued.

‘We have taken monumental steps forward in making Lancaster more sustainable, and we hope to show other municipalities that this is replicable in their own communities.’

Mayor Parris, a leader in California’s astonishing solar boom, is credited with developing a renewable energy policy that sees the blue-collar City of Lancaster producing more solar power per capita than any other city in California, with the goal of producing more renewable energy than it uses.

The Mayor will headline a lineup of climate and renewable energy experts, industry and political leaders from around Australia, at the Cities Power Partnership National Summit, taking place 18-19 October in Kiama, New South Wales.

The event will draw together councils, community energy groups, climate and energy experts, academics and industry to focus on climate change mitigation at the grassroots level through renewable energy, sustainable transport, energy efficiency and other climate solutions.

Alix Pearce, Cities Power Partnership Director, says that the Summit will be an exciting national moment, bringing together the best minds from around Australia to work on climate solutions at the local level.

‘We want to empower councils and communities to take positive action to slam the brakes on climate change. At the Summit we’ll be hearing from Cities Power Partnership councils who are developing some truly groundbreaking projects in renewable energy, efficiency and transport.’

‘A lot of discussion at the local government level focuses on how councils can help their communities adapt to the effects of climate change. While that’s very important, we also want to ramp up councils to reduce their community’s climate impact and become part of Australia’s climate solution.’


Tickets for the Cities Power Partnership Summit can be booked at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Become a supporter of The Echo

A note from the editorial team

Some of The Echo’s editorial team: journalists Paul Bibby and Aslan Shand, editor Hans Lovejoy, photographer Jeff Dawson and Mandy Nolan

The Echo has never underestimated the intelligence and passion of its readers. In a world of corporate banality and predictability, The Echo has worked hard for more than 30 years to help keep Byron and the north coast unique with quality local journalism and creative ideas. We think this area needs more voices, reasoned analysis and ideas than just those provided by News Corp, lifestyle mags, Facebook groups and corporate newsletters.

The Echo is one hundred per cent locally owned and one hundred per cent independent. As you have probably gathered from what is happening in the media industry, it is not cheap to produce a weekly newspaper and a daily online news service of any quality.

We have always relied entirely on advertising to fund our operations, but often loyal readers who value our local, independent journalism have asked how they could help ensure our survival.

Any support you can provide to The Echo will make an enormous difference. You can make a one-off contribution or a monthly one. With your help, we can continue to support a better informed local community and a healthier democracy for another 30 years.”

Echonetdaily is made possible by the support of all of our advertisers and is brought to you by this week's sponsors Vast Furniture & Homewares Ballina and Falls Festival Byron Bay.