The Winton Solar Farm has launched its annual Community Grants Program with up to $20,000 available for local community groups. Please see further information below from Winton Solar Farm Project Manager, Zach Tariq.
"As part of our commitment to make a positive contribution to the region, FRV have established the Winton Solar Farm Community Grants Program. Grants will support local initiatives and projects that benefit the community in the key areas of:
Up to $20,000 funding is available for eligible local organisations.
Applications are now open and close Friday 9th October. For further information and a copy of the Application Form, please visit the Community Page of our website.
FRV is proud to be able to make this positive contribution to the local community. I look forward to sharing the outcomes of this year’s Grants Program with you later this year.
The Local Power Plan - a blueprint to reboot the economy of regional Australia with locally-owned community energy
On Wednesday 23 September Helen Haines MP, Independent Federal Member for Indi, launched the Local Power Plan – a blueprint to reboot the economy of regional Australia with locally-owned community energy.
"The Local Power Plan is the culmination of a six-month community co-design process. We invited Australians from all backgrounds to have a say in the role of renewables in regional Australia.
And the message we heard was clear: people are excited about the potential of renewables to bring new jobs and opportunities, and of course, clean and cheap power. But we need a way to ensure that everyday people can benefit from the boom that is already happening.
This is where the Local Power Plan comes in.
Our plan proposes the creation of a new Australian Local Power Agency to deliver three innovative schemes:
In Australia, we are facing some of our toughest economic conditions ever. The time is right to make transformational investments in Australia, and especially in regional Australia.
By bringing cheap, clean power to the regions, spurring a new wave of local employment, and creating new sources of income that will last for decades, the Local Power Plan is one opportunity to reboot our regional economy with community energy."
The Webinar of the launch was most informative, with speakers from community power advocates from Mansfield, Euroa, .... in Indi; from ..... and with ....a most inspiring presentation by the person chosen to launch the plan, ....... who wrote ....... .
To turn the plan into reality, work needs to be done by those sharing the vision of a generation of prosperity fuelled by cheap, clean, local power, to get the Government to commit $483 million over 10 years. What can be done? While we don't need to contact our Federal MP to support the Local Power Plan, as Helen Haines has inspired and working actively to support it; however we could continue to work with our local council about supporting local renewables projects and get involved with Renewable Energy Benalla, Indigo Power and more.
REB members Kevin Smith, Adrian Howden, Larissa Montgomery, John Lloyd, Frank Dunin and BSFG secretary Peter Maddock met at Rustik, 'between lockdowns', on July 15, 2020.
"Renewable Energy Benalla (REB) was one of the first Zero Carbon Communities supported by Beyond Zero Emissions. This partnership led to the development of a Stationary Energy Transition strategy designed to reduce energy demand, replace with local renewables, and switch to large scale renewables. A few years on local champions led by John Lloyd from the Benalla Sustainable Futures Group and Larissa Montgomery from the Benalla City Council have been working on a wide range of energy projects.
REB was established as an action group of the Benalla Sustainable Future Group in 2016 from self-nominated interested members of the community. Our Vision is for Benalla to become a zero net energy town by reducing and balancing energy demand with 100% renewable energy supply.
REB works in collaboration with the community and relevant organisations to achieve the following objectives:
We are excited about the opportunities for our region and keen to learn from and share skills with other communities with a similar vision. Collaborating with Zero Carbon Communities network and close connections with other community energy and sustainability groups in the region has really helped move things forward.
Please get in touch if you would like to find out more:
Renewable Energy Benalla website
From Beyond Zero Emissions' June Newsletter 2020
Renewable Energy Benalla produces a number of publications which it is keen to disseminate to community members. REB would be most grateful if you could share news of these publications in your networks.
If you would like a copy of one or more of these pamphlets, or are able to disseminate printed copies, please contact Renewable Energy Benalla Member and Benalla Rural City Council's Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Larissa Montgomery on 5760 2614 or Larissa.Montgomery@benalla.vic.gov.au
Could a Solar Garden project be a good future project for REB?
Solar Garden schemes give investors a credit for the value of electricity produced by their patch of the solar garden. The amount credited to each “solar gardener” is determined by the size of their “plot” and the arrangements made with the participating retailer.
The concept is considered a particularly good fit with renters, in that the electricity credits generated by a ‘virtual plot’ of solar panels moves with its owner, if they move house, as long they remain with a participating retailer.
Find out more/Source: Sophie Vorrath, 'Australia's biggest "solar garden" seeks to power 300 homes in NSW Riverina' One Step Off the Grid, April 24, 2020
Hello to friends of Renewable Energy Benalla,
I have previously sent you information about Indigo Power, our local community energy provider.
Some of you may have watched one of the webinars about the launch of Community Energy Hubs and Indigo Power a couple of weeks ago.
If you would like to watch the video of the webinar you can do that here.
Indigo Power is asking people to compare their rates with their current energy retailer. I did that and I was agreeably surprised to find that Indigo Power rates were very competitive.
I have attached a brochure about Indigo Power and the Benalla Community Hub and have copied below further information about joining Indigo Power.
Join the Benalla Community Energy Hub
Electricity generation is the largest driver of climate change and bills take over $160 million out of our region each year. Together we can change that.
We employ local people and will invest half of any profits in renewable energy projects in our communities.
So every time you pay your bill, you’ll be making a difference.
As a customer, you’ll be connected to your community energy hub where you can keep track of the energy generated and shared between you and your neighbours. We’re also building local clean energy generation and storage for extra supply.
Find out more at indigopower.com.au
firstname.lastname@example.org or 1800 491 739
Retail energy provided by Indigo Power Services. Indigo Power Services is a trading name of Energy Locals Pty Ltd, ABN 23606408879, a licensed energy retailer.
With meetings at the Benalla Rural City offices cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations, there will be no minutes for March/April. However the following report covers developments since the last minutes.
Virtual tour of Energy Efficient House
Adrian Howden’s son has worked on developing a 'virtual tour' of an energy efficient house.
The basic app is set up and he is now waiting to use material from the presentations last year to develop a 'walk through' highlighting problems and solutions.
John Lloyd has forwarded to Adrian the power point presentations on 'Draught Proofing & Insulation' and 'Lighting & Windows’ that were presented during the 2019 Energy Efficiency sessions. Some slides from these presentations may be able to be used in the 'virtual tour'.
John will make suggestions for future action in relation to Energy Efficiency shortly.
Community Energy Project - Establishing a donation-based fund to install panels on community buildings
1. Participation in a Community Energy workshop webinar & consultations with CORENA
John Lloyd took part in a Community Energy workshop organised by Hume DELWP and the Community Power Agency. The purpose of the workshop was to provide critical feedback and advice about out project. We received a number of helpful suggestions about implementing this project.
As a result of participating in this workshop DELWP have made a $3000 grant available to REB to help implement the project. We believe the best way to use this grant is to employ someone to undertake administrative tasks involved with setting up governance of the fund and to pay for professional development of communication messaging and materials.
In relation to obtaining Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, which means donations are tax deductable, we were advised that this could take a long time and it was suggested that we should talk to CORENA, who have been conducting a donation based revolving fund for a number of years. CORENA informed us that they did not have DGR status for the first three years of their operation and they suggested that we should not wait to obtain DGR status but should go ahead without it. CORENA also advised that obtaining DGR Status should become easier from July when applications will be handled by the Australian Charities & Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).
As the Benalla Renewable Energy Fund is a BSFG bank account, BSFG will need to obtain DGR status. John has discussed this with BSFG President, Peter Holmes, who agrees that BSFG will need to do this.
2. Community Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants 2020
Grants of up to $12,500 were available for energy generation and storage projects. There was a very short time frame for applications with only two projects per electorate to be funded and it was based on 'first come first served' principles. John suggested to the North East Regional Pre-school Association (NERPSA) that they would be eligible to apply in their own right. John offered to help them with their application if they decided to apply. NERPSA did not apply as the Indi electorate already had the maximum number of applications.
3. Community Energy Project implementation and Development of a Consultant’s Brief
Community Energy Project working group members have been communicating by email and are working through the steps required to implement this project. A brief is currently being developed for a consultant to undertake the tasks mentioned above.
Request from Geoff Lodge, Goulbourn Valley Community Energy
Geoff Lodge has requested/suggested that REB could be involved in helping GVCE install larger PV systems on factories in Benalla. Follow up with Geoff to be confirmed.
Waste to Energy
Adrian Howden has stepped away from involvement with Plastic Energy and moved to a watching brief to see what they are doing in Australia and where. His suggestion of a plant in Albury/Wodonga seemed to have merit for them, but as to who will be the principal investor remains to be seen. The main project has hit a snag in that the amount to be processed is larger than the plant size they have at present.
Adrian is exploring another approach which requires specific data from EPA, looking at a local plus a specialized operation added to it and considering if it is the type of operation we want and need to achieve an economic outcome. “All this is now a pipe dream in the current economic crisis, but if grasped, the opportunity could be feasible. Time will tell” Adrian.
Preliminary work on Micro Grid Feasibility
Nothing reported this month.
The Community Energy Hub Roadshow event on Tuesday 31st March has unfortunately been cancelled due tothe threat posed by the coronavirus.
Our first priority is the health and safety of our community. We would like to invite you to join a webinar to find out how to get involved in our local Community Energy Hub.
RSVP to join a Community Energy Hub webinar event.
You can join a webinar either on your phone or your computer. You can also RSVP over Facebook and we will post the link to the webinar, https://www.facebook.com/events/211504196740396/
The electricity sector is the single largest driver of climate change and takes more than $160 million out of our region each year. Together, we can change that.
Indigo Power is a locally owned social enterprise and invests half its profits on projects that support renewable energy development in our communities. It is opening up its flagship community energy hub electricity offer across our region.
Community energy hubs allow residents to share renewable energy with neighbours. At the same time, Indigo Power is building local clean energy generation and storage for extra supply, like the Yackandandah community battery – the first of its kind in Australia.
Find a webinar time that suits you and RSVP today.
If you have any questions about how a webinar works, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can call Sandy at Indigo Power on 1800 491 739 with any questions.
Renewable Energy Benalla
When making grant applications recently, the question has arisen - Micro-grid or Virtual Power Plant? This information was provided by a consultant to help to clarify the situation:
"What’s the difference between a micro-grid and virtual power plant?
What’s the difference between a virtual power plant and micro grid? Often you will hear the terms being used interchangeably, but they are different…
A micro-grid is a miniature model of a complete grid system where you have a form of electricity generation, storage, distribution and consumption, all within clearly specified electrical boundaries. A micro-grid could be a stand-alone system (SAPs), or a grid connected one, with a common point of coupling. The mutual factor being the electricity generated is expended within the micro grid network.
Virtual Power Plants (VPPs)
Virtual power plants can be created using software to control and optimise a network of generation and demand side storage. Battery storage can be added to traditional energy generation methods such as solar panels, traditional power plants and wind turbines and coordinated so that the whole system is much more efficient for both the end user and distribution utility.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MICRO-GRID AND VPP:
Tim Bowtell's compelling portrait of Greta Thunberg, painted on the side window of the Benalla Rural City offices in Mair Street for the Window to Window festival, draws from and is representative of Tim's current work and concern about climate change.
Tim describes being surprised that around 90% of people who spoke to him while he was painting weren't aware of Greta Thunberg, and is pleased that his work has acted as such a catalyst for conversations about climate change.
The discussions which began in social media and mainstream television news last week continued this week in three pages of Letters to the Editor in the Ensign, most of which were about the portrait of Greta, and most of which were positive!
The announcement by Time Magazine of Greta as their Person of the Year a few days into the controversy on social media proved a wonderful endorsement of Tim's choice of a portrait of Greta for his window.
This news item from 9 News Border North East on December 12 includes responses from Renewable Energy Benalla's John Lloyd and BSFG's President Peter Holmes:
While a media storm - social and mainstream - was hitting Benalla on Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 of December relating to Tim Bowtell's 'Window to Window' portrait of Greta Thunberg onthe council offices and climate change, workers for Solar Gain were quietly very busy completing a huge solar panel installation on the ample roof space of Fobia Industries newly restored premises in Bridge Street next to Macdonald's. Some photos to add to our 'On They Go - towards 100% renewable energy by 2028' collection!
I am sending this update to BSFG members and REB followers about the free community screening of the film 2040 from 7.00 pm this Wednesday at BPACC Cinema.
There are still seats left for this DELWP and Council supported screening of 2040. You need to book to confirm your seat either online at www.bpacc.com.au/theatre or call 03 5762 5515.
We have been issued 30 tickets to distribute to contributors and have about 12-14 left if you would like to book through me. These tickets are on the third and fourth rows back from the front of the main central seating area which you can view at the above booking link. Contact me if you would like me to hold tickets for you in this area, or book online for other seating.
Download the 2040 flyer
BSFG is providing a light supper after the screening which will be tea and coffee and a few nibbles. If you are coming to the 2040 screening are you able to bring in a small plate to provide something to eat after the film? If you can help in this way please reply and let me know by Wednesday morning to assist us with the catering arrangements. At this stage we have bookings for about 140.
0418 135 330
While electric systems are the cheapest to buy they are the most expensive to run and are the largest source of climate pollution for most households. Across our region, water heating can be upwards of a third of a household's energy bill. If you’ve got an inefficient hot water system it’s costing you money, and it’s costing the environment.
ENERGY EFFICIENT HOT WATER SYSTEMS
REGIONAL BULK BUY OFFER
Renewable Energy Benalla is partnering with Indigo Power (Community Energy Retailer) to offer two best price energy efficient hot water systems in Benalla.
The two systems being offered are a Reclaim Energy 315 litre CO2 Heat Pump system or an Apricus 315 litre Evacuated Tubes Solar system.
Both of these systems are up to five times more efficient than electric element hot water tanks and will reduce your carbon emissions by up to 80%, as well as significantly reducing your energy bills.
This is part of a regional bulk buy that is being offered through many renewable energy groups across all of north east Victoria and thus has the benefit of cheaper prices for these products
The Victorian government is encouraging people to replace their electric hot water systems with solar hot water or heat pump systems by making a rebate of $1000 available.
By taking advantage of this bulk buy offer you will be able to replace your aging electric hot water system with an energy efficient system at a significantly reduced price.
Because this is a ‘one off ‘ bulk buy, with the suppliers offering significant discounts (approximately 20%) it is only open for a few weeks and this offer will close by Christmas.
More details are available on the flyer below including how to register your interest.
Renewable Energy Benalla
0418 135 330
A reminder about the final session of Renewable Energy Benalla’s 2019 Energy Efficiency workshops which is on tomorrow night 14th October at the Benalla Uniting Church, opposite the Coles car park from 7.30pm until 9.30pm.
This workshop on Energy Monitoring, Solar Power & Batteries will be presented by Kevin Smith. We didn’t get to cover this topic last year so I am also including some people who attended our workshops in 2018.
We will also be mentioning an Energy Efficient Hot water Bulk Buy. Renewable Energy Benalla and Indigo Power are partnering to offer two best price energy efficient hot water systems.
Reclaim Energy CO2 Heat Pump – 315 litre
Standard installation with rebates - $2000 - $2200
Normal price fully installed approx. $4700
Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water – 315 litre
Standard installation with rebates – $3000
Normal price fully installed approx. $5600
0418 135 330
The Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap was the focus of discussion at BSFG's general meeting on Thursday 26 September.
The Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap has engaged thousands of people from communities, business and government to hear their views and vision for the future of renewable energy in the region.
The Roadmap identifies regional opportunities for renewable energy in Hume which includes a coalition of community energy groups working to deliver localised energy generation and distribution for community benefit.
Hume also has significant pumped hydro energy storage development potential as well as quality solar resources which have been attracting investment interest. Bioenergy resources are also abundant in Hume with a number of biogas generators operating in the region.
The Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap report brings together what the Roadmap team heard and uncovered and tells our region’s renewable energy story – the past, the exciting things happening now and what the future might hold.
Members of a larger meeting audience than usual were clearly interested in finding out more about the Renewable Energy Roadmap and the possibilities for a renewable energy future for our region.
Are your community energy programs designed to maximise community participation? An invitation from Sustainability Victoria:
"Sustainability Victoria invites you to a series of free webinars in September and October on how to ensure quality participation in your community-owned energy projects, now and in the future.
Presented by Dr Jarra Hicks from the Community Power Agency, you’ll hear about best practice approaches to community participation based on the latest insights from Sustainability Victoria’s Community Power Hubs pilot program.
This four-webinar series is ideal for community energy groups wanting to ensure future projects are designed and structured to facilitate community participation, or those wanting to create better opportunities for community participation in existing projects.
Designing community-owned renewable energy projects with strong community participation - Webinars - September-October 2019
Webinar 1: Introduction to designing community owned energy projects with strong community participation. Thursday 19 September 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Webinar 2: Facilitating participation through economic arrangements. Thursday 26 September 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Webinar 3: Facilitating participation through governance structures. Thursday 3 October 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Webinar 4: Facilitating participation through community engagement practices. Thursday 10 October 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Find out more and register for free if you’d like to join the webinars. For further enquiries, please contact email@example.com .
Strategic Coordinator (Hume) | Regions, Communities & Local Government
M: 0437 038 118 |Ph: 03 8626 8826
www.sustainability.vic.gov.au | follow us @sustainvic "
From the Web Team: REB is a small action group which is working on many aspects of Renewable Energy from a number of directions. With time at a premium we don't want to put on more pressure on them to write reports, so it seems like putting in the information they contribute at meetings via the minutes is a good idea! The work the group is doing is wide ranging and clearly requires considerable research and decision making.
From the August Minutes (20 August 2019)
"1. Action Groups – report on action plan to implement key strategies
1.1 Waste to Energy – report from Adrian.
Adrian has contacted Kelly Wickham at Sustainability Victoria to discuss whether there is any funding available to investigate feasibility of options. Adrian has made contact with Mt Alexander Sustainability Group and will try to meet with them to discuss their project. Still investigating plasma system which recycles plastic back to food grade pellets. Gasification to produce syngas, original company who were liaising with don’t have the capacity. Have found a Canadian company which is more progressed. Cruise ships using similar smaller systems.
1.2 Community Energy Project – report from John
Account for Community Energy Fund is nearly established. John circulated advice received from the Bendigo Sustainability Group and Chuffed.org. Loan based approach would be much easier than PPA type arrangement. Need to work out fundraising and how to proceed and how to accept donations. If people are going to want to claim on tax return will need to get Deductable Gift Recipient (DGR) status. Initial project would be for the two kindergartens we have been liaising with. Mens Shed might also be interested.
ACTION: John and Larissa to identify what are the steps and tasks needed and what skills might be required to progress with the community energy project, with the aim of seeking a few more volunteers to assist. Draft an email to go out to contact list and circulate to REB group for review.
1.3 Energy Efficiency sessions – report from John
The draft proofing and insulation session was held last night with 10 people attending. Most that attended indicated they would attend the next session. Might need to get a list of handyman and trades people that could undertake retrofit work such as installing installation.
2.Mini Grant project: Designing to Engage Benalla in a Renewable Energy Future
Documents were finalised and printed. The group discussed how the flyers should be used and distributed. Should promote at the Lakeside Market, will work on organising for 28 September market. Will also put some in West End Post Office, Library and Swanpool Cinema.
3.Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap
3.1.Launch – the document was recently launched in Wangaratta, John attended. John distributed a hard copy of the Roadmap.
3.2.John is organising a guest speaker to talk about the Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap for the September BSFG meeting. Discussed whether REB could use the opportunity to also promote the REB group. Agreed that this was a good idea. Meeting should be widely promoted.
4.Hot Water Bulk Buy
John and Kevin have been liaising with Indigo Power on the hot water bulk buy. Draft flyer was circulated with indicative prices. Will need a plumber and electrician, John will speak to potential interested plumber and advise Indigo Power.
5.Community Engagement Strategy
5.1.Reports of discussions with stakeholders
Peter discussed with Daryl Defazio who has some concerns around large scale solar. Hasn’t been able to get in touch with Tim Bowtell as yet.
5.2.John distributed Bendigo Council Community Engagement Toolkit which might be useful as we consider community engagement opportunities.
6.1.Annual Statement to Community Affairs Victoria is due the end of October. Peter will report as per the BSFG AGM.
Motion: That Peter is to complete the online lodgement of the Annual Statement to Community Affairs Victoria based on the information presented at the BSFG/REB AGM.
Moved: Kevin Smith 2nd: Peter Maddock All in favour
6.2.Still haven’t heard about the outcome of the funding application submitted with GVCE (Goulburn Valley Community Energy). Geoff Lodge would still like to progress with solar on community housing which isn’t dependent on this funding. May also be future discussion if GVCE are successful with Winton Solar Farm project, regarding community benefit sharing which would be from the outset (unlike others who may only commit once operational and making profit).
6.3.Kevin and Peter will attend the Lightsource BP Solar farm (Winton) session – looking at extending / increasing the size of the solar farm application.
6.4.Chelsea from DELWP wanted to gauge interest in screening of the film ‘2040’ as either a promotion or fundraising event for BSFG and REB. Everyone agreed it would be a good idea at either the DELWP Theatrette or BPACC. Peter suggested ‘Point of no return’ is another good film to screen.
6.5. Benalla Youth Action Society John sent email to the group to ask if they are thinking about the School Strike for Climate on September 20th.
Tuesday 17th September 2019 10am"
It is such a pleasure to see the beautiful 'environmenta and sustainability' themed mural completed for Wall to Wall Benalla Street Art Festival 2019 by artist Tarsha Davis and Benalla P-12 College students. Congratulations to all involved.
Reduce Energy Bills and Increase Thermal Comfort
More Comfort – Less Cost
Renewable Energy Benalla is conducting a new series of free workshops on how to reduce energy bills and increase the thermal comfort of your home.
Session 1 August 5 - Understanding energy bills and getting the best rate
Electricity contracts, understanding your usage, comparing retail rates
Bring your electricity bills to discuss
Session 2 August 19 - Draught Proofing & Insulation
Locating and fixing draughts
Insulation to improve thermal performance
Session 3 September 2 - Lighting & Windows
Energy efficient lighting
Solutions to poorly performing windows
Session 4 September 16 - Efficient Hot Water Systems, Heating and Cooling
Water heating is a major energy user while heating accounts for 30% of energy bills
Learn about efficient options
Session 5 September 30 - Appliances & Cooking; Transitioning from Gas
Appliances & cooking account for 30% of energy bills
Session 6 October 14 - Energy Monitoring, Solar Power & Batteries
Monitoring real time energy consumption
Advantages of solar power & batteries
These free workshops will be conducted fortnightly on Mondays in the meeting rooms at the Uniting Church in Carrier Street, Benalla, (opposite the Coles car park), from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.
While attending all the workshops would provide the major benefit, some people may wish to only attend some of the sessions.
It is important to register to attend these workshops by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the workshops you wish to attend or phone / SMS Peter on 0418 135 330.
'Ideal for Solar Project'
Winton Wetlands' environmental potential is being diversified with expressions of interest now open on a new solar project for the site.
This will add to a number of local solar projects as Benalla and district continues to embrace clean energy generation.
Winton Wetlands Committee of Management chair Dennis O'Brien said the project was in response to the Australian Government's initiative to mitigate the risk of climate change and global warming.
"The purpose of the proposed project is to supply green electricity generated from solar irradiation into the National Energy Market," Dr O'Brien said.
"The Committee of Management is capitalising on the site's natural ecopnomic strenghts and aligning themselves to add to the state government's energy mix, as we work towards the target of 40% renewable energy generation by 2025.
"Solar farms are the most direct way to help us reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
"Solar farms feed surplus power to the mains grid thereby distributing renewable, clean energy."
After two feasibility studies considering the practicability of developing a solar photovoltaic (PV) facility and associated infrastructure on the Winton Wetlands site, and the preliminary ecological constraints and planning approval matters, it was determined that solar PV projects at Winton Wetlands are technically viable at a commercial scale.
"The choice of location for the Mokoan Solar Project is driven by two main factors," Dr O'Brien said.
"Firstly, this location has among the highest levels of solar irradiation in Victoria.
"Secondly, the site has excellent topography - being very flat, with excellent drainage features."
The proposed site is up to 800 ha of crown land, to build and operate 200+MW capacity, equating to a provision of more than 50,000 households.
The expression of interest process is now open until Friday, July 12.
BSFG and REB recently received an Invitation to the Community Consultation for South Energy's proposed Solar Farms at Kennedys Creek and Lake Mokoan on Thursday 13 June at the Lake Mokoan Hub from 4 to 7 pm. The invitation letter included the following background information and contact details.
South Energy is currently preparing two upcoming planning permit applications for the use and
development of two solar farms; Kennedys Creek Solar Farm and Lake Mokoan Solar Farm. Both
proposed solar farms are located in proximity to the Winton Wetlands.
With great respect to your effort and dedication to the region, we wish to inform the Benalla
Sustainable Future Group of the upcoming planning applications to ensure that members are aware of both proposals and are given the opportunity to provide feedback on the projects.
Community consultation is a key next step for the proposals and will help to inform the design and delivery of the projects. An information session about the proposed solar farms will be held at the Mokoan Hub and Café at 4pm to 7pm on Thursday, 13 June 2019. South Energy would like to formally invite members of the Benalla Sustainable Future Group to the information session and welcome member’s comments on the proposed solar farms.
2.0 Site and Project Overviews
In response to the Australian Government’s initiative to mitigate the risk of climate change and global warming, the purpose of the proposed projects is to supply green electricity generated from solar irradiation into the National Energy Market. The projects will contribute significantly to Australian and Victorian renewable energy targets by reducing carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 547,000 tonnes a year in total. The following two sections provide an overview of each solar farm.
2.1.1 Kennedys Creek Solar Farm
The Kennedys Creek Solar Farm will be located at:
• Murray Road, Benalla;
• 51 Nelson Road, Benalla;
• 67 Nelson Road, Benalla
• 125 Nelson Road, Benalla; and
• 284 Benalla-Yarrawonga Road, Benalla.
The site is located within the Industrial 1 Zone and the Farming Zone. Currently, it is being used for broad acre farming. Upon completion, the project is expected to have a network capacity of up to 145 megawatts (MW), providing green electricity to approximately 51,000 households each year.
2.1.2 Lake Mokoan Solar Farm
Lake Mokoan Solar Farm will be located at:
• 892 Benalla-Yarrawonga Road;
• 81 Lake Mokoan Road, Goorambat; and
• Benalla-Yarrawonga Road, Benalla.
The project is approximately 4 kilometres north of the proposed Kennedys Creek Solar Farm and is situated to the west of the Winton Wetlands. The project is located wholly within the Farming Zone and is also currently used for broad acre farming.
The project is expected to have a network capacity of up to 115 MW and is anticipated to provide green electricity to approximately 41,000 households each year.
3.0 What’s Next?
Both of the chosen sites have been deemed suitable for development of a solar farm due to their
topography and proximity to existing infrastructure.We understand the importance of community engagement to ensure that local opinions, perspectives and ideas are heard and considered by the projects. Once we have considered the feedback received from all stakeholders, it is anticipated that the planning application will be submitted to Benalla Rural City Council in July 2019.
Should you have any questions or queries regarding the projects, please do not hesitate to contact David Huang on (03) 8842 6888 or email@example.com or visit our website www.kennedyscreeksolar.com.au or www.lakemokoansolar.com.au
+613 8842 6888 | Fax +613 8640 0706
Public consultation on climate change targets following release of Independent Panel Report on targets for Victoria
The Victorian Climate Change Act 2017 legislates an economy-wide target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and requires the Government to set greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets for 2025 and 2030 by 31 March 2020 to set a pathway to net zero.
The Government sought advice on setting these targets from an Independent Expert Panel chaired by the Hon Greg Combet AM. The Panel’s final report has been tabled in Parliament and is available at https://www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/reducing-emissions/interim-targets.
The Government is now seeking further input to inform its decision on targets for 2025 and 2030, and to identify priority actions to reduce Victoria’s emissions to inform the development of sector pledges to 2025.
Sector pledges will describe the actions Government will take to reduce Victoria’s emissions. These will be developed with the Victorian community and businesses before being announced by 1 August 2020.
The consultation is open from 6 June 2019 to 22 July 2019.
Renewable Energy Benalla Response
Renewable Energy Benalla provided input to the Independent Expert Panel report on interim emissions reduction targets and will be participating in the next stage of the consultative process, details of which are available at https://engage.vic.gov.au/climate-change-reducing-victorias-greenhouse-gas-emissions.
REB members have been asked to consider the interim remission reduction targets in the report and be prepared to contribute to a response from REB at our next meeting.
For further information about REB's contribution and response, please contact John Lloyd.
Renewable Energy Benalla (REB) Action Group Renewable Energy Benalla
Vision: For Benalla to become a zero net energy town by reducing and balancing energy demand with 100% renewable energy supply.
The last 12 months have been extremely busy for the Renewable Energy Benalla action group with monthly meetings to plan how to implement the Benalla Stationary Energy Transition Strategy that was developed with the support of Beyond Zero Emissions and launched in November 2017. The transition strategy detailed three major strategies that need to be implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and achieve zero net energy. These strategies are: I) Energy efficiency measures to reduce energy use, ii) Promote and install local roof top solar, iii) Investigate utility scale renewables, battery storage and micro grids.
Along with these three strategies it will also be important to promote the vision and activities of Renewable Energy Benalla. Many homes and businesses have made great progress with increasing efficiencies and installing rooftop solar but many people aren’t aware of the possibilities and the momentum for change that is developing. A critical activity will be to promote options and inform people so they support the change that is necessary and become active in achieving it.
In order to help promote Renewable Energy Benalla an REB website, www.reb.org.au has been established which is maintained by Bev Lee and Peter Maddock. Their work with the website is very much appreciated by members of the action group.
Renewable Energy Benalla also became incorporated in order to protect the name from any possible business starting up in Benalla who may have wanted to use that name.
A number of sessions focussing on improving the energy efficiency of existing houses were conducted during 2018.
These sessions were advertised with the heading, Reduce Energy Bills and Increase Thermal Comfort, and covered the following topics:
Understanding your energy bills - electricity and gas; Energy Efficient Lighting; Draught Proofing; Insulation; Windows: shading, coatings and films, and glazing; Efficient Hot Water Systems; Efficient Heating and Cooling Options.
These sessions will be repeated again in 2019 and in following years to help achieve the goal of reducing energy demand by one third over ten years.
Promoting Roof Top Solar
As part of this strategy REB invited Mondo Power to make a solar panel and battery offer to the Benalla community which unfortunately was not accepted by the community. Discussions have been held with Mondo to review the reasons for the failure of this offer.
Community Energy Project
As part of promoting roof top solar REB has been investigating the establishment of a Community Energy Project based on donations from the community that would provide solar panels for community buildings such as kindergartens. In order to do this BSFG would need to establish a Benalla Renewable Energy Fund that community members could donate to? Community buildings would make repayments to this fund based on the savings they would make by having solar panels on their roof. This would mean that funds would again be available to install panels on another building.
Investigating Utility Scale Renewables
One member of the REB committee has been doing a lot of work investigating the possibility of establishing a regional utility scale waste to energy project in Benalla. A number of discussions have been held with Council staff about the feasibility of such a project. Further investigation and discussion with council will continue.
Involvement with Beyond Zero Emissions
I attended the BZE AGM in Melbourne as an invited guest speaker and gave an overview of REB activities.
The Beyond Zero Emissions Electrifying Industry Report was presented to a small group of regional people on 26th March. Vanessa Petrie, CEO of BZE travelled to Benalla to present the report.
Renewable Energy Benalla has submitted applications for two different grants.
a) Hume Region Community Renewable Energy Mini-Grants
This grants program aims to support communities to engage members of their communities in activities or events which raise awareness and understanding of renewable energy opportunities. An application titled "Engaging Benalla in a Renewable Energy Future" was submitted. The grant sought was for $2915 for the design and printing of a range of communication materials to assist REB raise its profile and increase engagement with the wider Benalla community. Benalla Sustainable Future Group was nominated as the lead agency as REB does not have a bank account. This application was successful and the moneys will be paid into the BSFG bank account.
b) Victorian Community Climate Change Adaptation Grants (3CA Grants)
The 3CA Grants program aims to support practical projects focused on adaptation activities with clear community benefit. Discussions were held with Goulbourn Valley Community Energy (GVCE) about a joint application to thermally upgrade low income housing by improving draught proofing and insulation to make them more energy efficient and more thermally comfortable. A joint application for $100,000 titled 'Adapting Community Housing for Climate Change' has been made with GVCE nominated as the lead organisation. If the application is successful GVCE will handle the financial aspects.
The submission involves conducting assessments of 50 houses owned or managed by community housing organisations, 25 in Benalla and 25 in Goulburn Valley, and then carrying out retrofits of those houses. In Benalla we will focus on houses managed by Beyond Housing. Announcement of successful grant submissions will be made by the end of May.
Community Engagement to help Achieve our Vision
A plan to achieve zero net energy by 2028 is an ambitious and complex task. REB need more people from the community to assist with implementing the Transition Strategy. This may be to help with a small distinctive task or to become involved in the organisation of a specific event or project.
REB is currently investigating ways to improve our engagement with the Benalla community and to encourage people to become involved in achieving 100% renewables by 2028. The successful application for a grant to develop communication materials will help with this process.
John Lloyd, Convenor, Renewable Energy Benalla