In August 2018 in the North East of Victoria, Australia Simon Duncan followed the Community Energy Forum's 6 city tour (including Benalla) promoting Renewable Energy in the region.
REB members are busy pre-reading the following ReNew magazine articles prior to their February meeting.
Issue 141 'Z-Net Uralla - On the way towards zero net energy'
Issue 145 'TRYing to get to 100% renewable'
ReNew Magazine is available at both the Benalla and Wangaratta Libraries--when last checked, both editions were on the shelf at both libraries.
For more information about these inspirational communities, go to
Totally Renewable Yackandandah
You-Tube Play Lists
Totally Renewable Yackandandah
Install Rooftop Solar...
The Climate Council recently published '8 New Year's Resolutions on Climate Change', in which Resolution # 3 was 'Install rooftop solar, or switch to green energy'
"Two million (and counting) Australians are now harnessing the power of the sun to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution and take control of their power bills by installing rooftop solar. And when paired with battery storage, rooftop solar can deliver clean, reliable, renewable power 24/7".
If you are considering installing rooftop solar, you need to do your homework, and might like to begin with chapter 4 of the Climate Council's climate action toolkit. You may also find Solar 101 - A Beginner's Guide helpful. Purchasing from a reputable supplier is important - word of mouth can be helpful as can information such the suggestions as to good installers provided in the Solar 101 video.
...or purchase green energy?
"Alternatively, if you’re not in a position to purchase solar panels, you could consider making the switch to a clean energy provider, who will purchase renewable energy on your behalf. This is also a great way to bring down greenhouse gas pollution and invest in renewable energy."
There are well established and newly emerging green electricity providers. Some offers relate more directly to the purchase of renewable energy than others which have a greater or lesser component involving carbon offsets. It is important to check out each provider's offer to ensure they are a 'good fit' with the values underpinning your pursuit of green energy options.
The Climate Council recommends check out the Green Electricity Guide for help picking a provider.
Country News, week 11 December 2019 p4 featured an article by Rodney Woods titled 'Solar Plan Irks Locals' - an extract...
"A new solar farm is being proposed for Benalla, but locals whose houses are in close proximity have signed a petition to have it stopped before it even begins.
The proposal by AECOM Australia on behalf of Hunter and Co is set to occupy 9.1 ha at 35 Gunn Rd, about 3 km from Benalla, but locals have banded together to stop it.
It is one of the first applications to be looked at since Victoria's Planning Minister Richard Wynne announced a set of draft guidelines in October.
... the guidelines are only a draft at this stage, and will remain so until community consultation is completed in March next year...'
The article includes a link to the Draft Guidelines - 'Feedback can be made until March 1 at: https://engage.vic.gov.au/solar-energy-facilities-guidelines'.
This is an extract from an article 'Plan Presented' by Simon Ruppert in the Ensign Wednesday December 12. Subheading - 'Solar Application: Winton is set to be the site of a new solar farm that will provide power for 2300 homes'.
"Benalla and its surrounding villages will continue to support clean, renewable energy with Benalla Rural City Council giving planning permission to another solar farm project - in Winton.
John Mills, a consultant working on behalf of Lightsource Development, the company proposing the facility, presented a plan to the Benalla Rural City Council Planning and Development Committee on Wednesday. He told council that if all goes well they plan to start construction next year.
The facility, which will be built at 116 Lee Road in Winton, will consist of 42,108 solar panels, which track the sun's movement throughout the day.
The 15 megawatt solar farm is cited to provide enough electricity for 2300 homes.
The site will alos house eight inverters, nine transformers and eight batteries housed in a secure structure.
The planning permission includes the removal of five large native trees, however it also avoids areas of vegetation and habitat identified within ecological and biodiversity assessment reports.
With several solar farms planned for the Benalla Rural City Council area these decisions are going a long way to creating a cleaner, greener future for local people."
Interested in finding out more? Check out Lightsource BP's Community Information Pack on the proposed Mokoan Solar Installation
Mondo Power's Revised Solar & Battery offer for Benalla closed on 7th December. Renewable Energy Benalla members reported that 24 people requested information about the revised offer at 'A Day in the Gardens' stall on Sunday 11 November, with other people chatting to REB members at street stalls about the offer in the Benalla Bridge Street shopping strip on 23, 24 and 30th November and 1st December.
Whatever the take up of the Mondo offer, conversations about renewable energy with people who in the 'early to late contemplation stages' of moving to renewable energy sources, if not quite ready to decide and take action on this particular offer, are also significant and to be valued.
REB members recently met representatives of South Energy to discuss the proposed Goorambat Solar Farm, expected to have an estimated network capacity of up to 66 megawatts, powering approximately 24,300 households with electricity through the production of clean energy.
An information session in which South Energy shared their vision for the Goorambat Solar Farm project was held on Thursday 29 November at the Goorambat Town Hall, providing an opportunity for local opinions and ideas to be heard by the project.
Information about the project provided to the Benalla Ensign published on Wednesday 21 November included the following
South Energy, a renewable energy developer specialising in delivering utility scale solar farms, will lodge the planning application for the Goorambat project with Benalla Rural City Council shortly.
More information is available at https://www.goorambatsolar.com.au. If you have queries about the project, contact Jo Barnett: Joanna.Barnett@aecom.com.
'Electrifying Industry' forum showcasing how manufacturing can move to 100% renewable energy - postponed
Please note that this forum - originally advertised here on 14 November and scheduled for Monday 3 December, has been postponed. We will include new information on the website when it becomes available.
As you are no doubt aware, there is a positive and powerful transition unfolding across the Australian electricity sector as more people invest in solar panels on their homes and businesses. Renewable Energy Benalla is encouraging this transition locally alongside a vibrant renewable energy sector.
Renewable Energy Benalla (REB) was formed with the specific intent to help Benalla transition to a low-carbon future. REB has worked closely with many local people and with the support of Beyond Zero Emissions, a not-for-profit carbon reduction agency, to develop a strategy for Benalla to transition to 100% renewable energy over the next 10 years.
Across Benalla Rural City 21% of Benalla properties are already experiencing the great benefits of renewable energy, which include;
A wide range of solar systems are available on the market and it is extremely important to scrutinize the quality, performance and durability of various technologies and brands.
REB have been partnering with energy market experts, Mondo Power to offer a solar and battery package to encourage more people to join this transition to clean renewable energy. This revised offer from Mondo Power has a pricing structure which includes the Mondo Ubi, a smart energy monitoring and management device which enables the creation of microgrids. The offer is based on high quality solar systems tailored to match the individual needs of Benalla residents, which includes the Ubi and the ability to integrate a battery system. The attachments provide more detail about the Ubi, microgrids and pricing structure.
This offer is due to end on the 7th of December, 2018, so please submit your ‘expression of interest’ to have an obligation free site-inspection completed at your home: https://mondopower.com.au/benalla/
A further advantage of this current offer is that it coincides with the Victorian government's Solar Home Program which is aimed at installing solar panels on the roofs of thousands of Victorian homes. This scheme offers a 50% rebate for any solar panel system under 10kW, up to a maximum rebate of $2225. More details can be found at the program's website: www.solar.vic.gov.au
REB looks forward to working with the community to help the transition to 100% renewable energy. For more information on how we aim to achieve this please visit our website: www.reb.org.au
Renewable Energy Benalla"
Renewable Energy Benalla is conducting workshops on how to reduce energy bills and increase the thermal comfort of your home. Topics to be covered in session 4 on Wednesday 26 September include
Windows, Hot Water, Heating and Cooling.
Windows - poorly performing windows can result in increased energy costs. We will examine some solutions including window coverings, shading, insulating window films, secondary glazing, double glazing and window frames.
Hot Water - Water heating is one of the biggest energy users in any home. We will examine efficient hot water system
Heating & Cooling - Heating accounts for one third of the average householder's energy bill. Learn about smart, efficient heating options.
Workshops will be held from 7pm - 9pm at the Benalla Gliding Club,
Samaria Road Benalla. RSVP by 23rd September to Peter Maddock at:
Click here to Download Flyer
At the BSFG General Meeting held on August 23, guest speaker from FRV Services, Development Manager Avantika Basu, provided an update on the 85MW AC Winton Solar Farm. This initiative clearly relates to Renewable Energy Benalla's mission to 'Switch 1/3'.
The first solar farm to be approved for development in the Winton region, Winton Solar Farm will help to establish a sustainable new industry for the region. Project Developer, FRV Services Australia, is one of the leading solar developers in the country, having now initiated six large-scale solar farms across QLD, NSW, SA and Victoria. Avantika provided an update on the project concept, its development approval and expected social and environmental benefits and answered a range of questions from the audience.
Information about the Winton Solar Farm Project can be viewed at the FRV website, http://wintonsolarfarm.com/, and FRV in Australia, http://frv.com/en/tag/australia/.
This proved to be an excellent opportunity to hear more about this Solar Farm Project for which it is hoped construction will begin in 2019. Engineer Avantika and her team stayed behind to answer questions and engage with us all about a project about which they are clearly very well informed and passionate.
Our third Building Efficiency Workshop will be held on Tuesday August 21st from 7.00pm until 9.00pm at the Gliding Club, Samaria Road Benalla. We are revisiting topics covered in session 2, Lighting, Draught Proofing, and Insulation to provide additional information.
Session 3: Tuesday August 21st
Energy Efficient Lighting - presentation by lighting expert.
Draught Proofing - fixing draughts has a big impact on thermal comfort. Learn about overlooked sources of draughts and effective draught proofing techniques.
Insulation - The Key to Thermal Performance. Ceiling insulation, wall insulation, floor insulation.
Session 4 will be held on September 26th and cover Windows, Hot Water, Heating and Cooling.
Topics including Appliances and Cooking, Energy Monitoring & Control and Solar Power, may be dealt with in a 5th session either later this year or early in 2019.
RSVP for Session 3 by Sunday August 19th, Peter 0418 135 330, email email@example.com.
Kate Auty - 'Be *creative* when negotiating with energy companies - Benalla Community Energy Forum, August 2018
Renewable Energy Benalla's John Lloyd attended the Hume Region Renewable Energy Forum on June 13th with Larissa Montgomery. John recommended this video produced on the day which portrays the beginning of a positive and inclusive conversation about how renewable energy rolls out in Hume region.
Following the cancellation of the Tuesday 24 July Session 3 Workshop the remaining schedule is as follows;
Session 3 will now be on Tuesday 21 August at 7.00pm-9.00pm and will provide additional information on Lighting, Draft Proofing and Insulation as we realise that these topics were not dealt with in sufficient detail at the last session.
Session 4 will be on Wednesday September 26 from 7.00pm-9.00pm and will provide information on Windows, Hot Water and Heating & Cooling.
The remaining topics, Appliances and Cooking, Energy Monitoring & Control and Solar Power, may be dealt with in a 5th session either later this year or early in 2019.
Download the workshop flyer.
RSVP Sunday before session, Phone/SMS Peter on 0418 135 330
Or submit details via our Contact Form. Include Session Number in Comments,
The workshops are held at the Benalla Gliding Club from 7 until 9 pm
Community Energy Forum Friday 3rd August at BPACC - find out what community energy means for Benalla, & you
New, renewable energies are changing the way we get our energy. We are no longer reliant entirely on power from the big energy generators and companies.
We need to make sure that communities benefit from the renewable energy. The Community Energy model gives local towns and regions power over how they generate and consume electricity.
Join us at a Community Energy Forum on Friday 3rd August at BPACC and find out what community energy means for you and our region.
Locally generated renewable energy will create local jobs, cleaner energy and allow the community to control where their energy comes from. It means that towns can create mini-grids, where residents can trade power between themselves – powered by household solar and battery energy. This reduces reliance on the dirty and expensive national energy grid.
A local community energy retailer is currently being developed to allow towns and regions to achieve their renewable energy goals.
Come along and listen to some of Australia's foremost experts in the field explain how we can harness this new form of energy to build a new model of energy.
Three great speakers will outline what community energy is and how we can benefit from it: Simon Corbell, Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate; Nicky Ison, Co-founder of the Community Power Agency; Alison Rowe, Chief Executive Officer of Moreland Energy Foundation.
This is a free event but please RSVP for the Benalla meeting by 3 August at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/benalla-community-energy-forum-tickets-47537010478
Download the Forum Flyer.
The REB Efficiency Group had its second meeting on Tuesday June 26th at the Benalla Gliding Club.
Howard asked us to think about orientation and how this might affect the comfort and efficiency of our homes. The movement of the sun around our homes is very predictable. Ideally the living area is best facing north to allow penetration of winter sun, however eaves will largely exclude the sun in the hot summer when the sun is high in the sky. Sleeping and utility areas are better placed on the south side of the house.
The Australian Government website Your Home has an excellent guide to Passive Design, http://www.yourhome.gov.au/passive-design.
Peter provided a brief outline of the Energy Freedom Home stepwise process of improving the energy efficiency of your home until eventually it can, after installation of solar panels, become a net exporter of energy.
As Peter's home has a northerly facing living area he is investigating better utilising this aspect of the home to make it more comfortable and energy efficient. This could include replacing northerly windows with doors to allow more winter sun access. These doors would then also allow access to an outdoor living area which would become a private area after changes to fencing. He is also considering insulation, draft proofing, and windows. Peter recommended Sustainability Victoria's video, Energy Efficiency at Home.
Other useful links with information on improving energy efficiency.
Indigo Shire Better Build Toolkit
ATA: Free Renter's guide to Sustainable Living
Note that the third workshop scheduled for Tuesday July 24 has been cancelled. The workshop scheduled for Tuesday August 21 is going ahead and details about the content will be advised before the meeting. There will be a final workshop on Wednesday September 26.
0418 135 330
Renewable Energy Benalla has a keen interest in utility scale renewable energy developments and contributes as a community networker by learning about and sharing information about renewable energy proposals. REB recently publicised the Lightsource BP Urbis proposed solar installation at Winton. Information was shared about, and some BSFG members attended, a community information event held by Lightsource BP Urbis on June 13 at Winton Raceway. Kristi Jorgensen and her team from Urbis Lightsource BP welcomed visitors warmly to the community information session, sharing pamphlets, answering questions and listening to community feedback on the proposed solar installation.
Informative posters on display in the room have been made available to REB by Urbis for further information:
The following morning REB committee members including John Lloyd and Peter Maddock met with Kristi and members of her team at a breakfast meeting to find out more about the proposal and share a community perspective.
Information Sheets about the Lightsource BP Solar Farm Proposal.
Mokoan Solar farm proposal - Community Information Drop In Event - Wednesday 13th June 4 to 7 pm - Winton Raceway
Recently public policy evaluation and consultancy firm URBIS contacted BSFG about a new Mokoan solar farm proposal at Lee Road Winton.
Representing Lightsource BP, Urbis has arranged a Community Information Drop-In Event to be held on Wednesday 13 June 2018 Winton Raceway 41 Fox Street, Winton. Visit the project team any time between 4pm and 7pm. Download information about the meeting.
Lightsource BP is a global market leader in the development and long-term management of large-scale solar projects and smart energy solutions.
Download information about the Lightsource BP Mokoan Solar Farm Proposal.
The REB Efficiency Group had its first meeting on Tuesday May 22nd at the Benalla Gliding Club.
This meeting provided a brief overview of the series with an emphasis on reading power meters and understanding power bills. It is considered useful to establish a baseline energy use before people embark on improving the energy efficiency of their homes so that improvements in performance can be measured.
Geoff Lodge, CEO and Executive Director of GV Community Energy gave an informative talk on the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard including some valuable insights on retrofitting.
There are three more sessions in the series.
Session 2 - Tuesday 26 June - Lighting, Draft Proofing and Insulation.
Session 3 - Tuesday 24 July - Windows, Appliances & Cooking and Heating & Cooling.
Session 4 - Tuesday 21 August - Hot Water, Energy Monitoring & Control and Solar Power.
Information Links on Building Efficiency.
Indigo Shire Better Build Toolkit
ATA: Free Renter's guide to Sustainable Living
We encourage you to analyse your power bills to establish your baseline energy use.
Full details in REB's 'Wipe Out Gas and Electricity Bills' flyer.
A light supper will be available at the end of the evenings.
RSVP by the Sunday before a session, Phone Peter 0418 135 330, AH Howard 0409 504 420
Check out our posts to find out more about events - both upcoming and recent - issues and items of interest.