In October REB held a Benalla Business Breakfast with the support of Benalla Rural City, and the Benalla Business Network. The purpose of the breakfast was to open up communication with the business community about a renewable energy future for Benalla. Key elements of the BZE transition plan for Benalla were presented as were key findings from the Energy Survey of Benalla Businesses. It was also an opportunity for local businesses to share their experiences of reducing their energy use and/or generating some or all of their energy needs. Information was also provided on funding options and grants available to businesses to assist with costs of implementing options to reduce energy use and/or generate energy.
REB has been working with Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) to develop a ten year transition strategy for Benalla to achieve 100% renewable energy. This transition plan was completed in November and details three key 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.
On 28th November, Renewable Energy Benalla and Beyond Zero Emissions, with support from Benalla Rural City Council, held a community forum and workshop to launch the transition strategy and to explore opportunities for energy efficiency, roof top solar, bulk buy programs, community energy projects and the potential for utility scale renewable energy. As a result of this workshop a number of community members volunteered to form small action groups to help Renewable Energy Benalla implement each of the three strategies mentioned above.
Source: BSFG December Newsletter 2017
The Transition Strategy developed by Beyond Zero Emissions and Renewable Energy Benalla included information on Benalla's greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. This data collected for 2016 establishes a baseline against which progress in reducing emissions and moving towards 100% renewable energy can be measured.
In 2016, emissions relating to stationary energy for Benalla were 189,785 tonnes CO2-e. Total energy use between 2012 and 2016 increased by 2.7%, representing a 3% increase in electricity consumption and 2% increase in gas use.
In 2016 the industrial sector was the largest consumer of electricity at 48%, compared to 33% residential and 19% commercial. Similarly, the industrial sector consumed 63% of gas, the residential sector 29% and the commercial sector 8%. Industrial electricity is the sector contributing the largest to Benalla’s GHG profile.
The number of households in Benalla Rural City rose from 6,343 in 2012 to 6,517 in 2016. During this time electricity consumption per household per day reduced from 18.3 kWh to 17.9 kWh.
Some major points from the Benalla Baseline Emissions Report show that within the Benalla municipality in 2016:
Originally Published in the December 2017 BSFG Newsletter.