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 Renewable Energy for Benalla (REB) Action Group is currently planning a workshop on reducing energy costs for business. REB has been working closely with Benalla Business Network, Catherine Macmillan, Business Development Coordinator for Benalla council, and Sustainability Victoria to plan this workshop.
REB has developed a questionnaire to survey energy use by business that will be distributed through the Business Network. This will provide some base line data on energy use in the business/industry sector and will help with planning of the workshop.
REB members have started to make some preliminary investigations about a suitable community energy project.
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) Involvement
At the recent EcoCity World Summit in Melbourne, BZE launched the Zero Carbon Communities Guide in which REB features, as do the other two communities BZE is working with, Baw Baw and Nillimbuk. attended the launch as did representatives from the other two communities.
REB has recently received the first draft of a ten year transition strategy to 100% renewable energy. There is much work to be done on this document before it is finalised.