A Community Forum was held in October to discuss a future clean energy plan for Benalla. Ninety people attended to hear about the benefits of community owned renewable energy and to hear how other towns were planning for a renewable energy future.
Community renewable energy projects strengthen local economies by:
Following presentations by the guest speakers, attendees were asked to form small groups to discuss what they saw as the key opportunities and challenges of exploring a renewable energy project for Benalla. Groups recorded their ideas which will be used as the basis for planning a renewable energy future for Benalla.
A Renewable Energy Working Party has been formed to progress the project of developing a future renewable energy plan for Benalla and has established the following key objectives:
A submission for funding to support this project will be made to the Victorian government's New Energy Jobs Fund. The second funding round is now open and will close on March 1st .
Source: BSFG Newsletter, December 2016
A very successful Renewable Energy Forum was held at BPACC with over 90 people attending. The forum was facilitated by Cath Botta from The Regional Development Company Wangaratta.
BSFG President John Lloyd introduced the forum then called upon Steph Ryan, Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Member of the Legislative Assembly seat of Euroa to officially open the forum.
The forum then heard from the invited guest speakers,
Taryn Lane - Embark and advisor to Coalition for Community Energy
Mathew Charles-Jones - Totally Renewable Yackandandah and
Gavin Ashley - Moreland Energy Foundation.
John Lloyd and each of the speakers presentations can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on their linked names above.
A number of times presenters pointed out that the transition to a renewable energy future will be assisted by using less energy, by increasing energy efficiency, then by evaluating renewable energy generation capabilities in the region.
Cath Botta then asked the forum to break into small groups to consider and discuss a number of questions and to write down key ideas coming out of this. Each group then gave a brief report on their ideas.
John Lloyd concluded the forum with the Next Steps in the Benalla Renewable Energy Project.
Establish A Community Working Party
Community members needed to form a working party to move this project forward.
Beneficial to have a range of backgrounds including some business/commercial.
Working party to keep community informed of progress.
Complete A Funding Application
Benalla Sustainable Future Group with council support to apply for funding from New Energy Jobs Fund – early 2017. Community input important.
Funding would be to conduct a feasibility study of renewable energy options for Benalla and to develop a Future Energy Plan for Benalla.
John Lloyd thanked those involved in assisting with the forum, in particular the support from Benalla Rural City Council and Larissa Montgomery, Council's Environmental Sustainability Coordinator.
Benalla Sustainable Future Group is organising a community forum to discuss a 100% renewable energy future for Benalla.
While a significant number of households and businesses in Benalla have installed rooftop solar panels, it is time to look towards becoming a clean energy community. This would mean that Benalla would no longer rely on fossil fuel based energy which is a major contributor to green-house gas emissions.
The community forum will consider the development of a renewable energy future for Benalla. Guest speakers will explain how other towns are planning for a renewable energy future, the benefits of community renewable energy, and what some of the options are for Benalla. Community members will be invited to provide input into the discussion and also invited to get involved in shaping a future clean energy plan for Benalla.
This is an important development for the Benalla community and I would encourage everyone to attend the public forum and become involved in helping to develop a future clean energy plan for Benalla.
I have attached a publicity flyer about the forum. Please pass this information on to others who may be interested. Or you can download the flyer here, Community Energy Forum Flyer.