Notes of Meeting With Indigo Power, at Beechworth
Present: Donald Mace (Indigo Power), Kevin Smith & David Blore (Renewable Energy Benalla)
Date: Tuesday 20 June 2023
The meeting was arranged as a follow-up to Donald's presentation to the BSFG AGM on 25 May 2023.
Donald outlined current work and involvement of Indigo Power (IP) on community energy projects especially community energy batteries. He advised that IP had been successful in the first round of Commonwealth funding for a community battery for Yarra Junction. He also outlined upcoming government grants for community batteries, noting that IP was developing submissions for a number of projects (10-12 bids), with strong business cases for each. He commented that the work required to develop a strong business case and submission was extensive; not many community groups were able to address the detailed submission requirements from his experience. (A message for us in regard to the effort required.)
Donald also outlined possibilities being considered under Round 3 of the Victorian Neighbourhood Battery grant program, including a possible community battery in Benalla. BRCC is part of the suite of possibilities being considered as a member of the "Central Victoria Greenhouse Alliance" a grouping of Councils including existing groups such as the "Goulburn Murray Greenhouse Alliance". The Benalla project could entail a community behind-the-meter battery (with/without EV charging) at the former Civic Centre, now the Library. Presumably this battery would be charged from existing solar panels on the Library - and the Senior Citizens (?). We pointed out that the Library only has limited evening operating hours but the Senior Cits is used on a number of nights, thus gaining direct benefits from the battery.
We discussed possibilities for inclusion of EV charging: Donald advised that these units (at $60,000 - 70,000 to install, depending on charging rate) could be added at cost. Both the siting of any EV chargers and the battery would be subject to finding a suitable flood-free site (i.e. not under the Library!). Chargers are usually located in nose-in car parking spaces: we mentioned the possibility of installing a couple of (double) chargers along Fawkner Drive in close proximity to the battery at the Library. Donald didn't think this was impossible. The location would also be better than say Bridge Street where legitimate objections might be raised to the length of parking required for a charge.
Don suggested that a possible project for REB would be to seek funding for provision of EV charger stations. He suggested several funding sources including:
Another action by REB could be a letter of support for the proposal for a community battery. Don will liaise with David Blore when this would be desirable.
We also discussed other project options including Indigo Power's proposal for changing household power usage for hot water from the old off-peak night rate model to midday to take advantage of the period of maximum solar generation. Typical cost for such a change is $500/household. Indigo Power have put a submission to our local Member Helen Haines for a pilot project. Kevin Smith and David Blore briefly discussed on the way home the possibility of REB subsidising installations In Benalla with a fixed payback process on a monthly or quarterly basis (say a subsidy of 50% of cost, paid back over five quarters at $50/quarter).
Would be worth following up further with Indigo Power and Helen Haines as the site of a trial project.
Donald advised that a tariff increase of up to 25% has been advised by the state regulator and will happen on 1 August for power supply . Indigo Power, conscious of their community obligations, will only increase their rate by 12%. IP will also increase their solar feed-in tariff by 7.2%. Donald confirmed that the new peak period for power charges is from 3 pm to 9 pm nightly.
Brief discussion on heat pumps - nothing conclusive for us.
We briefly discussed other power generation options including pumped hydro (not many options close to Benalla!) and wind. Kevin mentioned the wind resource in the Nillahcootie locality, where wind through the gap in the ranges to the east and west of the narrow valley are typically strong northerlies or southerlies. Donald referred to Hepburn as a potential model of how it might be done here - again with a battery incorporated.
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
email@example.com 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.
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
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Banner - launch of REB's Munro Avenue Pre School 'behind the meter' solar panel installation, May 6 '21