Renewable Energy for Benalla Action Group
The REB Action Group was established from self-nominated interested members of the community who attended the Benalla Renewable Energy Future Forum in October 2016.
The REB Action Group will work in collaboration with the community and relevant organisations to achieve the following objectives:
• Promote energy efficiency and reduce energy use within the community
• Create awareness, promotion and support for renewable energy by the community
• Develop a Future Energy Plan for Benalla to transition to zero net energy
• Achieve a significant increase in local renewable energy generation
• Keep increased financial benefits locally
As well as these major objectives the REB Action Group has developed an Action Plan which identifies key tasks to be achieved over the next 6 months and the members who are to undertake the tasks.
The REB Action Group will make regular reports to the community.
Beyond Zero Emissions Support
Benalla has been selected as one of the three Victorian communities to be part of the BZE Zero Carbon
Communities Project. BZE will support Benalla to develop a 10 year 100% renewable energy transition strategy in the energy use and building sectors. BZE will work with our community over the next 10 months (until October) to develop this strategy.
The BZE contribution will include:
• Developing a baseline of emissions across energy consumption and buildings
• Two community engagement workshops, one of which will focus on businesses
• Reports for potential for renewable technologies in the region.
New Energy Jobs Fund
BSFG (REB), with the support of Benalla Rural City Council, (which includes a co-contribution of $20,000 if successful), has applied to the Victorian government's New Energy Jobs Fund for $50,000 to fund the development of a Benalla Future Energy Plan which will outline how to achieve becoming a zero net energy town by:
• Following the established Z-Net Blueprint least cost approach. (for further information see www.z-net.org.au
*Identifying the characteristics of Benalla and the community and existing energy use.• Defining current and likely future energy requirements
• Identifying options for reducing energy use.
• Investigating which renewable energy options are feasible, viable and desirable by the community
and therefore will work best in Benalla.
• Assisting low income households, renters and businesses to invest in energy efficiencies and
access renewable energy opportunities.
• Undertaking two feasibility studies for renewable energy projects which can be replicated for
additional future projects (small and large scale opportunities).
Renewable Energy for Benalla - Council Approval of joint application with BSFG to the New Energy Jobs Fund for Feasibility Study
The Planning and Development Committee meeting of Benalla Council on Wednesday 25th January approved making a joint application with BSFG to the New Energy Jobs Fund for funding to conduct a feasibility study of renewable energy options for Benalla and the preparation of a Future Energy Plan.
Council also agreed to make a co-contribution of $20,000 if the application is successful. The financial matter was passed with the support of councillors Barbara Alexander, Peter Davis and Scott Upton.
Those two matters were the recommendations from Larissa Montgomery’s very comprehensive report to council. John Lloyd, BSFG President, would like to thank Larissa for all her work on this and to thank all those members of BSFG who came to the meeting to show their support for Larissa, himself and the Renewable Energy for Benalla project.
Note - If you would like to read Larissa's report you will find it by opening this link to the Agenda for the Meeting starting on page 10.
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