Could a Solar Garden project be a good future project for REB?
Solar Garden schemes give investors a credit for the value of electricity produced by their patch of the solar garden. The amount credited to each “solar gardener” is determined by the size of their “plot” and the arrangements made with the participating retailer.
The concept is considered a particularly good fit with renters, in that the electricity credits generated by a ‘virtual plot’ of solar panels moves with its owner, if they move house, as long they remain with a participating retailer.
Find out more/Source: Sophie Vorrath, 'Australia's biggest "solar garden" seeks to power 300 homes in NSW Riverina' One Step Off the Grid, April 24, 2020
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.
With meetings at the Benalla Rural City offices cancelled due to COVID-19 regulations, there will be no minutes for March/April. However the following report covers developments since the last minutes.
Virtual tour of Energy Efficient House
Adrian Howden’s son has worked on developing a 'virtual tour' of an energy efficient house.
The basic app is set up and he is now waiting to use material from the presentations last year to develop a 'walk through' highlighting problems and solutions.
John Lloyd has forwarded to Adrian the power point presentations on 'Draught Proofing & Insulation' and 'Lighting & Windows’ that were presented during the 2019 Energy Efficiency sessions. Some slides from these presentations may be able to be used in the 'virtual tour'.
John will make suggestions for future action in relation to Energy Efficiency shortly.
Community Energy Project - Establishing a donation-based fund to install panels on community buildings
1. Participation in a Community Energy workshop webinar & consultations with CORENA
John Lloyd took part in a Community Energy workshop organised by Hume DELWP and the Community Power Agency. The purpose of the workshop was to provide critical feedback and advice about out project. We received a number of helpful suggestions about implementing this project.
As a result of participating in this workshop DELWP have made a $3000 grant available to REB to help implement the project. We believe the best way to use this grant is to employ someone to undertake administrative tasks involved with setting up governance of the fund and to pay for professional development of communication messaging and materials.
In relation to obtaining Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, which means donations are tax deductable, we were advised that this could take a long time and it was suggested that we should talk to CORENA, who have been conducting a donation based revolving fund for a number of years. CORENA informed us that they did not have DGR status for the first three years of their operation and they suggested that we should not wait to obtain DGR status but should go ahead without it. CORENA also advised that obtaining DGR Status should become easier from July when applications will be handled by the Australian Charities & Not-for-Profit Commission (ACNC).
As the Benalla Renewable Energy Fund is a BSFG bank account, BSFG will need to obtain DGR status. John has discussed this with BSFG President, Peter Holmes, who agrees that BSFG will need to do this.
2. Community Energy Efficiency and Solar Grants 2020
Grants of up to $12,500 were available for energy generation and storage projects. There was a very short time frame for applications with only two projects per electorate to be funded and it was based on 'first come first served' principles. John suggested to the North East Regional Pre-school Association (NERPSA) that they would be eligible to apply in their own right. John offered to help them with their application if they decided to apply. NERPSA did not apply as the Indi electorate already had the maximum number of applications.
3. Community Energy Project implementation and Development of a Consultant’s Brief
Community Energy Project working group members have been communicating by email and are working through the steps required to implement this project. A brief is currently being developed for a consultant to undertake the tasks mentioned above.
Request from Geoff Lodge, Goulbourn Valley Community Energy
Geoff Lodge has requested/suggested that REB could be involved in helping GVCE install larger PV systems on factories in Benalla. Follow up with Geoff to be confirmed.
Waste to Energy
Adrian Howden has stepped away from involvement with Plastic Energy and moved to a watching brief to see what they are doing in Australia and where. His suggestion of a plant in Albury/Wodonga seemed to have merit for them, but as to who will be the principal investor remains to be seen. The main project has hit a snag in that the amount to be processed is larger than the plant size they have at present.
Adrian is exploring another approach which requires specific data from EPA, looking at a local plus a specialized operation added to it and considering if it is the type of operation we want and need to achieve an economic outcome. “All this is now a pipe dream in the current economic crisis, but if grasped, the opportunity could be feasible. Time will tell” Adrian.
Preliminary work on Micro Grid Feasibility
Nothing reported this month.
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
A reminder about the final session of Renewable Energy Benalla’s 2019 Energy Efficiency workshops which is on tomorrow night 14th October at the Benalla Uniting Church, opposite the Coles car park from 7.30pm until 9.30pm.
This workshop on Energy Monitoring, Solar Power & Batteries will be presented by Kevin Smith. We didn’t get to cover this topic last year so I am also including some people who attended our workshops in 2018.
We will also be mentioning an Energy Efficient Hot water Bulk Buy. Renewable Energy Benalla and Indigo Power are partnering to offer two best price energy efficient hot water systems.
Reclaim Energy CO2 Heat Pump – 315 litre
Standard installation with rebates - $2000 - $2200
Normal price fully installed approx. $4700
Apricus Evacuated Tube Solar Hot Water – 315 litre
Standard installation with rebates – $3000
Normal price fully installed approx. $5600
0418 135 330
The Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap was the focus of discussion at BSFG's general meeting on Thursday 26 September.
The Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap has engaged thousands of people from communities, business and government to hear their views and vision for the future of renewable energy in the region.
The Roadmap identifies regional opportunities for renewable energy in Hume which includes a coalition of community energy groups working to deliver localised energy generation and distribution for community benefit.
Hume also has significant pumped hydro energy storage development potential as well as quality solar resources which have been attracting investment interest. Bioenergy resources are also abundant in Hume with a number of biogas generators operating in the region.
The Hume Renewable Energy Roadmap report brings together what the Roadmap team heard and uncovered and tells our region’s renewable energy story – the past, the exciting things happening now and what the future might hold.
Members of a larger meeting audience than usual were clearly interested in finding out more about the Renewable Energy Roadmap and the possibilities for a renewable energy future for our region.
Are your community energy programs designed to maximise community participation? An invitation from Sustainability Victoria:
"Sustainability Victoria invites you to a series of free webinars in September and October on how to ensure quality participation in your community-owned energy projects, now and in the future.
Presented by Dr Jarra Hicks from the Community Power Agency, you’ll hear about best practice approaches to community participation based on the latest insights from Sustainability Victoria’s Community Power Hubs pilot program.
This four-webinar series is ideal for community energy groups wanting to ensure future projects are designed and structured to facilitate community participation, or those wanting to create better opportunities for community participation in existing projects.
Designing community-owned renewable energy projects with strong community participation - Webinars - September-October 2019
Webinar 1: Introduction to designing community owned energy projects with strong community participation. Thursday 19 September 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Webinar 2: Facilitating participation through economic arrangements. Thursday 26 September 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Webinar 3: Facilitating participation through governance structures. Thursday 3 October 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Webinar 4: Facilitating participation through community engagement practices. Thursday 10 October 2019, 6:00–7:30 PM
Find out more and register for free if you’d like to join the webinars. For further enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org .
Strategic Coordinator (Hume) | Regions, Communities & Local Government
M: 0437 038 118 |Ph: 03 8626 8826
www.sustainability.vic.gov.au | follow us @sustainvic "
REB has joined with Beyond Zero Emissions to hold a regional launch of the BZE report Electrifying Industry, which is about how business and manufacturing can move to 100% renewable. Regional businesses Beechworth Brewery and Brown Brothers Winery wil present at the forum.
Some of you may be interested in this forum or may know people in business or manufacturing who may be interested. If so please pass this information on.
If you wish to attend please register through Eventbrite 'Repowering Business with Renewable Energy' by Friday 22nd March.
Install Rooftop Solar...
The Climate Council recently published '8 New Year's Resolutions on Climate Change', in which Resolution # 3 was 'Install rooftop solar, or switch to green energy'
"Two million (and counting) Australians are now harnessing the power of the sun to reduce their greenhouse gas pollution and take control of their power bills by installing rooftop solar. And when paired with battery storage, rooftop solar can deliver clean, reliable, renewable power 24/7".
If you are considering installing rooftop solar, you need to do your homework, and might like to begin with chapter 4 of the Climate Council's climate action toolkit. You may also find Solar 101 - A Beginner's Guide helpful. Purchasing from a reputable supplier is important - word of mouth can be helpful as can information such the suggestions as to good installers provided in the Solar 101 video.
...or purchase green energy?
"Alternatively, if you’re not in a position to purchase solar panels, you could consider making the switch to a clean energy provider, who will purchase renewable energy on your behalf. This is also a great way to bring down greenhouse gas pollution and invest in renewable energy."
There are well established and newly emerging green electricity providers. Some offers relate more directly to the purchase of renewable energy than others which have a greater or lesser component involving carbon offsets. It is important to check out each provider's offer to ensure they are a 'good fit' with the values underpinning your pursuit of green energy options.
The Climate Council recommends check out the Green Electricity Guide for help picking a provider.
Mondo Power's Revised Solar & Battery offer for Benalla closed on 7th December. Renewable Energy Benalla members reported that 24 people requested information about the revised offer at 'A Day in the Gardens' stall on Sunday 11 November, with other people chatting to REB members at street stalls about the offer in the Benalla Bridge Street shopping strip on 23, 24 and 30th November and 1st December.
Whatever the take up of the Mondo offer, conversations about renewable energy with people who in the 'early to late contemplation stages' of moving to renewable energy sources, if not quite ready to decide and take action on this particular offer, are also significant and to be valued.
As you are no doubt aware, there is a positive and powerful transition unfolding across the Australian electricity sector as more people invest in solar panels on their homes and businesses. Renewable Energy Benalla is encouraging this transition locally alongside a vibrant renewable energy sector.
Renewable Energy Benalla (REB) was formed with the specific intent to help Benalla transition to a low-carbon future. REB has worked closely with many local people and with the support of Beyond Zero Emissions, a not-for-profit carbon reduction agency, to develop a strategy for Benalla to transition to 100% renewable energy over the next 10 years.
Across Benalla Rural City 21% of Benalla properties are already experiencing the great benefits of renewable energy, which include;
A wide range of solar systems are available on the market and it is extremely important to scrutinize the quality, performance and durability of various technologies and brands.
REB have been partnering with energy market experts, Mondo Power to offer a solar and battery package to encourage more people to join this transition to clean renewable energy. This revised offer from Mondo Power has a pricing structure which includes the Mondo Ubi, a smart energy monitoring and management device which enables the creation of microgrids. The offer is based on high quality solar systems tailored to match the individual needs of Benalla residents, which includes the Ubi and the ability to integrate a battery system. The attachments provide more detail about the Ubi, microgrids and pricing structure.
This offer is due to end on the 7th of December, 2018, so please submit your ‘expression of interest’ to have an obligation free site-inspection completed at your home: https://mondopower.com.au/benalla/
A further advantage of this current offer is that it coincides with the Victorian government's Solar Home Program which is aimed at installing solar panels on the roofs of thousands of Victorian homes. This scheme offers a 50% rebate for any solar panel system under 10kW, up to a maximum rebate of $2225. More details can be found at the program's website: www.solar.vic.gov.au
REB looks forward to working with the community to help the transition to 100% renewable energy. For more information on how we aim to achieve this please visit our website: www.reb.org.au
Renewable Energy Benalla"
Community Energy Forum Friday 3rd August at BPACC - find out what community energy means for Benalla, & you
New, renewable energies are changing the way we get our energy. We are no longer reliant entirely on power from the big energy generators and companies.
We need to make sure that communities benefit from the renewable energy. The Community Energy model gives local towns and regions power over how they generate and consume electricity.
Join us at a Community Energy Forum on Friday 3rd August at BPACC and find out what community energy means for you and our region.
Locally generated renewable energy will create local jobs, cleaner energy and allow the community to control where their energy comes from. It means that towns can create mini-grids, where residents can trade power between themselves – powered by household solar and battery energy. This reduces reliance on the dirty and expensive national energy grid.
A local community energy retailer is currently being developed to allow towns and regions to achieve their renewable energy goals.
Come along and listen to some of Australia's foremost experts in the field explain how we can harness this new form of energy to build a new model of energy.
Three great speakers will outline what community energy is and how we can benefit from it: Simon Corbell, Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate; Nicky Ison, Co-founder of the Community Power Agency; Alison Rowe, Chief Executive Officer of Moreland Energy Foundation.
This is a free event but please RSVP for the Benalla meeting by 3 August at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/benalla-community-energy-forum-tickets-47537010478
Download the Forum Flyer.