Thursday, April 26, 2018

Community Energy Project

Community Energy Feasibility Project

Can a community produce its own electricity, and more to the point, can Mirboo North produce its own electricity?

We’re gradually coming around to the idea that power comes via poles and wires, part of a vast network originating in one major location such as the Latrobe Valley.

The Andrews Labor Government is mindful of alternatives to the status quo of the last century as well as the consequences of looming job losses in the Latrobe Valley following the impending closure of Hazelwood Power Station.

With this in mind, $20million has been made available in New Energy Job Fund grants, $50,000 of which has been provided to Mirboo North Community Shed Co-op to fund a Community Energy Business Plan.

This is the back story to an event being held at the Walter J Tuck Reserve next Wednesday from 7pm.

There locals will have the opportunity to meet with experts in Community Energy Projects as well as getting answers to some basic questions relating to this initiative.

These include a definition of Community Energy, how it can benefit Mirboo North and district, how it can generate cheaper, locally produced connected power, and generate local, sustainable jobs.

Mirboo North Community Energy Hub – the organisation auspiced by the community shed to carry out the feasibility study – has been active in the community since 2012.

Through media releases, market stalls, expos and festivals, information sessions and 20 workshops, over 2000 people have so far been engaged.

Already 20 per cent of Mirboo north homes and businesses have been connected to solar electricity and hot water.

This amounts to 150 connections and a $2m investment, generating roughly 1MWh and saving 2000 tonnes of Co2.

The feasibility study will develop the business case for exploring the technical feasibility, financial viability and social desirability for a community energy project for Mirboo North and surrounding areas.

Renewable technologies such as wind, small scale solar, hydroelectricity and battery storage will be some of the renewable technologies investigated.

According to a government booklet on this subject, :community owned renewable energy refers to projects where a community group initiates, develops, operates and benefits from a renewable energy resource or energy efficiency initiative.”

These products may be developed to “maximise local ownership and decision making, generate jobs, use resources efficiently and sustainably, match energy production to local energy needs and circumstances, and to help address climate change”.

For further information and to RSVP, contact Ian Southall on 0413 590220.

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