Energy Innovation Co-operative Newsletter May 2020
Dear Energy Innovation Co-operative members,
Welcome to the first of regular newsletter updates we plan to send you. We are continuing our activities where we can through the COVID-19 pandemic, and trust that you and loved ones are keeping well and safe.
Our newsletter provides news about our work throughout the Bass Coast and Southern Gippsland. Please circulate it to friends who you think may be interested in our work and/or joining the Energy Innovation Co-operative (EI Co-op). As you’ll see from the list below, we are supporting a range of community renewable energy projects through our Southern CORE fund https://eico-op.org.au/southern-c-o-r-e/ and in collaboration with local and state government.
In this issue
A huge vote of thanks goes to the four authors of the Southern Gippsland Regional Renewable Energy Roadmap (https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/victorias-renewable-energy-roadmap), which was released on 21 May. Two of the four authors are EI Co-op directors, Neroli Raff and Max Richter.
The purpose of the Roadmap was to:
- Understand the key elements of the local context including its energy history, its opportunities and the current status of renewable energy and transmission infrastructure.
- Develop a documented renewable energy vision for Southern Gippsland.
- Articulate locally appropriate pathways to achieve the vision.
- Identify the opportunities and constraints to achieving the vision.
- Make recommendations for next steps to progress a renewable energy vision for the whole Gippsland region.
Extensive community and stakeholder engagement in Bass Coast and South Gippsland local government areas inform the document, the vision and approaches outlined in the Roadmap.
The drive, dedication and commitment of the Totally Renewable Phillip Island (TRPI) community group have been rewarded with two key funding programs being auspiced or managed by EI Co-op. One is from Bass Coast Council, the other from the Latrobe Valley Authority.
TRPI leading the way
TRPI (https://totallyrenewablephillipisland.weebly.com/) is a group of like-minded individuals and community organisations working together on the progressive goal of making Phillip Island carbon neutral by 2030.
The TRPI CORE member bodies include Westernport Water, Phillip Island Nature Parks, Bass Coast Shire Council, Phillip Island Conservation Society, Phillip Island Landcare Group, Plastic Free Phillip Island and San Remo, Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre – PICAL, Bimbadeen, Boomerang Bags, Jobe Design, and the Energy Innovation Cooperative.
In December 2018, Bass Coast Council agreed to provide the EI Co-op with $50,000 a year for three years to progress the TRPI goal, including employing a project officer from TRPI members.
The project officer will:
- Work with the council to develop a strategic plan for other totally renewable communities in Bass Coast.
- Work on a renewable energy pre-feasibility study, and
- Communicate the TRPI work through meetings and numerous presentations to Phillip Island, Bass Coast and Gippsland communities.
Pre-feasibility study begins
Earlier this year, the Latrobe Valley Authority approved funding for a TRPI pre-feasibility study.
Using funds from the Latrobe Valley Authority’s Community Energy/Smart Grid Innovation program, a pre-feasibility study will investigate how Phillip Island can be powered by only renewable energy. The study is already underway.
The EI Co-op is managing the funds and the project, having successfully applied to the LVA for the funds to conduct the prefeasibility study.
We will provide updates on the study in future issues.
Grantville goes solar
The recent installation of 6.6 kW of solar panels at the Grantville Recreation Reserve will result in a significant drop in electricity charges for the Reserve Committee. Annual savings of over $1400 are expected.
The hall holds events for the CFA, birthdays and funerals, Red Cross Association events, U3A Bass Valley activities, Baptist Church Family Fun Days and the very popular monthly market.
The EI Co-op applied for and obtained a $5000 community grant from Bass Coast Council. With the addition of Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) funding, all the upfront costs of the solar system was provided including its installation by local electrician Owen Luff of Essential Electrical.
Project officer for the EI Co-op, John Coulter, praised the initiative.
“It is great to help local community groups like this. They play such an important role, especially during crisis times like the bushfires.
“It’s hard to raise thousands of dollars to pay for power bills, so every bit helps,” John said.
Bass Valley Recreation Reserve to save $5000 in power costs
In September 2019, the EI Co-op signed an agreement for a $15,000 no-interest loan with the Bass Recreation Reserve Committee of Management, made possible through a $20,000 grant from the Andrews Foundation.
This loan will fund works required to install solar panels. Support from the Co-op and the DELWP will result in an annual electricity cost saving of $5000.
Yinnar Artist Resource Collective lights up with solar
The Artist Resource Collective (ARC) Yinnar (http://www.arcyinnar.org.au/) is an artist-run, not-for-profit organisation, based in the striking double-brick-built old butter factory in the main street of Yinnar.
In March, a no-interest loan agreement for $11,000 was provided to the collective through the EI Co-op’s Southern CORE Public Fund. The loan will enable the installation of 8.25 kW of solar panels and other energy efficiency measures.
The EI Co-op arranged for a feasibility study and energy audit with financial support from the Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub.
This project provides an opportunity for ARC to further extend its capacity to teach, showcase, grow the art economy and extend the artistic and cultural life of the region.
ARC features a gallery, retail outlet, theatrette, private studios and public access areas for printmaking, ceramics, metalwork, photography, painting and drawing.
If you haven’t already heard about the Gippsland Smart Futures series of webinars, we’d encourage you to check them out at: https://spark.adobe.com/page/PRG5GJJkmm51F/
This funding opportunity can be found at: energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/community-energy
The EI Co-op is assisting a number of local community groups with information, feasibility assessments and grant opportunities. Unfortunately, the amount of funding available is not enough to provide for all the requests for funding received.
DONATIONS to the CORE fund are important to provide the extra funding needed to enable community groups to benefit from converting to renewable energy, which benefits the planet. All donations are tax-deductible. The loans provided to community groups are NO INTEREST so we need to keep building the fund.
Donations can be made by following this link https://eico-op.org.au/southern-c-o-r-e/ and scrolling down to the title, Donations Appreciated.
We are always looking for volunteers in a range of areas including renewable energy project management, communication – writing, editing and website management. For further information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org