At an event hosted by Wellington Shire Council recently, Community Energy was the focus of the evening.
An enthusiastic crowd of around 25 people attended the event to hear from highly informative guest speakers about how Community Energy is becoming more accessible and how it could be implemented in our local area. Community Energy is relatively new to Wellington Shire, but in other areas it has been around for years.
Chris Weir, President Bendigo Sustainability Group, spoke about his experiences with establishing the group and their successes and challenges to date. Starting from small beginnings almost ten years ago the group have created solar projects using money raised from crowd funding where the benefits flow directly back to the community for new renewable energy projects. The hurdles faced in the early days have significantly reduced and the opportunities for communities to benefit have increased.
Peter Maruff from Ausnet shared information about some of the new technology that is being field tested that will change the energy landscape into the future. He spoke about a ‘mini-grid’ trial in the Melbourne suburb of Mooroolbark that enables 14 houses with solar panels and batteries to operate independently as an ‘energy island’ reducing the likelihood of power outages at critical times.
Wellington Shire Councillor Darren McCubbin said: “Community Energy is transforming rapidly and there are now many opportunities for communities to benefit directly. There are a number of experts willing to assist and share their knowledge and experiences to make the journey easier.”
“The recent announcement by Harriet Shing, Member for Eastern Victoria Region, regarding the soon to be established Community Power Hub in the Latrobe Valley, will be a great resource for any future community projects in Wellington Shire.”
For further information about the opportunities Community Energy may provide to your community please contact Council’s Sustainability Projects Officer on 1300 366 244.