The BEAM AGM was a big success

Did someone say we should have AGMs more often?

BEAM successfully held its 2017 Annual General Meeting in Seymour on Saturday night of 16th September.  Our guest speaker Gavin Ashley from Moreland Energy Foundation spoke about the how a group like the Foundation might get going and about the many benefits of community ownership of renewable energy.  His talk was followed by a worshop on new ideas for BEAM in 2017-18, the formalities of an AGM and election of the new committee. Continue reading

Press Release: BEAM welcomes VRET

Legislation for the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) passed the lower house of Victorian Parliament last week, thanks to votes from Labor, the Greens and independent Suzanna Sheed.  This moves us one step closer to a future with more clean energy, driving a construction boom of wind and solar projects across the state.  Pumped Hydro Energy Storage will invariably join this push.  It also underscores direct action in Victoria to act on the environment and the economy that grows from such action.

However, Matthew Guy’s Liberal/National Coalition voted against the VRET and pledged to repeal it.  On top of that, they floated the possibility of another polluting coal-burning power station in Victoria! They are out of touch.

By Webaware – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=104929

BEAM Mitchell Environment Group finds the position of the Victorian Coalition on the VRET reprehensible.  Coal has a diminishing role in our energy future- even the coal companies are saying this- and there is no investment appetite for new coal, or even maintaining old coal-fired power stations.  In contrast, the appetite for investing in a whole range of renewable energies and storage is strong, and increasing.  Government certainty is crucial for this investment environment to reach its potential.

The Coalition must surely know the VRET will reduce Victoria’s climate pollution, increase our energy supplies, create jobs and even push down power prices.  The only reason to oppose it is to slow the transition away from polluting coal power.

These attacks by the Coalition (the coal-ition) are ideological and out of touch with the challenges to Victoria.  They threaten the certainty of the renewable energy industry and our best chance at rapidly cutting climate pollutionThis should be an issue for bipartisanship in Victoria, and nationally.  Investment in renewable technology is a priority.  The private market acknowledges this reality, but it would be more secure with a bipartisan VRET.

Sustainability Victoria recently conducted a study “Climate Change Social Research” into community attitudes on climate change, and their expectations on who should be acting on this.  The results were very strong in acknowledging we all have a role to play, government and local communities.

BEAM invites our own local member Steph Ryan to champion this action and its investment future.  It will benefit rural Victoria.

Peter Lockyer, President BEAM Mitchell Environment Group.             Sept 23 2017

The NSW Home Solar Battery Guide

At the BEAM Annual General Meeting on September 16th, guest speaker Gavin Ashley commented that the NSW state government was a national leader in promoting Community Owned Renewable Energy. The launch of the NSW Home Solar Battery Guide is very timely.

The guide is applicable beyond NSW of course, and it aims to help householders make informed decisions when considering buying and owning a battery system. The full guide can be downloaded as a pdf, or you can access various relevant chapters using the following links:

  • Your home solar battery guide – energy system insights; key messages in the guide; common motivations for buying batteries; how to use this guide.
  • Understanding your energy use – how to access energy information; making sense of energy tariffs; easy alternatives to batteries; making more use of existing solar.
  • Your home power station – how a home power station works; battery basics; battery chemistries; environmental benefits and impacts of home solar batteries.
  • Designing a home power station – three main options for adding battery storage; battery sizing; backup power; future proofing.
  • Will a battery save me money? – calculating the ‘payback period’ for a battery; typical payback periods in 2017; the bottom line on investing in a battery.
  • Buying a solar battery – what to expect from a quote; choosing an installer; assess your purchasing options; grid connection.
  • Owning a battery – manage and operate your battery; monitoring and maintenance; safety; consumer rights and protections.
  • Additional information – frequently asked questions; glossary of battery-related terms; links to more information; assumptions for our calculations.

Five fact sheets are also available, giving a quick overview of key topics:

 

2017 Presidents Report by Richard Telford

I recognise that there are few other independent groups in our region that have a voice, and stand up for issues that affect our environment. We, as a group, fill a vital role for our wider community. We are facing a very interesting time in our region as we transition to renewables, especially up here in Seymour, with the pumped hydro, wind farm and community solar on the cards.

Looking back over the past year I was surprised to see how much we have taken on and achieved as a group.

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Community owned renewables at the BEAM AGM

We hope you can make it for this years AGM where you can catch up with the BEAM members, our committee and share a delicious locally sourced meal. Renewable energy expert Gavin Ashley will be speaking about the exciting opportunities for community owned renewable project in our region.

Gavin has a lead role at the Moreland Energy Foundation in community energy reduction and renewables strategic work. He is currently working on the feasibility of a 99kW solar system on the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre with the Mitchell Shire and local representatives.

Local chef Jonathan Murphy will be preparing two delicious soups and a vegetarian main using predominantly regional seasonal produce. BYO drinks along with nibbles, side-dish or dessert to share.

Saturday 16th September 2017 from 6pm till 10pm
Anglican Parish Hall in Anzac Ave Seymour –

(located opposite the big black steam train).

Numbers limited so you MUST book in before 9th of September to avoid disappointment.
For bookings contact Peter on 0468 795 954 – email: beam.inc@hotmail.com

Cost: $25 (incl. main meal), children & students $10 – bookings essential. PAYMENT by either: Direct Deposit to BEAM Mitchell Environment Group BSB: 633-000. Account number: 1330-59139 – Include surname and “AGM” in direct deposit payments please!
OR: Cheque made payable to BEAM Mitchell Environment Group. Post to: PO Box 310 Broadford Vic 3658

More about Gavin Ashley

Gavin is an experienced practitioner who has worked in the development and sustainability sectors for well over a decade. A planner by qualification – he holds a post-graduate diploma in Social Science (Planning and Environment). Gavin has a senior role at the non-for-profit Moreland Energy Foundation heading up their consultancy operations and taking a lead role in community energy reduction and renewables strategic work. Gavin project managed the Zero Net Energy Town project, participated in the development and workshop component of the Community Energy Guide for Victorians, is a member of the C4CE Steering Committee and Surf Coast Renewable Energy Taskforce.

Download the BEAM AGM 2017 Invitation

 

Save the date! BEAM AGM dinner: Saturday September 16th

BEAM AGM Dinner: Saturday September 16th

This year’s AGM will be held at the Anglican Parish Hall in Seymour and will feature a guest speaker from the Moreland Energy Foundation on community-owned renewable energy projects. More details to come, but in the meantime you can check out this article from RenewEconomy on the importance of community energy projects.

Please consider joining the BEAM committee: a message from our President, Richard Telford

I recognise that there are few other independent groups in our region that have a voice, and stand up for issues that affect our environment. We, as a group, fill a vital role for our wider community. We are facing a very interesting time in our region as we transition to renewables, especially up here in Seymour, with the pumped hydro, wind farm and community solar on the cards. Once we get this community solar model up and running at the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre, we will have a model that can be replicated around the shire.

I know that everybody is very busy. It comes part and parcel with caring for the world outside of our own households. It’s not easy to find the time to prioritise things that do not immediately affect us, but, we do not live in a bubble. Eventually these bigger picture issues will affect us. What gives me strength is knowing that our small group has such a BIG say in our region. People listen to us because of what we do and what we stand for. We can achieve so much more as a group than we can as individuals, mostly by chipping in just a couple of hours here and there.

We are building fertile soil, and it’s an exciting road ahead. Your energy can make BEAM stronger. Are you in?

The BEAM committee meets every 1-2 months. Meetings are a social, community building event with a shared dinner. We recognise that everyone has skills and knowledge to offer BEAM, and we encourage anyone who might be interested in joining the committee to send us an email to beam.inc@hotmail.com. 

Seymour Structure Plan out for public consultation

A draft of the Seymour Structure Plan will be available for public comment and feedback for six weeks from 31st July to 11th September.  A draft of the Seymour Structure Plan was presented to the Mitchell Shire Councillors for a vote on June 19th.  However, the Councillors wanted more time to review the plan and incorporate some changes and finally endorsed the Draft Seymour Structure Plan to go out on public consultation on 17th July – a good sign that the Councillors are taking their responsibilities very seriously.

Drop in sessions will take place at Chittick Place, Seymour Sports & Aquatic Centre, on:

  • Thursday 3rd August 2pm – 8pm
  • Tuesday 15th August 2pm – 8pm
  • Wednesday 23rd August 10.30am – 4.30pm
  • Thursday 7th September 2pm – 8pm

Documentation will soon be available on the Seymour 3660 website www.seymour3660.com.au.

Sustainable Seymour Network members will be preparing submissions on the plan.  If you have any comments on the Plan, please forward them to Council and also to Peter Mitchell so they can also be considered and added to our submissions.

Plastic bags, plastic packaging and microbead controls- when will our governments provide the leadership the community is crying for?

Plastic waste is a big issue in our community, and perhaps moreso in our oceans for many years… too many years. There is a reluctance for Governments both Federal and State to do their homework and set some tough boundaries on packaging and microbeads with any urgency.

The ABC program War on Waste has generated a flurry of activity in the community around reducing and recycling single use plastic. It seems the community, and now businesses are ahead of the Victorian government, with the big 2 supermarkets Coles and Woolworths announcing last week that they will phase out single use plastic bags over the next 12 months.

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