Trawool Pumped Hydro Electric Storage Update.

19 September. Bob Brown attended a “Climate Change Innovation Market Place Event” in Shepparton. The State Government through DELWP was introducing a new source of funding called the Climate Change Innovation Grants, offering $50 to $300K for co-operative projects that reduced greenhouse emissions and adapted to climate change.

September. Nathan Epp of Goulburn Valley Water made a presentation about the Trawool and Strathbogie schemes to the Intelligent Water Network. IWN is a consortium of VicWater, 18 Victorian water authorities and DELWP to investigate new technologies and innovations to meet common challenges. As a result Michael Wheelahan of DELWP and Andrea Pogue of Goulburn Murray Water were appointed to pursue the projects on behalf of IWN.

26 October. John and Jeff  attended an invitation only Roundtable at Shepparton organised by Peter Hansford of DELWP. They made a 5-minute description of the Trawool project to 250 business people, engineers, etc. expressing our need for a partner. Several organisations have since expressed interest, mainly offering their services.

Peter, John, Bob and Jeff and Euroa reps. have had meetings with Michael and Andrea in which it was decided to apply for funding from the Climate Change Fund. Bob, Jeff, Shirley and Andrea attended a meeting at Wangaratta with the Hume Region team Eloise Seymour and Chelsea Cherry, to discuss the criteria for the application. Work is continuing on the application, which is due on 30 November.

Jeff Wilmot – Secretary Mitchell Community Energy

Campaigns: Live Animal Exports from Brazil

Live animals exports has been a disturbing topic for many years. The stress on land-based  animals shipped across oceans, to a death too often by cruel means and without any compassion for a stressed gets people very emotional. But it continues, and just doesn’t need to exist as a trade.

Brazil has recently announced plans to increase live cattle exports five-fold, and is meeting with opposition from Animals International to highlight the cruelty of animal exports, from Brazil and Australia alike. Continue reading

Mitchell Community Energy

On Thursday 12th October, Mitchell Community Energy Inc. was inaugurated.  This is a big step forward.

The Sustainable Seymour workshops expressed a keen interest in developing community energy projects in Seymour.  We now have at least one very good solar energy project at the SSAC ready to go, a larger pumped-hydro-electricity project at Trawool that we are developing through a series of feasibility studies, and many other ideas.  There is a growing body of information and support for communities seeking to develop community energy projects.

So a small group from the SS Network decided to set up the organisational structures to implement local projects.  Of the many alternatives, the group proposes to:

  1. Set up an incorporated, not-for-profit group – Mitchell Community Energy Inc. – as the vehicle for developing projects.
  2. Set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (a Community Company) to invest in the SSAC project at this stage. Investments will be available to members of MCE.  This will possibly be the model for other projects developed by Mitchell Community Energy Inc.

On 12th October, a meeting at Chittick Place in Seymour was attended by 17 people.  The meeting was well supported by the Council:  Cr Rob Eldridge chaired the meeting and the Mayor Cr Rhonda Sanderson. Cr David Atkinson and Cr Fiona Stevens and program leader Elyse Kelly also attended.  The meeting voted to set up Mitchell Community Energy Inc, and also voted on the Purpose and Rules for the association.  The Purpose of the association is:

To reduce the generation of greenhouse gases in the Mitchell Shire community and develop a greater awareness of climate change issues through a community-based organization that will:

  1. Secure funding from within the communityand elsewhere to undertake renewable energy and energy conservation projects.
  2. Build community participation, empowerment and pride by working together on those projects.
  3. Strengthen the local economy by using local enterprises and labourand capital.
  4. Keep the funds generated by savings in power costs within the community.
  5. Ensure that all members of the community have opportunities to benefit from the projects.

Finally, the meeting nominated Peter Lockyer as President, Jeff Wilmot as Secretary and John Thompson as Treasurer, plus Irene Telford,  Bob Brown and Carol Tullett as committee members.

The new group welcomes memberships and participation.

How to join Mitchell Community Energy Inc.:  Details to follow shortly

 

 

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.

Continue reading

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