Mitchell Community Energy update

Mitchell Community Energy Inc. has been quietly active this year.  The following report from John Thompson and Peter Lockyer covers some of the action:

Karingal. MCE is pleased to see the 99kWh solar system on Karingal turned on and providing this important community facility savings of more than $25,000 per annum. MCE conducted the feasibility work, developed the specifications, prepared the tender process and evaluated the resulting tenders, and recommended a financial solution. A local firm, Eko Solar, installed the system.

Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre. MCE also worked with Mitchell Shire Council on a similar sized solar project for the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre. Work on the installation of this project (again by another local firm) will be undertaken very soon.

“Renewables in Seymour- Open for Business”. A networking evening with the Mitchell business community to explore renewable energy opportunities will be held on July 4th at Wine X Sam. This function, funded under DELWP’s Mini Grant program, will not only encourage the uptake of renewable energy among local businesses, but will also increase MCE’s exposure across the shire. Geoff Lodge from GVCE says “if you haven’t got renewables, you are paying too much for your electricity”. Finance for such commercial installations has never been easier. MCE is the Project leader, and BEAM and Seymour Business & Tourism are project partners in this event.

Two MCE members attended the Hume Region Energy Workshops for Business event in Shepparton May 7th. This is a bigger version of our planned event on July 4th, but it was an inspiring afternoon. There are some exciting renewable projects in action. 2026 should see renewables generate as much power as fossil-fuelled power stations, and 2032 could see us on 100% renewables….with the correct policy settings and a big effort.

Preliminary discussions have been held with Ausnet on the feasibility of a large solar farm, and further information will be provided if there are any reasonable prospects of such a project.

Street Trees in Seymour to ease Climate Change stress. MCE submitted a creative project for an exciting urban greening project for Seymour under the Victorian Government’s Climate Change Adaptation Grants Program. The project would provide a range of significant benefits. In addition to helping the Seymour community cope with a hotter, drier environment, it would be centred on a community education program on climate change. The project would also provide biodiversity benefits, and would add value to properties in the town. MCE will know in July whether the grant application is successful.

PHES. Pumped hydro is at the top of the DELWP list of renewable project action in Victoria, and the pumped hydro scheme at Trawool is still under consideration. Peter Lockyer discussed it with Len Gill, board chair of Infigen, at the sod turning event for the Cherry Tree wind farm (awaiting a response), and further discussions are under way with water authorities. Watch this space.

MCE has been part of, and attended meetings of, a group of community energy organisations in north east Victoria. It is an inspiring group, undertaking some impressive projects in a number of towns, and the group is working on the establishment of a community retailer of electricity in the region, Indigo Power

While the Commonwealth Government has dithered and done very little in the development of renewable energy policy, there are exciting things happening at the local and state levels.

In the election campaign in its later days, the Prime Minister is trying to take credit for the expansion of renewables, yet the Coalition has done little to assist this growth for 6 years!

If you would like to be part of this stimulating challenge, please join us. It’s great to be part of making tomorrow. Just contact Jeff Wilmot on jlwilmot@activ8.net.au

John Thompson and Peter Lockyer

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