The Renewable Energy for Benalla (REB) Action Group is currently planning a workshop on reducing energy costs for business. REB has been working closely with Benalla Business Network, Catherine Macmillan, Business Development Coordinator for Benalla council, and Sustainability Victoria to plan this workshop.
REB has developed a questionnaire to survey energy use by business that will be distributed through the
Business Network. This will provide some base line data on energy use in the business/industry sector and will help with planning of the workshop.
REB members have started to make some preliminary investigations about a suitable community energy
Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) Involvement
At the recent EcoCity World Summit in Melbourne, BZE launched the Zero Carbon Communities Guide in which REB features, as do the other two communities BZE is working with, Baw Baw and Nillimbuk. attended the launch as did representatives from the other two communities.
REB has recently received the first draft of a ten year transition strategy to 100% renewable energy. There is much work to be done on this document before it is finalised.
The next meeting of Benalla Sustainable Future Group will be held on Thursday 24th August at 7:30pm in the meeting room at the Uniting Church, Carrier Street, Benalla.
The guest speaker will be Michael Staindl from Beyond Zero Emissions whose topic will be ‘Climate Change: the Bad the Good and You.’ Michael, who has degrees in Nuclear Physics, Computing and Biomedical Instrumentation, considers himself a 'tech-head', and when he had his OMG moment about climate change some years ago he initially thought the problem could be solved through exciting new technologies. However he quickly realised that while we had the technical technologies to solve the problem we didn't have the 'soft' technologies - the attitudes and thinking capability.
Michael's presentation will cover the reality of where we are with Climate Change, touch on some of the positive efforts to address it, then introduce concepts such as cognitive dissonance and wicked problems to try to understand why we are not facing this existential crisis.
Michael now works full time on climate action and is a producer of the Beyond Zero Emissions community radio program.
As part of the involvement of Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) we had a successful workshop on May 1st jointly conducted with Imogen Jubb from BZE involving a number of local stakeholders with an interest in renewable energy, including businesses and agencies.
There were presentations from Totally Renewable Yackandandah and the Strathbogie Pumped Hydro Project as well as input from government agencies and Ausnet Services. A Baseline Emissions Report for Benalla that had been prepared by BZE was also presented.
Many ideas about possible actions to eliminate emissions in Benalla were put forward under the three headings of: Buildings and Energy Efficiency; Solar and Community Energy; Utility Scale and Storage. These ideas will form the basis of a transition strategy to 100% renewable energy.
REB has been discussing a communication strategy to connect with the community. The development of a website and design of a logo are seen to be important parts of this strategy. We have applied for a Climate Action Network Australia grant to fund these developments.
REB is also interested in making contact with youth and will seek assistance from Benalla Council's Youth Project Coordinator.
We are also seeking to make contact with the Benalla developer who has a permit for a new housing development on the old woollen mill site. We would like to talk to him about the possibility of making this a 'model' development for solar access and energy efficient homes.
This report was originally published in Benalla Sustainable Future Group's May Newsletter.
Regular updates on sustainability issues of concern to BSFG members in Benalla and North East Victoria and on key events in the BSFG calendar.