Renewable Energy for Benalla is conducting an energy audit to identify options to assist Benalla businesses to
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From the Benalla Ensign, Wednesday September 20, 2017
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.
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.
Renewable Energy for Benalla Action Group
The REB Action Group was established from self-nominated interested members of the community who
attended the Benalla Renewable Energy Future Forum in October 2016.
The REB Action Group will work in collaboration with the community and relevant organisations to achieve the following objectives:
• Promote energy efficiency and reduce energy use within the community
• Create awareness, promotion and support for renewable energy by the community
• Develop a Future Energy Plan for Benalla to transition to zero net energy
• Achieve a significant increase in local renewable energy generation
• Keep increased financial benefits locally
As well as these major objectives the REB Action Group has developed an Action Plan which identifies key tasks to be achieved over the next 6 months and the members who are to undertake the tasks.
The REB Action Group will make regular reports to the community.
Beyond Zero Emissions Support
Benalla has been selected as one of the three Victorian communities to be part of the BZE Zero Carbon
Communities Project. BZE will support Benalla to develop a 10 year 100% renewable energy transition strategy in the energy use and building sectors. BZE will work with our community over the next 10 months (until October) to develop this strategy.
The BZE contribution will include:
• Developing a baseline of emissions across energy consumption and buildings
• Two community engagement workshops, one of which will focus on businesses
• Reports for potential for renewable technologies in the region.
New Energy Jobs Fund
BSFG (REB), with the support of Benalla Rural City Council, (which includes a co-contribution of $20,000 if successful), has applied to the Victorian government's New Energy Jobs Fund for $50,000 to fund the development of a Benalla Future Energy Plan which will outline how to achieve becoming a zero net energy town by:
• Following the established Z-Net Blueprint least cost approach. (for further information see www.z-net.org.au
*Identifying the characteristics of Benalla and the community and existing energy use.• Defining current and likely future energy requirements
• Identifying options for reducing energy use.
• Investigating which renewable energy options are feasible, viable and desirable by the community
and therefore will work best in Benalla.
• Assisting low income households, renters and businesses to invest in energy efficiencies and
access renewable energy opportunities.
• Undertaking two feasibility studies for renewable energy projects which can be replicated for
additional future projects (small and large scale opportunities).
Renewable Energy for Benalla - Council approval of joint application with BSFG to the New Energy Jobs Fund for feasibility study
The Planning and Development Committee meeting of Benalla Council on Wednesday 25th January approved making a joint application with BSFG to the New Energy Jobs Fund for funding to conduct a feasibility study of renewable energy options for Benalla and the preparation of a Future Energy Plan.
Council also agreed to make a co-contribution of $20,000 if the application is successful. The financial matter was passed with the support of councillors Barbara Alexander, Peter Davis and Scott Upton.
Those two matters were the recommendations from Larissa Montgomery’s very comprehensive report to council. John Lloyd, BSFG President, would like to thank Larissa for all her work on this and to thank all those members of BSFG who came to the meeting to show their support for Larissa, himself and the Renewable Energy for Benalla project.
Note - If you would like to read Larissa's report you will find it by opening this link to the Agenda for the Meeting starting on page 10.
A Community Forum was held in October to discuss a future clean energy plan for Benalla. Ninety people attended to hear about the benefits of community owned renewable energy and to hear how other towns were planning for a renewable energy future.
Community renewable energy projects strengthen local economies by:
Following presentations by the guest speakers, attendees were asked to form small groups to discuss what they saw as the key opportunities and challenges of exploring a renewable energy project for Benalla. Groups recorded their ideas which will be used as the basis for planning a renewable energy future for Benalla.
A Renewable Energy Working Party has been formed to progress the project of developing a future renewable energy plan for Benalla and has established the following key objectives:
A submission for funding to support this project will be made to the Victorian government's New Energy Jobs Fund. The second funding round is now open and will close on March 1st .
Source: BSFG Newsletter, December 2016
A very successful Renewable Energy Forum was held at BPACC with over 90 people attending. The forum was facilitated by Cath Botta from The Regional Development Company Wangaratta.
BSFG President John Lloyd introduced the forum then called upon Steph Ryan, Deputy Leader of the Nationals and Member of the Legislative Assembly seat of Euroa to officially open the forum.
The forum then heard from the invited guest speakers,
Taryn Lane - Embark and advisor to Coalition for Community Energy
Mathew Charles-Jones - Totally Renewable Yackandandah and
Gavin Ashley - Moreland Energy Foundation.
John Lloyd and each of the speakers presentations can be viewed and downloaded by clicking on their linked names above.
A number of times presenters pointed out that the transition to a renewable energy future will be assisted by using less energy, by increasing energy efficiency, then by evaluating renewable energy generation capabilities in the region.
Cath Botta then asked the forum to break into small groups to consider and discuss a number of questions and to write down key ideas coming out of this. Each group then gave a brief report on their ideas.
John Lloyd concluded the forum with the Next Steps in the Benalla Renewable Energy Project.
Establish A Community Working Party
Community members needed to form a working party to move this project forward.
Beneficial to have a range of backgrounds including some business/commercial.
Working party to keep community informed of progress.
Complete A Funding Application
Benalla Sustainable Future Group with council support to apply for funding from New Energy Jobs Fund – early 2017. Community input important.
Funding would be to conduct a feasibility study of renewable energy options for Benalla and to develop a Future Energy Plan for Benalla.
John Lloyd thanked those involved in assisting with the forum, in particular the support from Benalla Rural City Council and Larissa Montgomery, Councils Environmental Sustainability Coordinator.
BSFG President John Lloyd introducing the forum on October 18.
Benalla Sustainable Future Group is organising a community forum to discuss a 100% renewable energy future for Benalla.
While a significant number of households and businesses in Benalla have installed rooftop solar panels, it is time to look towards becoming a clean energy community. This would mean that Benalla would no longer rely on fossil fuel based energy which is a major contributor to green-house gas emissions.
The community forum will consider the development of a renewable energy future for Benalla. Guest speakers will explain how other towns are planning for a renewable energy future, the benefits of community renewable energy, and what some of the options are for Benalla. Community members will be invited to provide input into the discussion and also invited to get involved in shaping a future clean energy plan for Benalla.
This is an important development for the Benalla community and I would encourage everyone to attend the public forum and become involved in helping to develop a future clean energy plan for Benalla.
I have attached a publicity flyer about the forum. Please pass this information on to others who may be interested. Or you can download the flyer here, Community Energy Forum Flyer.
President, Benalla Sustainable Future group
Report referencing BSFG Community Energy Presentation to be considered by council on Wednesday 15 June after 6 pm.
BSFG recently made a presentation to council about community renewable energy, including seeking support from council to apply for funding from the New Energy Jobs Fund to develop a Future Energy Plan for Benalla.
The council asked Larissa Montgomery and Veronica Schilling to write a report which will be presented to the Policy and Development Committee on Wednesday 15th June. The report is very detailed and very positive and well worth reading.
This report is included in the agenda documents for the Policy & Development committee meeting of June 15th (refer pages 20 to 26) on the council website, The recommendations in the report are very positive.
This meeting is a public meeting, as was the meeting in May when I made the presentation on behalf of BSFG. I was overwhelmed by the number of BSFG members who came along to that meeting to support the presentation.
The meeting on Wednesday 15th is another important meeting as the council's Policy & Development committee will decide whether they accept the recommendations and what actions they will take.
Once again I believe it would be a good idea if some members of BSFG were in attendance to hear the discussion and the decision that council makes about this issue.
The report is the third item on the agenda and should be discussed shortly after 6 pm. If you intend to go to hear the discussion and the decision you should probably arrive by 6 pm or very shortly after. The meeting will take place in the Council Chambers in Mair Street.
Regular updates on sustainability issues of concern to BSFG members in Benalla and North East Victoria and on key events in the BSFG calendar.
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of North East Victoria, and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.