Victorian Community Power Hub Groups Announced

Community Power Hubs - Victoria

Image: Bendigo Sustainability Group via Facebook

Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change has announced host organisations for pilot community power hubs, plus renewable energy and energy efficiency funding for resource-strapped regional councils.

Lily D’Ambrosio named Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE) and Bendigo Sustainability Group (BSG) as the successful Community Power Hubs (CPH) host groups yesterday.

An initiative announced earlier this year, the aim of the $900,000 pilot program is to help communities in accessing the skills and expertise needed to research, plan, develop, fund and construct community-owned renewable energy projects.

Both BREAZE and BSG will work to co-ordinate and facilitate the development and growth of community renewables in their respective areas; stimulating investment in their regions and creating jobs while also driving down energy bills and emissions. Each group will be directly supported by a Sustainability Victoria employee.

Another Community Power Hub will be established in Latrobe Valley and pending the outcome of the pilot, the Victorian Government is considering expanding the program throughout the state.

Projects developed under the initiative will contribute towards the Victorian Government’s renewable energy target of 40 per cent by 2025. When the state’s target was announced in June last year, around 14 per cent of Victoria’s electricity was being sourced from renewables.

Other support for community renewables under Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan include decreasing the regulatory burden for such projects.

Renewables Cash For Councils

Also announced yesterday was a new $3.4 million fund that will assist 22 regional councils with energy efficiency and renewable energy upgrades to their buildings and other community facilities. The Minister stated retrofits could save the average council more than $10,000 annually, money that could be re-routed to the provision of extra services in their communities.

“Between now and 2020 we’ll be helping councils and communities take action that could help reduce their energy consumption between 20 to 50 per cent,” said Minister D’Ambrosio.

Councils throughout Australia have increasingly embraced renewables, particularly solar power, as a way to tackle emissions and slash electricity costs. Some of the efforts we’ve recently covered include those of Tamworth, Bellingen, Eurobodalla, Lismore and Bathurst councils.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

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