TRY Wins Rural Councils Of Victoria Award For Energy Efforts

Totally Renewable Yackandandah

Image: Indigo Shire Council

Totally Renewable Yackandandah has scored another award, winning the Saving Energy category of the Community Innovators Awards at the Rural Councils of Victoria Summit.

Yackandandah is a small town in northeast Victoria, home to around 1,800; but with a big reputation on the renewables scene.

Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) was launched in 2014 with the ambitious goal of attaining “energy sovereignty” for the town by 2022 through 100% renewables. The group has been working to improve energy efficiency and install solar and battery systems across the community.

To date, TRY has added more than 550kW of solar PV to the Yackandandah area, along with 160 Ubi controllers that provide real time data to users about their energy consumption habits. The controllers also form an important part of the town’s “mini-grid”, launched in December.

More than 40% of the town’s rooftops now boast solar panels.

The last time I checked in on Yackandandah’s postcode (3749, also shared by Bruarong) in September last year, the area had more than 267 small scale solar power systems installed (as at August 1), representing just over 1MW of capacity. According to the most recent data from Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, that has now grown to 368+ systems and 1.56MW capacity.

“The town just keeps kicking goals in the sustainability area,” said an Indigo Shire Council post on Facebook.

Indigo Shire Mayor Cr Jenny O’Connor accepted the award on behalf of TRY. Last year, TRY won the Banksia Foundation’s 2017 Sustainable & Resilient Communities Award.

TRY isn’t resting on its laurels as a lot more work needs to be done in order to achieve its 100% renewables goal. Also in its sights is establishing a community energy retailer, and it’s currently offering a solar hot water bulk buy deal for residents.

As well as progress within the Yack community, the group’s efforts have inspired other communities throughout the state and across the country.

In October last year, Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, called for more funding for community energy projects throughout Australia and introduced the Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017 to Parliament. It appears not much has happened with Ms. McGowan’s Bill since that time.

In March, Ms. McGowan launched the first in a series of case studies in community action, relating to the renewable energy revolution in her electorate that features Yackandandah’s project.

A 2016 poll indicated 85% of Indi voters support Australia transitioning to 100% renewable energy by 2030.

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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