Bright Futures Renewable Energy Project

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The Bright Futures Renewable Energy project is a council initiative to identify and investigate the opportunities for delivering long-term renewable energy solutions for the region. The aim of the project was to increase the use and production of renewable energy in East Gippsland.

The project received Victorian a New Energy Jobs Fund grant. The final business case report outlines the findings from the three prioritised pilot programs being:

1. The Multisite Feasibility Study (MSFS)

2. Solar Bulk Buy

3. Energy Information Hub

Bright Futures Renewable Energy Project is funded by the Victorian Government Victorian Climate Change Grants and New Energy Jobs Fund.

The Bright Futures Renewable Energy project is a council initiative to identify and investigate the opportunities for delivering long-term renewable energy solutions for the region. The aim of the project was to increase the use and production of renewable energy in East Gippsland.

The project received Victorian a New Energy Jobs Fund grant. The final business case report outlines the findings from the three prioritised pilot programs being:

1. The Multisite Feasibility Study (MSFS)

2. Solar Bulk Buy

3. Energy Information Hub

Bright Futures Renewable Energy Project is funded by the Victorian Government Victorian Climate Change Grants and New Energy Jobs Fund.

  • Gippsland Community Energy Leadership Training (Nov 2020 - Feb 2021) FREE

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    Take advantage of this free training.

    Community energy projects can benefit the Gippsland region by providing jobs, financial returns, a greater sense of community connection and environmental benefits. We have developed an online learning program to help the Gippsland community to participate in community energy projects with greater confidence, support and impact.

    Are you interested in supporting community energy in Gippsland? Do you want to build your leadership skills?

    The online learning program is open to anyone from the Gippsland region who is interested in learning more about community energy projects and how to make them happen.

    There will be six sessions. These will build on each other to create a learning journey, so you will get the most benefit if you attend all the sessions. However, you can choose to attend as many or as few as you want.

    1. Getting started: A map for the journey. An introduction to community energy and the stages in the journey to make a community energy project happen. What does it mean to be a community energy leader (12 noon - 1.30pm, Tuesday 24th November)
    2. First steps: Building your community. This session focuses on how to bring together a core team, engage the wider community and develop a shared vision for your community energy project (12 noon - 2pm, Tuesday 1st December).
    3. Finding your way: Making tough decisions. Moving from a great idea to a feasible community energy project requires making tough decisions about technologies, site, governance and organisational models. This session focuses on how to approach those decisions (12 noon - 2pm, Tuesday 8th December).
    4. Funding the journey: Business cases and fundraising. Community energy projects are fuelled by passion but they need to work financially too. This session looks at business models, business cases and fundraising (12 noon - 2pm, Tuesday 2nd February 2021).
    5. Destination in sight: Approvals and operation. This session explores how to navigate approval processes, the construction phase and operation of the community energy project (12 noon - 2pm, Tuesday 9th February 2021).
    6. Looking back, looking forward: Celebrating the journey. This short final session reflects on what we have learned, celebrates the journey and seeks feedback on next steps for community energy leadership in Gippsland (12.30pm - 1.30pm, Tuesday 16th February 2021).

    Book here for FREE training being run the the University of Technology Sydney (UTS): https://events.humanitix.com/gippsland-community-energy-leadership#

    The course will be presented by Professor Chris Riedy, Katie Ross and Fiona Berry from the Institute for Sustainable Futures. Click on their names to see their profiles.

  • Electric vehicle study: charging the regions

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    East Gippsland Shire Council is one of 54 Regional and metropolitan councils across Victoria that have come together to better understand their role in providing or facilitating public electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the state.

    The Charging the Regions project recognised the niche role local governments have in supporting public charging for electric vehicles, particularly in regional and rural areas where top up and destination charging is important. A number of councils across Victoria have or are beginning to install and encourage EV charging points in their communities. This project recognises the opportunities for alignment between councils to ensure the best strategic outcome for communities, councils, businesses and EV drivers.

    The Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance led the project on behalf of 43 regional councils, 11 metropolitan councils, the Goulburn Broken Greenhouse Alliance, the Western Alliance for Greenhouse Action, the Eastern Alliance for Greenhouse Action and the Electric Vehicle Council of Australia. The project was funded through $60,000 from local governments and an additional $40,000 funding from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP).

    The final project report has been finalised and is available here.

    The Charging the Regions project undertook a study for participating regional, rural and metropolitan Councils across Victoria to:

    1. Provide guidance to councils on the factors relevant to the placement of the various types of charging stations and costing for alternative charge station network options, including considerations of technical effectiveness, impact on the local economy, attractiveness to users and community desire to participate.
    2. Understand role of local government in charging infrastructure including options for different ownership models and options to coordinate the maintenance and management of the statewide network once installed.
    3. Understand the opportunities for ongoing collaboration in a statewide roll out

    The consultants from Ndevr Environmental undertook the work.

    The first phase of the project is now complete and work is underway to apply the project findings within East Gippsland.

  • Cann River Nursing Home Community Solar Donation

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    The not-for-profit Cann Valley Bush Nursing Centre has received a 3.4kW solar system made possible through East Gippsland Shire Council’s Solar Bulk Buy program. The program offered the opportunity for community organisations to apply to receive a free 3.4kW solar system valued at about $4,000.

    The solar donation represented one per cent of total sales achieved as part of the program.

    The total system size installed on 27 May 2020 was 10kW, with the bush nursing centre self-funding the difference to upgrade the system to better account for their daily electricity consumption.

    Photo: Michael O’Brien (chairperson of the Board) with newly installed solar system above.

    "Cann River Bush Nursing Centre was selected on the strength of its application from a field of 31 other local not-for-profits located in the municipality," Mayor Cr John White said.

    "The great news is that the bush nursing centre could see the value in upgrading the donation to a 10kW solar system, using $8,000 of its own money, to assist in covering its daytime energy use. It’s anticipated the installation of this solar system will reduce the organisation’s power consumption by about half," Cr White said. "The Bush Nursing Centre provides a vitally important service to the Cann River community, and reduced electricity bills will mean providing that service will be a little easier. Reduced operating costs means the centre can support other essential services."

    The donation was made available from Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF) and eko energy. Yarra Energy Foundation is the Council’s project partner in the solar bulk buy and eko energy is a Victorian provider of solar and energy storage services that specialises in delivering solar bulk buys to communities.

    Council would like to thank the 31 other community organisations who applied, and to take note of councils community small grants which can be accessed to implement simple energy efficient and solar options. Examples might be swapping over to LED lighting, using air-sourced heat pumps for hot water supply linked to solar systems to heat during the day. Time consuming but simple steps such as swapping electricity retailers can yield savings too.

    Further information: Wayne Burton, Sustainability Project Planner


  • Gippsland Smart Futures webinar series (6 May to 15 July)

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    The Gippsland Smart Futures Series is a free 6-part webinar series exploring Gippsland’s renewable energy future.

    The topics showcase upcoming large-scale energy developments; our local communities and sporting groups who are embracing new opportunities; to providing webinars on practical talks about financing your own community energy projects; or what opportunities are out there for you to the increase energy efficiency within your home.

    Participants will have the chance to learn more about what is happening locally, be inspired by projects within the region and ask panelists questions at each webinar.

    Register for the Webinar Series:

    • 1: Large-scale Renewable Energy Projects (6 May)
    • 2: Local Community Energy Hubs (20 May)
    • 3: Township Models of Community Energy (3 June)
    • 4: Financing Community Energy Solutions (17 June)
    • 5: Community Energy for Sporting Clubs (1 July)
    • 6: Home Energy Solutions (15 July)

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  • Gippsland Community Energy Forum

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    Tuesday 26 November, 12 midday to 4.30pm

    Lunch and afternoon tea included.

    This is a networking and peer learning opportunity for Community organisations, from across Gippsland, involved in or wanting to explore community energy.

    Groups already involved in community energy projects will be invited to share the what, how, why and who of their work. Or for groups that wish to become involved or extend their capacity will be invited to share what they need to enable them to do so.


    The forum will include presentations on exciting innovations in the Community Energy space in Gippsland including:

    • A Community Energy Investment Fund
    • The Southern CORE Fund for donations and no-interest loans
    • Community-centred planning approaches that enable communities to co-design their energy futures
    • Feasibility assessments that enable design of renewable energy generation to match whole town demand from single site to multiple sites
    • An energy brokering platform to facilitate transactions between community scale energy generation and local customers
    • A presentation on the review of the three Community Power Hubs

    This event is being co-hosted by the Latrobe Valley Authority and the Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub.

    Venue to be confirmed will be in central Gippsland. More information and registration details to follow.

    For further information please contact: Moragh Mackay on Moragh.mackay@ecodev.vic.gov.au

  • Community Solar Donation - CLOSED

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    East Gippsland Shire Council has received 31 nominations from community not for profit organisations to receive a free fully installed 3 to 4kW grid connected solar system. Applications have NOW CLOSED. For every solar system sold in the East Gippsland Shire Solar Bulk Buy a percentage was donated to install solar on a local community facility.

    Download the application form.

    Eligibility includes:

    • Must be a not for profit organisation delivering services to an East Gippsland community.
    • Power bills must be paid by the organisation (not a government authority).
    • Site must be owned by the organisation or operating under a Committee of Management.
    • Permission to install solar must been obtained from the owner of the building prior to application.
    • The building must be solar ready i.e., suitable roof (north facing, no shading with a weight bearing capacity that can carry solar), appropriate meter and electrical wiring. Note: electrical and meterboard upgrades are outside the scope of the installation.
    • Submission of 12 months of power bills.
    • DUE 5pm Wednesday 31 July 2019
  • Community Renewable Grants: Bank Australia $25,000

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    Community Renewable Grants: Bank Australia

    Bank Australia have announced a one-off $25,000 grant for projects working to scale up and enhance community renewable energy.

    Applications close 12 April 2019.

    More information and guidelines.


  • Refrigeration Efficiency Masterclass

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    Local businesses across East Gippsland are invited to attend a free Refrigeration Efficiency Masterclass on Thursday 25 October 2018, at The Hub, 27 Dalmahoy Street in Bairnsdale.

    It is estimated there are over 65,000 walk-in cool rooms in Victoria, potentially wasting up to 25% energy. The masterclass will offer businesses practical and cost-effective ideas on how their business can achieve energy efficient and reliable operation of their refrigeration equipment.

    The training will benefit businesses or organisations that own, operate or maintain walk-in cool rooms and provide practical real-world examples including:

    How to reduce energy costs

    Tips for working with your refrigeration contractor

    What to consider when upgrading

    For further information and to register visit the Sustainability Victoria website or East Gippsland Shire Council’s Bright Futures page on Your Say.

    Register to attend the free Refrigeration Efficiency Masterclass on Thursday 25 October 2018, at The Hub, 27 Dalmahoy Street in Bairnsdale.

    All welcome.

    Further information: Rebecca Lamble, Sustainability Officer


  • East Gippsland Electricity Snapshot 2016/17

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    An infographic has been produced to help explain the electricity situation in East Gippsland. It is based on data from the Technical Report Bright Futures Renewable Energy Project 2017 authored by ITP Renewables Australia.

    In summary, East Gippsland draws 265,000 mega-watt hours (MWh) a year from the National Energy Market (or NEM for short), and puts in 18,500 mWh from rooftop solar, and 30% of electricity is used by houses.


  • East Gippsland Shire Solar Bulk Buy

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    East Gippsland residents and businesses can take advantage of bulk buying rates for solar technology through a new initiative being launched this Thursday.

    The East Gippsland Shire Solar Bulk Buy program, which will run for 12 months, aims to increase the availability of solar in the region. In addition, for every system sold a percentage will be donated to install solar on a local community facility.

    The program was launched at 6pm on Thursday 7 June 2018 at The Hub in Dalmahoy Street, Bairnsdale and 70-80 people attended. The launch also doubled as an information session for people interested in learning more about the program.

    Information sessions will also be held in Mallacoota, Lakes Entrance, Orbost, Omeo and Bendambra in June and July.

    A session specifically for the business community will be held in Bairnsdale; however, business owners are welcome to attend their nearest session.

    A bulk buy offers discounted prices for respected solar brands, due to the volume of sales. Yarra Energy Foundation will co-ordinate the rooftop solar installation (and battery storage), making it cheaper and more accessible to the community.

    A council requirement is to use local installers to install systems sold through the program.

    Details of the other two-hour information sessions are:

    • Bairnsdale (launch): Thursday 7 June, from 6pm at The Hub, Dalmahoy Street
    • Lakes Entrance: Thursday 21 June, from 5pm at council offices, 55 Palmers Road
    • Orbost: Thursday 5 July, from 5pm at Orbost Customer Service Centre, 1 Ruskin Street
    • Mallacoota: Friday 6 July, from 12.30-2.30pm Service Centre, 70 Maurice Avenue Mallacoota
    • Business session: Wednesday 18 July, from 5pm at Bairnsdale Library, 22 Service Street
    • Benambra: Tuesday 17 July, from 1-3pm at Benambra Neighbourhood House, 34 Gibbo Street
    • Omeo: Tuesday 17 July, from 5pm at Old Soldiers Memorial Hall, 179 Day Street

    At the information sessions, Yarra Energy Foundation and Jim’s Energy will give an overview of solar panels along with commercial and home battery systems available for purchase. They will answer questions on the available options.

    Solar energy has been recognised as an important way of reducing the impact of power prices while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Both are key council objectives.

    In 2017, council’s Bright Futures Renewable Energy Project looked to identify opportunities for delivering long-term renewable energy solutions.

    Following consultation with business, government and the broader community via workshops, interviews and a shire-wide survey, a range of options were recommended for East Gippsland.

    Key findings of the project were:

    • 85% of survey respondents indicated they were concerned about the cost of electricity
    • 88% of community respondents consider that East Gippsland needs to shift to renewable energy
    • 73% of respondents believed it was "very important" that council assist with a solar bulk buy

    For more information on the East Gippsland Shire Solar Bulk Buy program or to register your interest phone 1300 866 634 or visit www.eastgippslandbulkbuy.com.au.