Australian news, and some related international items

Community owned solar farm plan for Bacchus Marsh, Victoria

Solar farm proposed for Bacchus Marsh, Melton Weekly, Moorabool Weekly, BY CLAIRE KNOX, 26 Jun, 2012 STATE and federal governments need to encourage smaller-scale community renewable energy (CRE) projects, according to sustainability leaders. They say promoting community-owned models could be the key to engaging the wider public in lowering carbon emissions.

Deb Porter, secretary of Moorabool Environment Group (MEG), said the group was looking at developing a community solar farm in Bacchus Marsh, with people purchasing shares.

“It would generate power for the whole community and could even
generate tourism interest,” she said.

“Power bills would be contained and power and control given back to
the community. Not every roof is suitable for panels. Renters can’t,
for example.”…. Parwan farmer and MEG president Kate Tubbs said she
would give over parts of her land for a solar farm.

“Costs now are hitting people hard. Utility costs are getting to my
mother. If she could put money into solar and get something back she
would be very happy,” she said.

Chief executive of Sustainable Regional Australia Leah Sertori said
large companies had approached her to help them reduce energy

The Castlemaine-based group has set up two 300-kilowatt solar parks in
Ballarat and Bendigo, which pump about 450 megawatt hours of power
back into the grid each year.

“It’s a myth that the only people supportive of CRE are tree-hugging
hippies,” she said.

“We have been working with manufacturing and heavy industry companies
like Keech Castings, which makes mining industry tools in Bendigo, and
they want to shift to renewables and community models.

“In my view, it can’t be resolved between communities and [utility]
companies. It needs government intervention; it would be a David and
Goliath battle, an unfair battle.”

Ms Sertori said the state government should look at community energy
as a vehicle for promoting economic growth. “Environment policies
aside, it makes good business sense,” she said. Brian Lennon, chairman
of community solar farm Ranges Energy, based in Melbourne’s outer
east, said community projects had been proven to foster support for
renewable energy.

He said countries like Denmark and Germany were among the biggest
solar powers worldwide, with the latter employing about 400,000 people
in the sector. “What really kills me is that some of the best
technology for solar and wind is being developed in Australia,” Mr
Lennon said…..

June 26, 2012 - Posted by | solar, Victoria |

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