The Economic and Industry Development Forum held on Tuesday, April 29 in Wangaratta has been hailed a success as business and local government investigate ways to cut energy costs and reduce carbon emissions.
Federal Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, was pleased the forum brought together people from across industry, small business and local government to network and gather information on programs relating to low-cost energy.
Addressing 30 attendees at the Wangaratta council chambers, Ms McGowan spoke about the need for planning around energy and businesses to capitalise on new and emerging technology and financing arrangements for the installation of low-emission electricity production.
"Energy supply is going to be critical for sustainable manufacturing and agriculture across Indi into the future and I’m talking about the next 50 years,” Ms McGowan said.
“Electricity price rises are predicted in coming years, so I’m very interested in how Indi can benefit from the funding and financing which is available relating to energy.
“Businesses are always looking to cut costs and reducing their energy bill is one area they can focus on and still grow their business into the future.”
Ms McGowan said the idea for an Economic and Industry Development Forum had grown following a meeting with Clean Energy Finance Corporation CEO Oliver Yates in Canberra.
Speakers included representatives from AusIndustry, Pacific Hydro, Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Commonwealth Bank agribusiness arm.
Pacific Hydro’s Andrew Richards told the gathering the cost of electricity distribution comprised about 65 per cent of an electricity bill and this could be significantly reduced with solar panel installation, the cost of which is falling. He said huge in-roads were also being made to improve solar power storage and this would soon make solar self-generation an even more viable option for business.
“I spoke to many people after the forum and they all felt the information was relevant and there is a desire to reduce the carbon footprint if it can be done in a cost-effective way,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan is looking forward to meeting again in coming months and is asking participants to consider the options for taking an Indi-wide approach to clean energy generation.