Local, Independant and Effective

Towards a Totally Renewable Indi

A case study in community action (March 2018)

Indi communities are leading the charge toward our renewable energy future.

Energy that is:

  • Affordable
  • Reliable
  • Good for the local economy
  • Great for our environment

HOW ARE WE TRACKING?

The world is rapidly moving towards a clean energy future and Indi is helping to lead this positive change. Download the case study

Electricity generated from non-renewable, finite resources (e.g. coal) is being replaced by electricity generated from renewable sources. Renewable energy is produced using natural resources - solar energy, wind energy, and hydropower.

Renewable energy sources allow households and businesses to generate electricity, use what they need, and sell the excess.

This energy revolution has been emerging for decades. Osbornes Flat resident Susan Reynolds installed her first solar hot water system 40 years ago and a solar PV system in the mid-2000’s. She is one of Indi’s early adopters of renewable energy.

We are now seeing large solar PV systems being installed at many major businesses across Indi, including Mars Petcare in Wodonga. Commercial solar farms greater than 1 MW are also at various stages of development. Commercial investment in the renewable energy sector makes good financial sense, and commercial-scale projects are helping to increase generation and supply of renewable energy in Indi.

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WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS?

A number of major barriers to the development of community energy projects in Indi have been identified and need to be urgently addressed, including:

  • Community energy is not adequately recognised in Federal Government policy.
  • Government funding for community energy is currently insufficient – it lacks national strategy and coordination, is sporadic and unpredictable, and the application process is a burden on community projects driven by volunteers.
  • Recognition is needed of the barriers to effective pricing practices - by better reflecting solar grid parity and the efficiency of locally generated renewable energy.
  • Lack of support for Community Energy Retailers is limiting the potential value of mini grids - accessibility to the National Electricity Market (NEM) remains a barrier preventing community energy projects from accessing top-up power.
  • The current capacity of the power distribution network is a concern - cross subsidisation of rural areas, peak load and threats from bushfires are having an impact on power security and viability.
  • Viability of a community energy project often depends on access to storage - be it battery or pumped-hydro. The government has a role in subsidising and supporting investment in storage technologies.

 

WORKING TOGETHER TO CREATE A CLEAN ENERGY FUTURE FOR INDI 

Over 30% of Indi households have already installed solar PV systems, double the Victorian average[1]. And that’s just part of the story...

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HOW CAN WE GET THERE TOGETHER FASTER?

‘It’s time to unleash the power of communities to address local energy needs and security’[2]

Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) is paving the way for community energy in Indi. Their ‘blueprint’ could be expanded across the electorate, where community energy projects connect with and support each other. But communities can’t do it on their own in a largely volunteer capacity, and nor should they. Strategic support provided to communities can go a long way. Modelling indicates that every dollar of government investment in community energy can leverage $10-$17 of community investment.[3] The community, government and industry can help fast-track Indi’s totally renewable future in the following ways:

COMMUNITY

1. Participate in community energy projects across Indi

  • Indi residents can initiate community conversations, attend workshops, join a committee, and sign up to a program offering subsidised solar panels and batteries

2. Increase collaboration with other community energy projects

  • Community energy projects can share information with and learn from other projects throughout Indi by participating in forums such as the Indi Energy Working Group

3. Increase lobbying of your local governments for stronger leadership on renewable energy

  • Includes increased support for community energy projects

GOVERNMENT

4. Introduce a National Energy Policy

  • Bipartisan and nationally-coordinated to provide long term certainty at the policy level
  • Agreed Renewable Energy Targets (RET)
  • Recognise community energy for addressing energy supply, cost, and sustainability issues
  • Recognise mini grid models (such as TRY) as a legitimate mechanism for energy supply

5. Improve and increase support to community energy projects and Community Energy Retailers

  • Enable community energy projects to access the National Electricity Market (NEM)
  • Support Community Energy Retailers to allow mini grids to access top-up power from other sources
  • Improve Federal – State Government alignment and coordination of funding for community energy projects, to reduce the administrative burden on what are essentially volunteer run initiatives

6. Increase stimulus for renewable energy infrastructure developments

  • Large solar PV farms and battery storage, pumped hydro (Indi pumped storage and Snowy Hydro 2.0), and transmission linkages to release renewable energy to South Australia and Victoria from Snowy 2.0

INDUSTRY

 7. Increase investment in commercial renewable energy projects in Indi

  • Large solar PV systems such as Burder Industries Wangaratta (325 kW), Kane Road Wodonga Solar (198 kW), and Bupa Wodonga (100 kW)[4] are leading the way on carbon emission reductions, slashing industry electricity bills, and helping to fast track Indi’s transition to renewable energy

8. Strengthen partnerships with community energy projects in Indi

  • Industry financial support, innovation, and expertise are vital to the success of community energy projects in Indi. Mondo Power and North East Water are shining examples of industry partners helping TRY achieve its vision for Yackandandah
  • Support the ‘Indi Community Energy Hub’ to create jobs and up-skill local residents, and build the capacity of Indi communities to reach a totally renewable future

FIND OUT MORE:

LEGISLATION / REGULATIONS / AGREEMENTS:

  • Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011
  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012
  • National Electricity (South Australia) Act 1996
  • National Electricity Rules - administered by AEMO as if by law
  • National Electricity (Victoria) Act 2005
  • Essential Services Commission Act 2001
  • Victorian Energy Efficiency Target Act 2007
  • Victorian Renewable Energy Act 2006

KEY STAKEHOLDERS - NATIONAL:

KEY STAKEHOLDERS - VICTORIA:

  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (Minister for Energy, Environment, Climate Change and Suburban Development) - delwp.vic.gov.au

STRATEGIES AND PLANS:

KEY STAKEHOLDERS - INDI

COMMUNITY ENERGY PROJECTS - INDI:

COMMERCIAL RENEWABLE ENERGY - INDI:

EDUCATION RESOURCES – INDI:

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES - NATIONAL

FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES – STATE

[1] Australian PV Institute (APVI) Solar Map, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, accessed from pv-map.apvi.org.au on 25 February 2018

[2] Member for Indi Cathy McGowan MP introducing the Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill October 2017

[3] Marsden Jacobs and Associates. Community Renewable Energy Fund (2013)

[4] Australian PV Institute (APVI) Solar Map, funded by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, accessed from pv-map.apvi.org.au on 25 February 2018

 

 


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