THE Energy Innovation Co-operative has wasted no time in putting its proposals for a path to a clean energy future for Bass Coast, South Gippsland and the wider region, in front of a potential new Federal Government.
“Leadership at the national level is critically important if we are to avoid run-away climate change,” Energy Innovation Co-op chair Moragh Mackay said in the co-operative’s Community Power Hub Prospectus.
The prospectus has been prepared as a summary of the co-op’s existing activities and proposed initiatives on renewable energy and energy efficiency actions across the region.
“It is only through coordinated effort and deliberately targeted actions that we will be able to equitably share the benefits of a transition to renewable energy, which is already well underway,” Moragh said.
“Now is the time to ensure the benefits are shared.
“The co-operative’s legal structure, values and expertise developed over 10 years of operation, planning, partnership development, close community connections and commitment to those communities, have laid important foundations.
“Now we need some focussed resources to accelerate our activities commensurate with keeping global temperatures below a 1.5C increase.”
Last Monday co-op members briefed the Labor candidate for the new Federal seat of Monash, on the current and planned activities of the group and its many community partners.
Labor candidate Jessica O’Donnell said Labor already has some clear policies on community engagement and emissions reduction actions.
“It was a pleasure to meet with and receive a briefing from the Energy Innovation Co-op. It really goes to show that action on renewable energy uptake is happening at a community and grassroots level.
“Federal Labor policies will ease household budgets and lower power prices by better regulating power prices.
“Labor will also target one million energy-saving batteries in homes and apartments, subsidising the cost for low-to-medium
income households,” she said.
On Wednesday, the Shadow Minister for Environment, Mark Butler, will visit the co-op’s solar and battery storage installation at the State Coal Mine Wonthaggi.
He will be asked for Federal Labor support as we head towards the Federal election, to enable the co-op and its regional partners to coordinate a fair and beneficial transition to a low carbon future.
The co-op’s 90kW solar and 42kWh battery installation, Stage 2 of its ‘Old Energy-New Energy’ project at the State Coal Mine, will provide clean power to the State Coal Mine Tourist Park.
Income the co-op earns from selling that clean power to Parks Victoria, will support the co-op’s Southern CORE Fund, helping community groups from across the whole region install solar and energy efficiency measures onto the buildings they manage.
The installation, undergoing final testing and approvals, was funded through the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund.
The co-op and its many community partners have been developing additional action ideas through the Totally Renewable Towns initiative.
The ‘Totally Renewable Phillip Island’ collaboration is the first of many more the co-op has plans to encourage and support, across the region.
The co-op and other Phillip Island groups and organisations came together in 2018 to enable Phillip Island to set a 2030 zero net emissions target.
‘Totally Renewable Phillip Island’ has six working parties, Clean Energy, Carbon Farming, Food & Waste, Zero Emissions Transport, Carbon Accounting, plus Education and Communication.
Bass Coast Shire Council is supporting this initiative.
The co-op has also begun early stage conversations with other groups in other communities to see what renewable energy or emissions reduction actions those communities might be ready for.
The newly created Federal seat of Monash encompasses the whole of Bass Coast and South Gippsland Shires, Baw Baw, plus parts of Cardinia and Latrobe.
South Gippslanders had to watch on enviously as the state seat of Bass benefited from being seen as a hotly contested marginal seat.
The opportunity is now open to each of these shires to be seen as within a potentially marginal Federal seat as well.