Forum: How to Bring Renewable Energy Jobs to the Latrobe Valley
The Gippsland Climate Change Network (GCCN) and Environment Victoria (EV) hosted a public forum earlier this month to discuss how the Latrobe Valley can benefit from current clean energy investments. In focus were environment and energy policy priorities for the local community to support a fair policy transition within the Latrobe Valley.
The GCCN spoke to residents about the Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub* (LVCPH) and local efforts to bring the benefits of renewable energy to the Latrobe Valley. While EV launched a Latrobe Valley focused election document, outlining three key election asks – Victorian Regional Energy Target carve out, energy efficiency and extension of the Latrobe Valley Authority.
Simon Holmes à Court also spoke at the session. A senior advisor to the Energy Transition Hub at Melbourne University, he is also an advisory board member of the Melbourne Energy Institute. Simon was also the founding chair of Hepburn Wind, the country’s first community owned wind farm, and founder of Embark Australia, a non-profit consultancy helping communities share in the benefits of local renewable energy.
Gippy Bulk Buys – the bright alternative is solar
The LVCPH, along with the Baw Baw Shire, Latrobe City Council, and Wellington Shire, are organising a solar energy bulk buy scheme. It will be open to residents for domestic and community purposes to install solar systems in homes, businesses and community spaces.
The program is about offering the best quality products to the community at the best prices, to ensure the most people benefit from this opportunity as possible. It is about reducing energy costs for individuals, promoting resilience within local communities, and working towards cutting greenhouse gas emissions across the Latrobe Valley for a clean energy future.
High quality solar panels and inverters will be sourced through Yarra Energy Foundation (YEF), while locally produced hot water systems will be purchased from the Earthworker factory in Morwell. The LVCPH will also be working with local installers to ensure that installation and maintenance will be undertaken by local electricians. This will support local jobs and provide ongoing support for the solar systems.
Yarra Energy Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation which has experience managing successful bulk buy projects in both urban and rural areas. The LVCPH hopes to gain from their experience so that we may run future bulk buy projects ourselves. YEF will also make donations of solar systems to community groups as a percentage of kWh installed.
We encourage those interested in purchasing solar systems to make multiple enquires so as to choose who they feel comfortable with, and to secure the best deal for them. For any local installers who want to be a part of this program, please register your interest*. Stay tuned for Phase 2 when we will introduce options for local micro-grids and hopefully a community retailer. Local community information sessions about how to get involved in the Gippy Bulk Buy will run over June and July. See our events page list to find a session nearest to you!