The sprouting of community-owned solar plants

While over a million Australian house-owners have placed solar panels on their roof, only very few community-owned renewable energy projects have been launched, for instance where citizens buy a share in a wind farm or a larger solar power plant. Around 40 communities in Australia are currently looking into the option of starting various kinds of ‘renewables co-ops’.

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In The Sustainable Hour on 26 March 2014, we talk with Aaron Lewtas, president of Surf Coast Energy Group, about a co-op initiative of this nature which a group of citizens in Torquay want to start, and we talk with Vivienne Burke from Geelong Sustainability Group about the monthly Green Drinks event and the One Planet Living principles which were on the agenda that same afternoon in Geelong.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 18:


» To open or download this programme in mp3-format, right-click here (Mac: CTRL + click)


» Subscribe to ‘The Sustainable Hour’ podcast — via iTunes or via your own podcast/RSS software


Audio excerpts the programme

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Pascal Mittermaier
about what awareness of sustainability issues brings about



» To open or download the mp3-file, right-click here and use dropdown menu to download.

Pascal Mittermaier is director of Sustainability EMEA at Lend Lease in London, United Kingdom, and attended the Green City conference in Melbourne.

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Vivienne Burke
about the monthly Green Drinks events in Geelong



» To open or download the mp3-file, right-click here and use dropdown menu to download.

Vivienne Burke is member of the Geelong Sustainability Group committee

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► Jesse & Joy: ‘We can stop global warming’

Published on youtube.com on 18 November 2013.


Mentioned in the programme

Links to some of the various topics we talked about:

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The Renewable Energy Target
Here’s a few links for supporting the Renewable Energy Target:

» Petition: Protect the RET: www.solarcitizens.org.au/protecttheret

» Yes 2 Renewables: RET Watch: Review stalls projects worth $1b
“Close to $1 billion of renewable energy projects have been put on ice pending the outcome of the government’s Renewable Energy Target review,” reports the Australian Financial Review, ”as uncertainties over whether the ­target will be abolished stalk the ­industry and investors.”

Save on bills, save jobs, save the Renewable Energy Target and solar
» www.solar.org.au/save-solar

» The Solution: Protect the RET: www.thesolution.org.au/ret

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Surf Coast Energy Group
» Surf Coast Energy Group’s home page: www.sceg.org.au


Here’s some info on what’s happening with community-owned renewables:

» Solar Share: www.solarshare.com.au

» Farming the Sun: www.farmingthesun.net

» Embark: www.embark.com.au

» Coalition for Community Energy: www.c4ce.net.au
– with info about the 2014 Community Energy Congress in Canberra on 16-17 June 2014.

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Renewable energy helps Scotland become one of the world’s wealthiest nations
Scotland’s control over a quarter of Europe’s offshore wind and marine energy has helped it become one of the world’s wealthiest nations, according to new analysis released today.

» Continue reading on: www.enn.com



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IKEA infographic

IKEA takes a remarkable stand
Here is a business showing what leadership means in times of crisis:

Corporate giant IKEA has launched a campaign to highlight the necessity of climate change policy leaders. The Scandinavian company has developed an infographic which advocates legally binding targets on: CO2 reduction, Renewable energy, and Energy efficiency.

By using a visual medium, the sustainable business leader is able to convey succinctly the benefits of the low carbon economy. Striking graphics draw attention to the 20 millions jobs which would be created between now and 2020 in the green economy, as well as the losses to the IKEA group caused by extreme weather.

» Continue reading on: www.theclimategroup.org



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This video features farmer Graeme Machonachie from Challicum Hills, near Ararat in Victoria. He is reflecting on his decision to host wind turbines, on climate change, birds, how quiet wind turbines are, and so on. It’s a beautifully shot video with oodles of warmth and it gives a different sense of how wind farms are perceived in this country.



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New-built wind costs 5 cent per kilowatthour – that’s cheaper than coal
In the US, SunEdison contracted to sell the output of a 150 megawatt solar PV plant to a Texas utility for less than 5 cent per kWh.
Add back in a tax credit and that is still an impressively low 8 cent kilowatthour.



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City of Melbourne says: “What if…?”
“What if 50 per cent of the municipality’s electricity came from renewable sources?
What if we didn’t waste the 10 per cent of energy that is lost in grid transmission and doesn’t even make it to the end user? And what if the electricity network made it easy to connect diverse renewable energy sources to the grid?
What if we reduce the city’s buildings energy use by 40 per cent by having as standard practice that all buildings are upgraded regularly to ensure they are as energy efficient as possible? And all new buildings used leading technology, design and materials for improved sustainability outcomes.
What if each business and each individual took responsibility for their own activities being carbon neutral?
What if the city assisted this process? Would it really cost that much?
If we were to offset our emissions today it would cost an average of $467 per resident per year, $130 per worker or $2,655 per business. Some of us are already doing it.
Could we get to zero? Is this future so unimaginable?
These are the big game changing ideas that are very difficult to achieve, but not impossible. We can’t do it alone, and neither can any individual, business, or government entity. But by working together it is achievable.
Over the next four years City of Melbourne will work to explore these possibilities, in collaboration with key organisations and sectors, through establishing effective networks to take action.”



Excerpt from ‘Zero Net Emissions by 2020 – Update 2014’ on page 3, ‘How could we get to a zero net emissions city by 2020?’

Download the publication Zero Net Emissions by 2020 - Update 2014 published by City of Melbourne

» Download the publication ‘Zero Net Emissions by 2020 – Update 2014’ published by City of Melbourne:
www.melbourne.vic.gov.au (PDF)


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Tesla builds world’s largest battery factory – for solar energy storage
Tesla is really shaking up the automotive world, but it’s most disruptive technology may not be its cars. The company plans to build the world’s largest battery factory to streamline production of its EVs, but also for other applications such as solar energy storage. The factory will be powered by renewables, and incorporate battery recycling.


» Continue reading on: www.qz.com



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Renew Geelong Picnic
Take part in an open air ‘renewables day’ in the shape of a public and free picnic in Eastern Park on Sunday 27 April.

It will be a good day for families, schools, businesses, organisations and decision makers in Geelong to meet each other and mark this year’s Earth Day and its Green City theme with exploring and exchanging sustainable experiences, ideas and visions, and in particular: solutions to the carbon emissions problem.

» Read more on www.thesolution.org.au/picnic

» Also check out www.earthday.org/greencities



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Call for a total permanent on fracking
Moyne Shire Council wants the Municipal Association of Victoria to call on all municipalities to oppose the exploration for and extraction of coal seam gas within the state.

Petitioning the City of Greater Geelong council to support this motion.
On 26 March 2014, over 150 people had signed and commented.

» Read more: www.change.org



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Music

Music played in the Sustainable Hour on 26 March 2014:

► Seize the Day: ‘Frakka Hakka’

Filmed in Balcombe at the controversial Cuadrilla fracking site in West Sussex, Seize the Day’s ‘Frakka Hakka’ song is performed by the band and protestors at the Balcombe Community Defenders Camp.

Published on youtube.com on 12 January 2014.




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You can listen to all of the radio shows in full length as well as in selected excerpts. Use the links below. You will also find links to more information about the topics and sites that have been mentioned during the hour.

| Social streamHour no 18No 17No 16No 15No 14No 13No 12No 11No 10No 9No 8No 7No 6No 5No 4No 3No 2No 1 |




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