The solar step: “Our community is ours to change”

From renewables procrastination and fear to action, and even a guitar and beer…

Guest in the sustainable studio on 23 August 2017 is Suzie Brown from Ocean Grove who is one of the founders of Reenergise Geelong and speaker at an exciting community renewable energy forum coming up on Sunday 27 August in Barwon Heads.

Prerecorded audio clips with Danish renewables mobiliser Søren Hermansen, who speaks about his experience with turning Samsø into a carbon-free island community, and professor Mark Diesendorf from University of New South Wales who talks about how South Australia can reach 100 per cent renewables in the electricity grid.


Listen to The Sustainable Hour no. 183 on 94.7 The Pulse:

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In 14 and a half seconds, the sun provides as much energy to Earth as humanity uses in a day.


 LISTENER SERVICE: 

Content of this hour

Links, excerpts and more information about what we talked about in this Sustainable Hour




Contracts to power 389,000 households with renewables

We’ve reached a positive tipping point: There is now more energy being produced by solar than by nuclear, and solar is now most popular form of new electricity generation worldwide. More solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity is being installed than any other generation technology.

Worldwide, some 73 gigawatts of net new solar PV capacity was installed in 2016. Wind energy came in second place (55GW), with coal relegated to third (52GW), followed by gas (37GW) and hydro (28GW).

» Read more


As for the Victorian state, today we have big renewable energy news. Premier Andrews just announced the first big solar farms in our state – with 650 megawatts of new projects to take our state to reach the government’s 40 percent renewables target within the next eight years. 650 megawatts of power is enough for the energy needs of every household in Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley.

Friends of the Earth started a campaign for a Victorian Renewable Energy Target in 2014. “It’s fantastic to see it finally hit parliament,” said Cam Walker​.

» The Age – 23 August 2017:
Renewable energy boost to power Victoria’s four biggest regional cities



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Community renewables forum

A community renewable energy forum is coming up on Sunday 27 August in Barwon Heads.

The forum arose from the Barwon Heads Sustainability Group and the Barwon Heads Community Association wanting to promote renewable energy for the local area, plus lots of interest from the community. The organisers of the forum wrote:

Our community is ours to change. What can the Bellarine do to transition towards a renewable energy future?

Come and listen to speakers from our local community, Geelong and beyond and find out how you can get involved in transitioning our community to a clean energy future. The Forum will be structured as follows:

What’s happening?
• Simon Corbell, Victoria’s Renewable Energy Advocate, will discuss current progress toward achieving the Paris Climate Agreement targets globally and within Australia, the threats that rising energy costs and lack of energy security pose for our community and recent advancements in renewable energy technology.

• Nick Carrazzo from the Alternative Technology Association will discuss the status and prospects of solar and batteries at the local level – for communities and residences.

• Tobi Geiger, Managing Director of West Wind Energy will discuss the role of wind power in Victoria, the challenges and opportunities of sharing the benefits with local communities and the regulatory environment relating to the Bellarine.

• Tristan Edis, Director of Analysis & Advisory at Green Energy Markets and Barwon Heads local will provide further comment on trends and issues about the future of renewable energy.

What can we do?
• Andrea Pape, Sustainability Victoria’s Strategic Coordinator in the Barwon South West region, will share the results of a recent survey that reveals where public opinion regarding climate change sits in our community.

• Alex Houlston, Director and co-founder of clean energy services company, Energy for the People (and Ocean Grove local) and

• Dan Cowdell, coordinator of Geelong Sustainability Group’s Community Owned Renewable Energy project will share some examples of community renewable energy projects. They will discuss what is being done within the Geelong community and abroad in terms of leveraging renewable energy to tackle climate change, reduce the cost of energy, achieve energy security and create a range of community benefits.

Public discussion
The session will end with a discussion forum in which each of our speakers will form a panel that will answer questions from the audience.

What: Community Renewable Energy Forum
When: 2:00–5:00pm on Sunday 27 August 2017
Where: Barwon Heads Community Hall, 77 Hitchcock Avenue

» Free event but registrations are essential – Register here

» Read more on www.bhsustainability.org.au

» Media coverage:



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“The community energy sector is in its infancy and faces significant regulatory and cultural barriers. However, its strong growth from two or three groups in 2010 to more than 60 groups today is a clear indication that the sector will play a significant role in the development of future energy policy.”
~ Cathy McGowan, Federal Member for Indi

» Shepparton News – 25 August 2017:
McGowan calls for renewables focus
“Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan told Parliament this week that it was time for government to do its bit to support community energy projects.”



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Geelong Solar Steps

How to get solar panels you can trust and afford – free email course

» www.reenergisegeelong.org/geelong_solar_steps



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5 ways to save on power bills

1: Support the VRET – the Victorian government’s Renewable Energy Target
2: Go solar
3: Get insulated (draft stoppers/batts)
3: Get efficient (appliances/devices)
5: Get energy smart (stop waste)



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Victorian Energy Compare

An independent Victorian Government price comparator

» www.compare.switchon.vic.gov.au



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Review your household’s electricity usage

With electricity prices rising, it’s a good time to review your household’s electricity usage, and remember that many of your appliances use electricity even when turned off. Entertainment devices and computer equipment are the biggest culprits. Standby power can be responsible for up to 10% of your electricity bill. Save money and reduce your household emissions by turning those devices off at the wall. Or purchase a product like the EcoSwitch:

» www.ecoswitch.com.au

» or Future Switch



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Beyond Zero Emissions’ Zero carbon communities guide

This Zero Carbon Communities guide is for community groups and councils who want to see rapid local progress towards zero emission targets.

» Read more on www.bze.org.au

» Register to download the guide



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Søren Hermansen: This is about the community getting together

Can an entire region transform to being self-supplied by 100 per cent renewable energy in less than ten years?

Yes, explains Søren Hermansen from Denmark, who spearheaded his island’s efforts to become energy independent and even a clean energy exporter.

Samsø has proved to the world that it is absolutely possible for communities to become self-sufficient when politicians and vested fossil fuel interests don’t get in the way.

Søren Hermansen visited Melbourne’s Sustainable Living Festival in February 2017 where he told his story to a packed audience. You can listen to his presentation at here:

» Centre for Climate Safety – 18 June 2017:
Going 100% renewables – how to actually make it happen



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Mark Diesendorf: New energy solutions both sustainable and reliable

In The Sustainable Hour on 94.7 The Pulse on 26 November 2014 we had a distinguished guest from New South Wales: renewable energy expert Mark Diesendorf, author of the book ‘Sustainable Energy Solutions for Climate Change’.

» Centre for Climate Safety – 26 November 2014:
Mark Diesendorf: New energy solutions both sustainable and reliable



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Community energy webinar series

Updates to the Small Scale Solar Guide

Throughout September 2017 the Community Power Agency will be running a series of four free webinars as part of the Sustainability Victoria funded update of the Small Scale Solar Guide.

The webinars will provide an overview of the Small Scale Solar Guide and detailed explanations of the Guides recent changes and how it can help with your projects.

Webinar 1
6pm 5 September 2017: Overview of the Small Scale Solar Guide


Webinar 2

6pm 12 September 2017: Legal frameworks and templates for small scale community solar projects

Webinar 3
6pm 19 September 2017: Donation based models for ‘behind the meter solar PV’

Webinar 4
6pm 26 September 2017: Investment based models for ‘behind the meter solar PV’

Each webinar will be approximately an hour long and include a presentation followed by the opportunity to submit online questions.

The webinars are suitable for a range of audiences including councils, community organisations, schools and individuals. They will be publicly available so you’re welcome to forward the invitation onto your networks.

» Soruce: www.sustainability.vic.gov.au.




 ADDITIONALLY: 

In other news

From our notes of this week: news stories and events we didn’t have time to mention but which we think you should know about


Letter to the Editor of Financial Review



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A new analysis in Nature Energy gives renewable-energy subsidies the thumbs-up. Dev Millstein of Lawerence Berkeley National Laboratory and his colleagues find that the fossil fuels not burnt because of wind and solar energy helped avoid between 3,000 and 12,700 premature deaths in the US between 2007 and 2015. Fossil fuels produce large amounts of pollutants like carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter, which are responsible for ill-health and negative climate effects.

The researchers found that the US saved between $35 billion and $220 billion in that period because of avoided deaths, fewer sick days, and climate-change mitigation.

» Nature – 14 August 2017:
The climate and air-quality benefits of wind and solar power in the United States

» Quartz – 17 August 2017
One of the biggest criticisms against wind and solar energy has been quashed
“One of the biggest criticisms of the renewable-energy industry is that it has been propped up by government subsidies.”



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Acknowledgement

We at The Sustainable Hour would like to pay our respect to the traditional custodians of the land on which we are broadcasting, the Wathaurong People, and pay our respect to their elders, past, present and future.

The traditional owners lived in harmony with the environment and with the climate for hundreds of generations. It is not clear – yet – that as European settlers we have demonstrated that we can live in harmony for hundreds of generations, but it is clear that we can learn from the indigenous, traditional owners of this land.

When we talk about the future, it means extending our respect to those children not yet born, the generations of the future – remembering the old saying that…



The decisions currently being made around Australia to ignore climate change are being made by those who won’t be around by the time the worst effects hit home. How utterly disgusting, disrespectful and unfair is that?




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Hours and hours of sustainable podcasts

Listen to all of The Sustainable Hour radio shows in full length and in selected excerpts:

» Archive on climatesafety.info

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“Participation – that’s what’s gonna save the human race.”
Pete Seeger, American singer