Community Food Center Cut
The Grampians Community Power Hub program ended after one year of operation.
Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions hosted the initiative, nominated by Sustainability Victoria, with engineer Sowmya Nargaraj as project manager.
BREAZE’s role was to identify potential solar, wind and battery energy projects for community organizations, carry out feasibility studies and work with local groups in the 11 municipalities of the region.
Energy audit support has been provided to organizations such as Grampians Health, Ballarat Table Tennis Association and Ballarat Squash and Racquetball Association.
BREAZE Chair Mary Debrett was grateful to Sustainability Victoria for the opportunity to lead the work and create positive and lasting change.
“Working with our branch partner Hepburn, led by Hepburn Energy, G-CPH has identified and researched a pipeline of over 40 renewable energy projects, implemented five community energy projects and engaged with five communities in Hepburn , Pomonal and Ballan through the Community Sparks neighborhood battery initiative,” she said.
“Much of the work of G-CPH has involved engaging with communities across the Grampians region, to identify groups ready to take on the challenge of transitioning to renewable energy.
“Our volunteers and staff have been very impressed with the readiness of many communities to tackle ambitious projects and their appreciation of the importance of this clean energy shift.”
Ms Debrett said BREAZE volunteers have signaled a genuine “hunger” in the community for action on renewable energy, particularly at a time of “energy poverty”.
“Everyone realizes that’s what we have to do, and the sooner we do it, the better it will be in terms of savings. There has never been a better time to turn off gas and go solar,” she said.
“People are much more aware of the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and that’s what explains that.”
The Grampians Community Power Hub was also part of Natimuk’s community solar farm development.
He supported the Halls Gap Botanical Gardens off-grid solar and battery system, helped with the bulk purchase of 22 heat pumps in the Hepburn Shire and carried out an energy audit for the J district of Ararat.
BREAZE will continue to benefit from Ms. Nargaraj’s expertise until September and will work with Cafs on a solar project.
The Ballarat Community Power Hub’s three-year pilot program was previously hosted by BREAZE until mid-2020.