President's March Message

I Rossiter SLB

In recent weeks BREAZE has been highly active with so many sustainability events, media opportunities and projects being planned. Last week ABC Regional Radio sought BREAZE's views on the changes to the domestic solar feed in tariff announced by the Essential Services Commission which come into effect on 1/7/17. This was a great opportunity to promote BREAZE's objectives of transitioning Ballarat to 100% renewable energy. Our members were active at the Smart Building and Living Expo providing advice and assistance to many visitors.

The Breaze Board submitted an application to the New Energy Jobs Round 2 Grants Program for a bioenergy project that has been planned for many months. Details of this will be covered in seperate article. I attended a meeting recently with Paul Smith, Victorian Deputy Secretary Energy, Environment and Climate Change, to meet with representaives of Sustainability Victoria, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group to discuss the coordination of renewable energy projects in our region. I also met with Simon Corbell, Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate together with other Regional Sustainability Alliance representatives to discuss a regional approach to the Victorian Government's proposed auctions for the procurement of renewable energy. A number of us were lucky enough to hear Soren Hermansen's presentation on his experience of leading his community of Samso Island in Denmark to a ten year transition to 100% renewable energy. A number of BREAZE representaives partcicipated in the Pioneering Communities workshop with Soren and are working collaborativeley with Committee for Ballarat to develop a follow up forum for Ballarat Region to build commitment for a transition to 100% renewable energy.

2017 marks BREAZE's 10th anniversary and the BREAZE Board are planning an event to be held on a Sunday in coming months that can acknowledge our founders, BREAZE's acheivements and bring our membership together in a relaxed informal atmosphere with food, music and a garden setting. If you are able to assist, we are looking for members who can conduct interviews with former board members and staff, network with former members and staff and assist in promotion of the day.

I am pleased to announce that Barbara Whitfield has joined the BREAZE Board following her attendance at our January meeting. Barbara has been a BREAZE member since 2007 and through her professional role with Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources has significant networks within all levels of government.

Finally at a time that some members may dispair about the retrograde climate policy decisions that the Federal Government, Queensland Government and United States President have recently made, it is encouraging to see the organisations that are now lobbying the Federal Parliament to establish a bipartisan approach to Australia's transition to renewable energy. The Australian Industry Group, National Farmers Federation and BHP Billiton and many of Australia's energy companies are demanding that an emissions intensity scheme be implemented and a bipartisan approach be formulated to allow market suretity and investment in energy infrastructure. This linked to the predicted shortage of natural gas and associated price rises will drive renewed interest in renewable energy in coming months.