Community Power Hub Ballarat Ministerial Visit

The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio visited McCallum Linen Service on Wednesday 11th July to see how a feasibility study for the investment in renewable energy could impact on the business and create community benefits.

McCallum Linen Services, run by the social enterprise McCallum Disability Services, has been the proponent for one of the Community Power Hub Ballarat’s completed feasibility studies for renewable energy projects that can be owned or operated by the community.

The project proposes to include a 99kW rooftop solar system and an automated 2,000 kW woodchip boiler system. These new energy sources would according to the feasibility study reduce the facility’s greenhouse gas emissions by 560 tonnes per year, provide 47 percent of the business’ electricity and save over $100,000 per year in gas bills. The biomass heating system would utilise 743 tonnes per year of wood wastes. 

Minister D’Ambrosio met the staff of the Linen Service and discussed the benefits that the $1million investment could make to the business, the local economy and the environment. She said “The Community Power Hub Ballarat is helping local communities find and realise renewable energy projects that are financially viable, technologically feasible and socially acceptable.” “In June 2016 the State Government committed to Victorian renewable energy generation targets of 25 per cent by 2020, and 40 per cent by 2025. Projects like this, as well as windfarms, large solar arrays and emerging technologies like pumped hydro, can play an important part in getting us there.”
Community Power Hub Ballarat has provided $6,500 and many volunteer hours to assist McCallum Disability Services to assess the feasibility of the wood waste powered boiler system and rooftop solar plant.
BREAZE President and CPH Ballarat Project Control Group spokesperson Ian Rossiter said:
“Ballarat needs to better utilise the hundreds of tonnes of wood waste collected from building sites, manufacturing plants, transfer stations and urban tree removal to produce renewable energy.
“The Beaufort Hospital and Meredith Dairy are great local examples of how wood waste is being used to provide hot water that was previously heated by fossil fuels.”
“The next step for the proposed project is for the Community Power Hub to finalise a business case that identifies and quantifies project risks, maintenance and replacement costs with a view to determining the return on investment and most appropriate means of financing the initiative.”

Further information can be found about the $900,000 Community Power Hubs pilot project being conducted in Ballarat, Bendigo and La Trobe Valley by visiting the Community Power Hubs Website.

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