CET FBWhy a Community Energy Target?

After the introduction of the Victorian Renewable Energy Target in 2016 it became clear that while there was support for large scale renewables, community generators were typically too small to benefit from this policy. Likewise, households and businesses have subsidies available through Solar Homes. The gap is the mid-scale market of 1-10MW.

This position was echoed in the State Government’s Inquiry into Tackling Climate Change in Victorian Communities, which recommended the introduction of a Community Energy Target.

How big would the Community Energy Target be?

Based on the current pipeline of existing mid-scale projects in development as well as the desire in local communities to build mid-scale projects,  a target of 100MW by 2025 would be feasible. 

How would it be delivered?

It could take many different forms, it could be a Feed-in-Tariff from the State Government (rather than your retailer), it could be an annual payment or something completely different. At the end of the day, the government will need to decide how to best implement this target while giving the sector security. 

How can I support this campaign?

There are a few actions you can take today that would be really helpful!

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The City of Ballarat is in the throes of developing a new four year plan and is seeking public feedback on what should be in it. The public consultation process, which is detailed on the MySay Ballarat website outlines several avenues for community participation (extended until end of Sunday 28 February, 2021).  

Issues you might like to consider in your feedback: 

            • Establish a Carbon Neutral Ballarat target for 2030 - as part of Action 5.4: Empowering Communities, in Council's 2019 Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action Plan, which set a target of 2025 for Net Zero emissions for Council operations
            • Implement the Council's Koala Management Plan of 2006; make the protection of koala habitat a priority; refuse permits for domestic pets in residential areas adjoining areas of koala habitat.
            • Commit to fully transitioning the Council fleet to EVs by 2025
            • Advocate to the State Government for electric buses and garbage collection trucks
            • Advocate to the State Government for the introduction of measures/incentives for all electric, energy efficient homes in all greenfield developments, and for mandating natHERS ratings at point of sale, in line with the ACT model.
            • Advocate for/facilitate the establishment of community batteries to enable solar sharing via virtual grids on a neighbourhood basis
            • Commit to street trees in every suburban street in Ballarat
            • To find out more about how councils operate and how to make community voices heard visit - https://www.caceonline.org/vic-council-plans-campaign-2021.html
 Visit the Ballarat: My Future page to complete the three surveys and find out how to participate in Community conversations. Please note this week's Conversations were cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Community Conversations will be held on Tuesday 2 March, 4.30pm and 6pm (subject to pandemic restrictions)
Where:   Brown Hill Recreation Reserve
                         Humffray Street Nth, Brown Hill
                         Miners Rest Community Park 
                         Albert Street, Miners Rest
                         Doug Dean Reserve 

                         Nandiriog Drive, Delacombe

In lieu of face-to-face sessions this week, another option for people is to complete an online submission in the Guest Book on the MySay web page https://mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ballarat-our-future - updates on sessions will be posted here – check before attending any sessions. Alternatively email your thoughts and ideas to            

First stage of Ballarat: Our Future closes

We will stop collecting your responses at 5pm on February 28. We will then summarise what you told us.

This will then inform:
      • the Revenue and Rating Plan
      • the 2021 - 2025 Budget
      • the second stage of Ballarat: Our Future engagement

 MDOn 24 January the BREAZE Board held a planning meeting to discussion directions for 2021. With the climate emergency intensifying we are committed to increasing our efforts to drive down GHG emissions in our community, in keeping with the spirit of Think global, Act local. Of course what is needed is global action at national level to decarbonise and drawdown GHG emissions. Despite our own Federal government’s failure to act, many parts of the world are taking quite radical action. The newly elected Biden Administration’s commitment to $1.3 trillion to fight climate change must surely make a difference and influence others to follow suit. Clearly the national leadership Australians need on climate action is absent. But what BREAZE stands for is doing everything we can at the local level.

What we can do in Ballarat:

In terms of practical actions we can keep encouraging and promoting the uptake of solar PV; transitioning away from ICE vehicles to EVs; walking and cycling more; installing heat pumps to get off gas-heating along with retrofitting homes with better insulation and double glazing to make them more energy efficient to reduce heating and cooling costs; eating less meat. 

In terms of influencing local policy – write to Council about what you would like to see in the upcoming Council Plan – a few suggestions:

      • Better conservation of biodiversity through protection of native species habitat, and support for LandCare and conservation groups to that end.
      • Extensive tree planting across the un-treed parts of Ballarat 
      • Faster transitioning of the Council Fleet to EVs – rather than hybrids
      • Planned roll-out of initiatives to drive emissions reductions across the community to achieve a xero by 2030 target for greater Ballarat as per clause 5.4 in the Carbon Neutrality 100% Renewables Action Plan
      • Ensuring adequate community green space in greenfield developments in Ballarat West 
      • Make your points personal rather than general if you can. 
      • Complete the Ballarat: Our Future surveys on https://mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ballarat-our-future- closing 28 February. Be sure to check out the ‘Useful documents’ on the right first. 

Community Activities

The Smart Living Ballarat talk this month is Meet your local ECO groups, Wednesday 17 February at 12:30 on Zoom – visit the SLB Facebook site - https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat - to register. Hosted by Ellen Burns, this is a terrific opportunity to learn about the environmental groups we have across this region.

The Ballarat Green Drinks 2021 schedule will be announced shortly. Visit the Facebook site for details in coming weeks for further details. https://www.facebook.com/BallaratGreenDrinks/

 A New Sustainable Social Enterprise – the Ballarat Tool Library

 BREAZE is delighted to announce the launch of another affiliated group. After a year of planning and organising and coping with all the added complications of COVID restrictions the Ballarat Tool Library launched on 6 February. With over 400 tools donated and already in their inventory, BTL will also soon be making new purchases having secured a grant from Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal’s (FRRR) Strengthening Rural Communities Program. Please note: BTL is a membership organisation, so anyone wanting to borrow tools should first register online - https://www.ballarattoollibrary.org

For more about the Tool Library visit their Facebook site.  Or better still check them out in person at 25 - 39 Barkly St, Ballarat East VIC 3350 - Opening hours: Tuesday, 5pm to 7pm and Saturday, 10am to 12pm

 BREAZE Talks to Brett McDonald on Ballarat Today – Radio 3BA

We urge members to tune into 3BA on Friday 26 February at 10:15 am to hear Peter Reid talk to Brett McDonald about BREAZE’s recent Social Solar projects – and how the State Government funded Ballarat Community Power Hub pilot (undertaken by BREAZE 2017-2020) facilitated BREAZE’s major projects in 2020-2021 – administration of $450,000 from the Grampians Renewable Energy (GRE) program. This program involves the installation of 365kW of solar PV across 7 local organisations, 3 social housing providers, 2 not-for-profit community organisations and 2 community sporting organisations. A state government stimulus funding package to help create jobs in the region, GRE is cutting GHG emissions and bringing cheaper electricity to those who need it most – the central mission of BREAZE Social Solar.

To all BREAZE friends and members, please consider supporting the work of BREAZE Social Solar with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt  –- https://breaze.org.au/one-dollar-for-one-watt  All donations over $2 are tax deductible.

Please also note that BREAZE members are invited to attend monthly Board meetings. Any member interested in attending the March Board meeting, now held via Zoom, should email me for the link –  

All the best

 Mary

Mary Debrett
President, February 2021

 

 

breaze local solutions header

BREAZE is delighted to announce Ballarat's latest sustainable community enterprise, the Ballarat Tool Library opened for borrowing on Saturday 6 February. The brainchild of a group of Ballarat residents keen to assist locals in reducing waste and cost savings, the Ballarat Tool Library is a part of a global movement that aims to assist the development of the circular economy.

Potential borrowers will have to join the Tool Library before they can borrow. So if you want to borrow tools on Saturday you'll have to join online first - https://www.ballarattoollibrary.org

Read more: Ballarat Tool Library launched

    Silver Nissan Leaf There are many misconceptions about electric vehicles and their role in delivering a clean energy future. BREAZE is a strong supporter of this shift and supports any initiatives to hasten the take up of the technology.

     The following points were referenced in preparation for the January feature on 3BA. Every fourth Friday in 2021, a BREAZE Board member will join Brett at 10:15 am to discuss matters related to the environment, the climate and sustainable living.

Read more: Quickening Pace of Electric Vehicle Uptake in Victoria

MDI suspect I am not alone in finding the traditional Happy New Year greeting rather challenging this year. Now that we are over a week into January 2021 it is clear that the Covid pandemic and its human costs, along with the social constraints of 2020 will remain with us for some time yet. And so we begin the year with bad news and yet more bad news – for despite the traumas and frustrations of Covid, climate action cannot wait. 

As Tim Flannery writes in his latest book, The Climate Cure:

By 2030 the average increase in global temperatures will reach 1.5ºC, and Earth’s climate system is likely to begin to unravel. If we fail to act, dramatic destabilisation will be felt when the temperature rise reaches 2ºC, sometime before 2050. Despair is not an option. Nor is selfish complacency. Instead this is the moment to ask what you will do.

 

What will BREAZE do? 

The BREAZE Board will continue to administer the BREAZE Social Solar Program, to run the Smart Living Ballarat and Ballarat Green Drinks monthly discussions on living sustainably and responding to climate change, and to advocate for action on climate change via various channels. 

The BREAZE mission has long been to achieve zero emissions across the greater Ballarat region by 2030. A relatively distant goal when BREAZE was incorporated back in 2007, it is now in 2021 an urgent imperative. The City of Ballarat’s Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewables Action passed in 2019, committed the City to achieving net zero emissions in Council operations by 2025, and also via Action 5.4a ‘Empowered Communities,’ to setting aspirational targets for the whole of the city and monitoring progress.

What can you do?

Readers moved by Tim Flannery’s final question above, might consider giving feedback to Council re setting a community-wide goal of zero emissions by 2030, and by detailing actions the community could be taking to reduce emissions and how Council could assist? With Council still meeting virtually via Zoom it is now easier than ever for residents to make submissions and ask questions at Council meetings. Councillors need to know what the community’s priorities are. To find out more about how to make your voice heard visit https://www.ballarat.vic.gov.au/city/about-us/council-meetings

As noted in the BREAZE December Report, the City of Ballarat will soon be inviting community engagement – initially involving responding to a shortish survey – on the upcoming Council Plan via the Council’s MySay webpage - https://mysay.ballarat.vic.gov.au/ and will end with release of a draft Plan for further consultation around July 2021. 

In keeping with our mission, BREAZE continues to endorse a target of net zero by 2030 and will be advocating for a community-wide campaign for a Carbon Neutral Ballarat, throughout 2021. Situated in one of Victoria’s renewable energy zones, Ballarat is well positioned to show how this can be done. As Committee for Ballarat CEO, Michael Poulton, said last month in an opinion piece in The Courier titled, This is the way of the future and Ballarat needs to get on board :

Let's be bold, curious, innovative and progressive in ways that maximise our opportunity and builds our capacity as a regional leader in renewable energy and the circular economy. So much has been and continues to be done. 
The GNet Roadmap to Zero Emissions, BREAZE's Social Solar program, Hepburn Wind, the Central Highlands Greenhouse Alliance, the Regional Sustainability Alliance are just a few of the examples of great community led initiatives. 
Business, too, is playing its role. McCain, Mars, Federation University, Central Highlands Water, Sovereign Hill, Selkirk and Gekko are just a few of Ballarat's major industries investing in energy efficiency and new technologies …
Ballarat can be a city where sustainable development, renewable energy and the circular economy is positioned at the core of our decision-making, as collectively we plan for our inevitable future growth. 

 

Upcoming Member Activities 

Smart Living Ballarat will hold its first lunchtime talk for 2021 in February. Please check the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook site for details closer to the third Wednesday of the month – 17th February. https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat/

Ballarat Green Drinks will also continue online via Zoom during 2021.  Please keep an eye open for announcements re the next evening talk on the BGD Facebook site - https://www.facebook.com/BallaratGreenDrinks/

2021 Events

This year, pending Covid constraints, BREAZE will be hosting a Climate Adaptation Forum on Biodiversity, a Symposium on Ecologically Sustainable Design, the World Environment Day Children’s Writing Competition and supporting Sustainable House Day. 

2021 Planning Meeting

The BREAZE Board will be holding a planning meeting for 2021 on Sunday 24 January. If you have any suggestions of what we should be doing please forward them by 18 January 2021 to 

To all BREAZE friends and members, please consider supporting the work of BREAZE with a donation to One Dollar, One Watt  

Wishing you all a happy and safe new year.

All the best

Mary                                                         

Mary Debrett, 
President, January 2021

MD

BREAZE ends this terrible Covid-fraught year on a bit of a high with the commencement of another substantial Social Solar project, managing the installation of 68kW of rooftop solar across the roofs of a Ballarat-based not-for-profit. We thank all donors to the BREAZE Public Fund for their contributions to this work. Public donations offer BREAZE the opportunity to apply for grants that require matched funding, whereby the funder requires the applicant to contribute a proportion of the capital costs of the project. Thank you too, to our partners at DELWP in the New Energy Jobs Fund team.

 

November Member Activities

December’s Smart Living Ballarat session was: 3 Happen Films looking at different aspects of modern agriculture including organic, regenerative and city farming. Is this the future of food? The Hidden Orchard’s Ellen Burns, who has taken over from Tim Drylie since he was elected to the Hepburn Shire Council, hosted the post screening discussion. For anyone who missed it you can still catch up – SLB talks remain available on the SLB Facebook site - just click on the ‘videos’ link on the left. https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat/

Council Plan

The City of Ballarat is gearing up development of a new, 5 year Council Plan, with the current Plan 2017 – 2021 set to expire next year. This is an opportunity for the community to make its voice heard regarding environmental priorities. The Council is moving forward with implementation of the Carbon Neutrality and 100 per cent Renewables Action Plan which it passed in 2019. The target is net zero emissions from Council operations by 2025. Since then two Sustainability Officers have been appointed one with a designated focus on Urban Forestation and the other on Carbon Neutrality. However, action 5.4a of the Plan ‘Empowered Communities,’ includes setting aspirational targets for the whole of the city and monitoring progress. Obviously ambition is important here, in terms of targets and time frame. If you feel strongly about this do keep an eye open for the community engagement process which will begin shortly via the Council’s MySay webpage - and will end with release of a draft Plan for consultation around July 2021. BREAZE’s long held aspirational target for greater Ballarat is net zero by 2030.

Planning Day

The BREAZE Board will be holding a planning day for 2021 in January. If you have any suggestions of what we should be doing please forward them by 18 January 2021 to

Climate/Environment News

My take on the three worst and three best – in no particular order – below:

Three worst
    1. The vanishing Arctic
    2. World is in danger of missing Paris climate target, summit is warned
    3. Coalition accused of wasting 18 months on 'nothing' electric vehicle strategy
Three best
    1. Export superpower: AEMO to model even faster paths to net zero emissions
    2. Federal Court upholds Djab Wurrung's Western Highway appeal, overturns Sussan Ley's decision on sacred trees
    3. Australia’s first remote, renewable hydrogen microgrid to be built at Denham

 

To all BREAZE  members and friends, when choosing Christmas presents for loved ones, please consider a donation to BREAZE’s One Dollar for One Watt – the gift that keeps on giving: to the environment and the community.

Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Christmas.

All the best

Mary

Mary Debrett
President, December 2020

 

BREAZE 3BA Image

Do tune into 3BA on Friday 26 February to hear Peter Reid talk to Brett about BREAZE’s recent Social Solar projects – and how the State Government funded Ballarat Community Power Hub pilot (undertaken by BREAZE 2017-2020) facilitated BREAZE’s major projects in 2020-2021 – administration of $450,000 from the Grampians Renewable Energy (GRE) program. This program involves the installation of 365kW of solar PV across 7 local organisations, 3 social housing providers, 2 not-for-profit community organisations and 2 community sporting organisations. A state government stimulus funding package to help create jobs in the region, GRE is cutting GHG emissions and bringing cheaper electricity to those who need it most – the central mission of BREAZE Social Solar.

Read more: BREAZE's Peter Reid on 3BA - 26 Feb @ 10:15am

 MDBREAZE 2020 AGM

At the BREAZE AGM this year – 16 November – we were very fortunate to have BZE’s Michael Lord as guest speaker. Michael who is the Head of Research at Beyond Zero Emissions (BZE) and author of the Million Jobs Plan – BZE’s detailed plan for a clean recovery https://millionjobs.org.au – is also, fortuitously a Ballarat local, and so was able to add a local flavour to his discursive account of the various ingredients of the Plan. He recommended improved cycling infrastructure and energy efficiency housing retro-fits as two elements of the Plan with particular relevance for Ballarat. To questions regarding how the Plan’s various recommendations were travelling in terms of take-up, Michael noted influence will not necessarily be acknowledged but that various recent green initiatives by state governments are evidence the message is getting out – a renewables-led clean recovery can simultaneously reboot and decarbonise the economy. Great to see some members taking the opportunity to log on to hear the talk.

BREAZE Board Changes 

The 2020 AGM saw some board members departing - many thanks for all your contributions – Barbara Whitfield, Jeremy Hunt and Barry Sullivan.

We also saw some new additions and changes in office holders. Paul Tant has taken over the BREAZE Treasurer role from Peter Reid, (who will be remaining on the Board). Another new Board member, Jakki Mikus has taken on the role of Chair of the BREAZE Public Fund, a role previously filled by outgoing Board member, Jeremy Hunt. Many thanks are due to Jeremy for all his work in this important role. Welcome too, to Suzanne Nunn and Sally Missing.

The 2020-21 BREAZE Board :
      • President, Mary Debrett 
      • Secretary, Pat Hockey 
      • Treasurer, Paul Tant 
      • Chair Public Fund, Jakki Mikus 
      • Paul Duggan (Smart Living Ballarat coordinator
      • Therese Footner  (Advocacy Group Coordinator/Chair
      • Tony Goodfellow  (Green Drinks Coordinator
      • Emily Lee 
      • Sally Missing 
      • Suzanne Nunn 
      • Peter Reid (Project Manager, GRE & Pinarc
      • Simon Reid 
      • Madeline Townsend (Membership Officer)

 November Member Activities 

Climate/Environment News

Some devastating initiatives for the environment in Canberra this past month. My take on the three worst and three best–in no particular order–below:

Three worst
  1. 1. BoM/CSIRO State of Climate 2020 – Climate Change is here- https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-13/bom-and-csiro-state-of-the-climate-2020/12871690?utm_source=abc_news_web&utm_medium=content_shared&utm_content=facebook&utm_campaign=abc_news_web&fbclid=IwAR3VKAJLkm3xsyMSutKRS-InUBxqkIKCEPf0_eOu7k7m7L6ovm1KHc7-5uM
  2. 2. Australia’s climate record labelled embarrassing – https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/nov/18/australias-climate-record-labelled-simply-embarrassing-and-among-worst-of-g20-nations?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR222XBpYkEdwPRNGeZHx1Qt05ypuNhnhPEM719nzZ9k4ClB1z6PZ28bT-E
  3. 3. Climate change is bringing a rising humanitarian crisis - https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/we-are-not-winning-red-cross-warns-of-human-crisis-from-climate-change-20201117-p56f9z.html?fbclid=IwAR1jxk0ES6c8lvXAElM9yGMnWOq5H_bccFUDYtCrgk9_eEm9us5lre7k_WI
Three best 
  1. 1. Victorian Government’s Energy Efficiency Package - https://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-fast-tracks-rooftop-solar-and-battery-rollout-part-of-800m-energy-savings-package-87407/?fbclid=IwAR1DNKXZggS-eCh-26o3SklPhBwJtSLsJCvUXm1LuXFI8DmIs8lhV7tCGDY
  2. 2. Zali Steggall’s Climate Change Bill referred to House Standing Committee on The Environment and Energy, triggering public enquiry – submissions close 27 November – please consider making a submission – even very short ones count. https://www.zalisteggall.com.au/submissions_are_open_for_climate_change_bill_inquiry?fbclid=IwAR0unAzutyTYwgXZW2s5cA_zdTpTscIUwC-SsAcRInEGheeMafULMDsvHJc
  3. 3. Hunter Valley to become NSW’s next Renewable Energy Zone - https://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-to-transform-hunter-coal-region-into-states-next-renewable-energy-zone-83085/?fbclid=IwAR2iY0NI8vBBBraA9XgRWPuWzp_LYdi3o3ShrTcHDBKjKqIArQTj4Qocw2Q

 

To all BREAZE friends and members, when choosing Christmas presents for loved ones, please consider a donation to BREAZE’s One Dollar, One Watt  – the gift that keeps on giving: to the environment and the community - https://breaze.org.au/one-dollar-for-one-watt

All the best

Mary

Mary Debrett
President, November 2020