President's Message July 2017

Ian Rossiter

July has been an exciting time for BREAZE. Domestic solar feed in tariffs rose in Victoria on 1 July from 5 to 11.3 cents per kW hour following the Essential Services Commission review that considers the environmental cost benefit and rises in the wholesale electricity price.  Gas consumers have been dealt significant price rises as we now try to compete with export markets. This coupled with the lack of action taken by the Federal Government on the Chief Scientist Dr. Alan Finkel’s Report (Independent Review into the Future Security of the National Electricity Market) has created the perfect storm for unprecedented interest in renewable energy.  Consumer sentiment is that we can’t wait for our Federal politicians to fluff around until 2020 to enact any reforms and that individuals, companies and local communities will find ways to invest in renewable energy with localised storage capacity in order to avoid black outs and the predicted continued cost increases of the centralised systems.

The Victorian Government’s Renewable Energy Target of 40% of the state’s energy production coming from renewable sources by 2025 is reliant on a proposed reverse auction process to procure wholesale electricity supplies, establishment of battery storages and investment in community energy initiatives. Given that the majority of the wind farms approved for construction are in Western Victoria, Our region has an opportunity to attract investment. The consortia making proposals to invest and supply renewable energy, will be required as part of the procurement process to identify economic prosperity projects that will be provided as part of their bids. These projects need to deliver regional social and economic benefits.   BREAZE Is collaborating with the Committee for Ballarat to identify a range of projects that can be presented to potential bidders for consideration.

It is pleasing to see the growth in publicity, interest and attendances at our Smart Living Ballarat workshops held at the Ballarat Central Library at lunchtimes on the third Wednesday of each month. This month has set a new bar with Simon Reid’s presentation on Getting the Most Out of Solar attracting 120 people.

The Minister for Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosia this week announced BREAZE had been funded to deliver the Ballarat Community Power Hub project. This is a big achievement with two years funding for BREAZE to coordinate the development of community renewable energy projects in our region.

We are expecting the outcome of BREAZE’s application for the Victorian New Energy Jobs program shortly.   We have sought a grant to finalise the business case for collection and processing of sawdust into briquettes as a means of storing and distributing bioenergy for heating and cooling applications in our region.

With the Ballarat Farmers Market still attracting new stallholders, entertainers, customers and arrangements being put into place for Sustainable House Day in August, there are still plenty of opportunities for you to assist through a range of voluntary roles. If you want more information please contact our Vice President Tarn Kruger ()

Political advocacy remains important at a time when there are governments and companies still supporting proposals for new coal, gas and oil mining on the basis it will provide jobs and investment in regional Australia. Like the tobacco and asbestos industries, the proponents are not afraid to spend huge sums of money to influence us that continued investment is justified. Please take the time to see how your voice can give our politicians, banks and superannuation funds the comfort of knowing fair minded Australians don’t believe the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry and that our prosperity is dependent on transition to clean energy sources. (search the following websites No Adani, Greenpeace, Market Forces, to join letter writing campaigns, rallies and other actions)

Ian Rossiter 21/7/17