Mid-Winter eNews

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Here is the Latest News from BREAZE

Hello Visitor,

Local Solutions to Climate Change in a time of Coronavirus and opportunities for you to get involved

Ballarat Green Drinks on zoom: 26 August 7:30pm

Aug 26


BREAZE is delighted to announce the return of Ballarat Green Drinks via Zoom

Please register in advance for this event:



Ballarat Green Drinks on zoom: 26 August 7:30pm

Aug 26


BREAZE is delighted to announce the return of Ballarat Green Drinks via Zoom

Please register in advance for this event:



President's Report August 2020

 MDMember Activities 

This month’s Smart Living Ballarat talk, ‘Garden Design and Management’ from BREAZE’s John Ditchburn offers advice on how to get the most out of your garden. For information about Smart Living Ballarat talks and how to book visit Smart Living Ballarat Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat/ Please do register so that presenters know who they are talking to. These talks remain available on the SLB Facebook site above - just click on the ‘videos’ link on the left.

This month Green Drinks will also return – via Zoom – with Paul Duggan passing the organising baton on to fellow BREAZE Board member, Tony Goodfellow who has booked Taegen Edwards from Environment Victoria —7:30 pm Wednesday 26th August. See BREAZE Facebook for upcoming details.

Board Activities

As we all struggle to cope in these strange Covid times some things are still being done – thanks to email, the Internet and Zoom:

  • Several Board members continue to be involved in the Grampians Renewable Energy Program (GREP), funded as a jobs stimulus package announced on the 22nd May this year. GREP involves 9 projects across multiple sites and the administration has involved establishment of a Program Control Group to manage compliance according to the terms of the DELWP agreement; plus individual project Steering Committees to oversee site permissions, site assessments, quotations, and installation. GREP will create jobs for locals and energy cost-savings for those who need them, as well as serving BREAZE's important mission—reducing GHG emissions.
  • Putting the environment on the agenda for the upcoming council election in October, BREAZE will be delivering a survey to all candidates for the City of Ballarat. The results of the survey will be circulated to members via an e-newsletter prior to the poll closing date. BREAZE also hopes to run an online Meet-the-Candidates forum in the Green Drinks slot at 6 pm on 23 September—an opportunity for voters to ask questions. Further notice of this will be given closer to the date.
  • The Advocacy Action Group met via Zoom on 23 July to discuss building more energy efficient homes and the need for more awareness of ecologically sustainable design. The City of Ballarat is currently reviewing its planning scheme and developing a sustainable building policy – in line with commitments made in the Carbon Neutrality and 100% Renewable Energy Action Plan, which was passed unanimously in 2019. Topics covered in Advocacy group discussion included:
    • Energy Score Cards, 
    • Cost versus cost savings of building energy efficient homes, 
    • Builders and their aptitude and attitude to building energy efficient homes
    • Levels of legislation and how to influence such
    • Ballarat subdivisions and forecast population growth 

If you would like to log on to the next Advocacy Group zoom discussion please contact  

Volunteer Vacancies 

BREAZE is currently calling for expressions of interest from members who would like to work with us on the BREAZE Board. Board members are elected at the AGM in November. We are inviting any who have ideas about what BREAZE should be doing, or would just like to find out more about what’s involved in being on the Board, to get in touch and log on to one of our monthly board meetings. See contact details below.

Treasurer's Position

After five years of sterling work, BREAZE treasurer Peter Reid will be stepping down from this role in November, so the Board is currently looking for a volunteer with a head for figures to take it on. If you are interested in the position but need to know more, click on our advertisement on Seek Volunteer, or better still logon to one of our monthly Board Zoom meetings and check us out. Contact  

Climate News

As usual plenty of good and bad news on climate and renewable energy in the media this month. My take on the three worst and three best below:

Three worst 
    Three best 

      Any members interested in joining our monthly board meeting should email for the Zoom link to log on.

      All the best


      Mary Debrett

      President, August 2020


      Vacancies for Volunteers: BREAZE Treasurer

      BREAZE Symbol Only

      Concerned about climate change? Want to make a difference? 

      We are currently seeking expressions of interest for the position of Treasurer—an unpaid voluntary role which will be confirmed at November's AGM

      The Treasurer's position is advertised with volunteer.com - https://www.volunteer.com.au/volunteering/opportunity/151438/treasurer

      We are also looking for new board members - nominations for which will also be called at our AGM in November.

      If you are interested you are welcome to attend one of our monthly Board meetings via Zoom.  

      The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 17 August from 5:30 pm - 7:00pm. Contact  if you would like to attend.


      Energy Efficient Communities Program – Small Business Grants

      Fed Uni Full Colour RGBSmart Energy System researchers at Federation University are wanting to connect with local businesses or farms that are looking for energy efficiency programs to reduce the cost —something that is now really important in post COVID world for recovery.

      The federal government is providing grants: the Energy Efficient Communities Program – Small Business Grants, which offer small businesses up to $20,000 to improve energy efficiency from taking on-farm energy audits, monitoring of energy usage and emissions, to helping an existing system to run more efficiently. Applications close 26 August 2020.

      Federation University researchers in the School of Engineering, Information Technology and Physical Sciences are inviting any relevant small businesses and dairy farms in the region that are interested in accessing this program, to get in touch to discuss collaboration and how university staff expertise in advanced technologies might assist in this domain.  

      Research Background
      Federation University has an established track record of research into carbon technology, climate change, and the Internet of Things (IoT) through its research concentrations in Carbon Technology,  Modelling, and Simulations, and Climate Change. With three newly appointed research-active faculty members in Electrical Power and Energy System areas, the School of Engineering, IT and Physical Sciences incorporates low carbon, climate change, renewable energy, smart power systems, asset management, and sustainability research focuses within one interdisciplinary research area.
      The School has a research/teaching focus on:
      * enabling technologies in smart grid,
      * innovative solutions to overcome the challenges for renewable energy integration,
      * home and microgrid energy management using IoT and communication technologies,
      * power electronic applications in power system,
      * hydrogen energy for power and transportation system,
      * CO2 capture and reduction,
      * water and energy Nexus.

      The School’s power and energy engineering members have established strong collaborations with local communities — City of Ballarat, and Buninyong Community Power Hub, Latrobe Valley, C4NET, GCCN — and have previously enjoyed several shared grant successes with collaborators. 

      More information about the program can be located in the following links:


      Please not the closing date for this funding opportunity is 26 August 2020

      For more information and grant application preparation, interested business and dairy farms may contact Dr. Rakibuzzaman Shah -



      BREAZE Social Solar


      Through our Social Solar program, BREAZE Inc. helps not-for-profit organisations across the region install rooftop solar, reducing their energy costs and their GHG emissions 

      McCallum Disability Services Inc installed this 30kW system on their offices with their funds, after a study completed by BREAZE-hosted  Community Power Hub Ballarat.

      You can help us to help the community by donating to BREAZE Social Solar.

      To donate here or find out more — click on 'Social Solar' under the 'Programs' menu .

      President's Report July 2020


      Smart Living Ballarat talks continue online during the pandemic. Do check out the Smart Living Ballarat Facebook site for details. https://www.facebook.com/smartlivingballarat/ And please try to register ahead so presenters know who they are talking to. If you haven’t ever attended one of these talks the online platform makes it pretty easy—and it’s an opportunity to learn and pick up practical tips from local experts. May’s talk, Sustainability in the Time of Covid, was presented by Steve Burns from Ballarat Permaculture, June had BREAZE treasurer Peter Reid talking on energy efficiency in the home, while in July, ‘Bottom Up Economics’ featured Daylesford’s Patrick Jones and Meg Ulman talking about all things earthy from compost toilets to food forests. All SLB talks remain available on the Facebook site above – just click on the ‘videos’ link on the left.

      This month BREAZE volunteers began implementing the 9 projects funded by the State government jobs stimulus funding—the Grampians Renewable Energy Program that was announced on the 20th of May. As a result of that injection of funds—$1.1 million in total—projects that were ready to go thanks to the great work of the BREAZE-hosted Community Power Hub and its Project Control Group—Peter Reid, Jane Lean, Ian Rossiter, and Ross Irving—will be happening soon with all to be completed by the end of the financial year. All in all the projects — McCallum Disability Services, Ballarat Regional Industries, Ballarat Cemetery Trust, Ballarat Table Tennis Association, Ballarat Squash and Racquetball Club, the Old Colonists’Association Retirement Village, Child and Family Services, Uniting Care Ballarat and the East Grampians Health Services — are likely to amount to more than 850kW of Solar PV. That’s a great bonus for the community and the environment.

      Also on behalf of BREAZE, thanks are due to Bank Australia for awarding an Impact grant to our social solar project at the Old Colonists' Association's Retirement Village, which means that we will be able to install solar on the community centre and several dwellings.

      Action Groups

      For any members who are interested in volunteering with BREAZE, do keep an eye out for up-coming notifications regarding our four Action Groups – Advocacy, Sustainable Living, Community Forum and Social Solar. While the pandemic does frustrate a lot of activities that we would normally be engaged in, email and online meet-ups offer some scope for continued activity. Notice of online meet-ups will be given on BREAZE facebook and our website. You can also find the contacts for each of these action groups listed on our website. Do get in touch if you have any questions. As has often been said: the COVID curve is not the only curve we need to flatten — we cannot allow politicians to forget that we also have a climate emergency.


      This month BREAZE has made submissions to:

      Climate News

      As usual there’s been plenty of good and bad climate news in the media this month. Here’s my take on the three worst and three best

      Three worst
      1. 'Intense Arctic Wildfires Set a Pollution Record' https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/07/climate/climate-change-arctic-fires.html
      2. 'Climate worst-case scenarios may not go far enough, cloud data shows' https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/13/climate-worst-case-scenarios-clouds-scientists-global-heating 
      3. 'Australian banks 'undermining Paris agreement' with $7bn in fossil fuel loans'- https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jul/08/australian-banks-undermining-paris-agreement-with-7bn-in-fossil-fuel-loans?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other


      Three best
      1. 'Top super fund dumps fossil fuels' - https://www.smh.com.au/business/the-economy/top-super-fund-dumps-coal-miners-as-emissions-cuts-intensify-20200708-p55a1c.html
      2. 'NSW first renewable zone attracts stunning 27GW of solar, wind, storage proposals' https://reneweconomy.com.au/nsw-first-renewable-zone-attracts-stunning-27gw-of-solar-wind-storage-proposals-82163/
      3. The Victorian government’s Greener Government School Buildings scheme invites Victoria’s state-owned schools to apply for rooftop solar. http://www.jamesmerlino.com.au/media-releases/applications-open-for-greener-government-school-buildings/


      The BREAZE board welcomes any suggestions from members about what we should be doing. Please get in touch if you have any suggestions. We continue to meet monthly via Zoom and certainly welcome community input.


      All the best


      Mary Debrett President, July 2020

      Advocacy Action Group

      Sustainable Home

      At the BREAZE Advocacy Group Zoom meeting (online) on 23 July a good number of members and friends took part and some great conversations were begun. More participants at next month's meeting would be very welcome and set the scene for some significant advancements in climate advocacy in Ballarat. 

      The proposed initial focus is that of building and property planning in greater Ballarat.

      Contact Therese Footner to be included in the invitations for the August online meeting:


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