Beacon 16th June 2016

short notes

Last Thursday evening Mark Shorter from Eurobodalla Shire Council was our guest speaker. Mark looks after all manner of sustainable and renewable things for the Council.

A lot of work behind the scenes has resulted in the Council saving not only money in operating costs but also reducing their carbon foot print. This is a fantastic win for the community and the environment. This is the exciting future our politicians keep on about but we rarely have the chance to see it in action.

Well done to Mark and his team and to the council. Hopefully we’ll see the Council as a stallholder at our Renewable Expo in November.

Saturday I drove Radar and three other exchange Students to Canberra for their final get-together. This was a chance for them to mingle, sign flags etc and for Youth Exchange magician John Briton to hand over certificates and say his good byes. John is the face of this very popular program and works very hard to make sure it all works …. an amazing effort.

A quick thank you to Laurelle and Rod for bringing together our Change Over program at the end of this month.

Have a fantastic week,

Cheers
Bob

Mark Shorter – ESC environment officer

Mark Shorter (ESC) and Frank Eden
Mark Shorter (ESC) and Frank Eden

Mark Shorter is the Sustainability Coordinator for the Eurobodalla Shire Council (ESC).  He started his talk last week with a very short history of the Council’s early attempts to do something about its carbon emissions.  His first slide was interesting – a newspaper clipping from the Braidwood Dispatch in 1912, so we have known about the risks for a long time.

Braidwood Dispatch

The targets set by the ESC for 2012 were not met, and Council has since put into place a more effective strategy, starting with a close examination of each of the Councils activities and its impact.

A very surprising outcome is the finding that waste is contributing 57% of the Councils emissions.  The council tips and sewerage works release a lot of methane, which is of course a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.  A grant has been received which will allow Council to capture that methane and either burn it or potentially use it to generate electricity in the same way they do in the Mugga Way tip in Canberra.

The ESC has also embraced behind-the-meter solar to reduce its electricity bills.  The admin building has 75kW.  The largest site is 100kW at Deep Creek Dam – used for pumping. Altogether there are 26 sites comprising 637kW – 2,500 panels.  Unfortunately, because the feed-in price is so low, there is no incentive to add solar capacity over and above what is needed to meet Council’s own usage.  This situation will change when virtual net metering is introduced.

The council is on track to reduce its emissions by 25% by 2020.  Their  efforts so far are very encouraging, especially because they save an estimated $244,000 pa.

Peter Bull pointed out that it would be interesting to see how this compares to other councils.

Shanna Provost mentioned that she has recently completed a photo shoot to help promote composting.  Watch out for workshops on how to do it effectively.

Bob recommended listening to Professor Andrew Blakers from the ANU, speaking about renewables and a 100% target for Australia. (That link will expire on 8th June).

Everyone was very impressed with the great strides Council is making in the area of energy security, due we are sure to Mark’s good efforts. Keep up the good work. The cost savings, and benefit to the environment are substantial.

CE4G Goulburn Community Solar Farm Feasibility Study

As promised in last weeks meeting, here is a link to the Goulburn Community Solar Farm Feasibility Study.  And also Clearsky Solar.

SouthCoast Health and Sustainability Alliance

The SouthCoast Health and Sustainability Alliance (SHASA) is seeking expressions of interest from anyone who wants to benefit from a low cost quality solar system and reduce their energy bills.

SHASA is a not-­for-profit community group based in Eurobodalla who help to make renewable energy more accessible and affordable. It is coordinating a solar bulk buy for the Eurobodalla community.

Paul Dolphin from SHASA said “We have been actively negotiating a bulk buy discount for quality solar systems at the best price and with the best local installers. It can be hard to navigate the world of solar so we have done all the research to give peace of mind and make sure people get good quality systems from reputable local installers at a discounted price.”