THE dream of locally produced and distributed clean energy could be a step closer, thanks to an initiative of The Goulburn Group.
Called Community Energy for Goulburn (CE4G), the project is investigating the possibility of establishing a community owned solar farm at Bridge St, near the Sydney Road.
The Goulburn Group (TGG) is launching its latest project at an information day this Saturday.
CE4G Project chair Peter Fraser said following a grant of $50,000 from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the committee has been working on various technical and financial aspects of establishing such a project that will be incorporated into a feasibility study.
“If it is built, the 1MW community- owned solar farm will be the largest community owned solar farm in NSW to date,” Mr Fraser said.
“We have been meeting for six months, planning the study and now we are ready to invite the community to find out more about the project.
“So we are running an information day for people to drop in and see how far we have advanced, ask any questions about the project, and tell us what they think.”
He said community owned energy generation is a relatively new idea in Australia but in Europe and the USA the sector has been growing for many years.
“In countries like Denmark more than half of all renewable energy generation is owned by local communities,” he said.
“As far back as 2001 more than 70 per cent of all wind farms in Denmark were owned by communities, families and local businesses, mostly through cooperatives that were set up with the encouragement of the government.
“Whole towns in Europe and America are completely off the grid and the energy being used by the community is also being generated by the community, be it from solar, wind or bio reactors.
“In Australia community energy is only now getting off the ground, and we believe Goulburn can lead the way here with this project.
“Everyone is welcome to come along and find out about the project, but more importantly to tell us what they think, and whether they would be interested in being part of this, as families, individuals or businesses.”
Examples of community energy across the world include: community owned solar farms, community owned wind turbine, community roof top solar schemes, community bioreactors, community owned micro grids, mandated community shares in wind and solar farms and bulk buying solar panels and storage packs.
Some examples in Australia include: the Hepburn Wind Farm, Repower Shoalhaven and SolarShare ACT.
The information day will be held on Saturday at the McDermott Centre with a short introduction to the project at 11am. Interested people can drop in any time from 11am until 2pm.
More information can be found at www.ce4g.org.au