There hasn't been a Newsletter for a while as we have been waiting to hear about our application for a grant from the NSW Regional Community Energy Fund (RCEF). We are still waiting but have good reasons to feel very optimistic.
If we are successful Energise Gloucester will be forming a Co-operative to build and manage the Solar Farm and to determine its operating principles and processes. Over the next four months, a Steering Group will be formed and will oversee the development and registration of the Co-operative. If you are interested to be a member of the Steering Group or know someone who has experience in co-operatives, please contact David Marston on mobile 0438316644 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss this opportunity.
Recently there have been a number of media articles about how solar farms are clogging the electricity grid and prices are falling. That is, wholesale prices are dropping due to over-supply, but retail prices are not changing. The grid at issue is the high voltage interstate grid but some people are asking whether this will affect our solar farm.
The Gloucester Solar Farm will be linking into the local 11kV grid operated by Essential Energy. It will NOT find its way into the high voltage national grid system (220/500kV) where the “choking” is occurring.
We have already received notification from Essential Energy that this size connection would be suitable. In fact, they are keen to have systems like ours at the outer ends of their grid as the electricity generated helps to stabilise supply.
We are proposing to generate 500kW of electricity which is only about 0.1% of the large commercial size generation being discussed in these articles. It is proposed that some of the Gloucester Solar Farm electricity will be sold "behind the meter" to the landowner hosting the solar farm. The rest will be purchased by a licenced electricity retailer (such as Enova) and sold to customers in Gloucester and district.
In the meantime, our other projects are progressing as discussed below.
Annual General Meeting
The AGM was held on Thursday 21 November 2019. A motion was passed to increase the Committee with an extra position so that there are two Vice-Chairs positions. The following Committee was elected:
Cam Laurie Dianne Montague
Alison Bencke Paul Collett Pat Burrows Neill Bencke Peter Pfister 2 vacant positions
A summary of the Chairman's report is on the next page.
Solar for Renters
Paul Collett is working with MidCoast Council about the Solar for Renters project and they are keen to develop this with Energise Gloucester. He will soon start talking to Real Estate agents about other landlord opportunities. If you are a landlord or a renter and would like to get involved with a solar generation system on your roof, please talk to Paul on mobile 0418452072.
Household Energy Audit
Pat Burrows is busy organising a number of volunteers to be trained in household energy auditing. The training will be provided by Enova, the community-owned electricity retailer on the north coast of NSW. We will then offer a service in Gloucester to help people understand how effectively and efficiently their household is using electricity; and where savings can be made.
Summary of the Chairperson’s Report
AGM, 21 Nov 2019
Highlights for this year
Operation of BWNG roof solar system.
Submission of application for Our Community Solar Farm.
Community interaction at DIG Gloucester, The Sustainability Fair and Farmers Markets.
We contacted our State and Federal candidates prior to the last election to seek their support for our projects and we publicised their responses.
We currently have 94 Members.
A full Balance Sheet and Profit/Loss Statement is available for any members requesting it. In summary: