Energise Gloucester Newsletter No 20

Energise Gloucester Newsletter No 20
Feb 25, 2020

Chairman’s Note === We are Still Waiting !!!

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 chair@energisegloucester.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:

David Marston
Vice Chairpersons
Cam Laurie
Dianne Montague
Jenny Shaw
Vicki Coombes
Membership Secretary
Kerry Marston
General Committee
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.

Other Projects

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.
Community interaction
Community interaction


We currently have 94 Members.


A full Balance Sheet and Profit/Loss Statement is available for any members requesting it.
In summary:

  • Income $14,050
  • Expenses $2,008
  • Operating Profit $12,043
  • Liabilities $15,303 ($15,000 loans for BWNG Roof Project + $303 GST)



  • This system is working extremely efficiently, and the debt is being paid off on schedule.
  • Most days the generation is in excess of usage and we have sold $2500 to the grid.
  • Since commencing to generate we have sold $10,500 to the Centre.
  • In June 2019 we made a payment to lenders of 40% of their loans.
  • EG has received $3000 in management fees.

Community Interaction

  • Provided Advice to the Uniting Church, Primary School, and Gloucester Pre-school.

Community Solar Farm

  • Looking for a site.
  • We have applied for a $460,000 grant, we will need a find further $340,000.

Solar for renters

  • Working with Mid Coast Council to develop solar on their rental properties.

Maximising the benefits from your Solar Units

  • Workshops for households.

Ideas for the Future

  • A Mid Coast Council partnership to develop renewable energy to service the Sewage Treatment Plant and Swimming Pool.
  • Recharging stations for electric vehicles.
  • A solar system on a carpark roof.
A solar system on a carpark roof
A solar system on a carpark roof

Gloucester Community Plan

  • Energise Gloucester made a submission to the Gloucester Community plan question about “How would you like to see your community in 20 years?” We suggested:
  • Several community-owned and operated solar energy generation facilities.
  • A biogas system that uses locally sourced (or grown) organic matter (and waste) to generate energy.
  • Value adding to agricultural produce and waste products through local processing (mini-factories) that use locally generated renewable energy and create employment.
  • New water reticulation (fresh and sewage) systems that are designed for lower per-capita water use and based on generating and using renewable energy to manage the system.
  • Most houses and industry using locally generated and distributed energy.

Do you know the Answer?

Do you know the Answer?
Do you know the Answer?

Send the correct answer by email to: editor@energisegloucester.org

Nuclear power uses the energy released from the breakdown of which element?.

1: Cardon dioxide
2: Hydrogen
3: Uranium
4: Lithium
5: Mercury

The answer to our last question was (a) - Methane
The first person in with the correct answer was:
Stefanie Garland