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Community Power Hubs in Victoria provide renewable energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions

An announcement made by the Victoria Government highlighted the launch of the Gippy Bulk Buy project wherein the community is given an opportunity to bulk-buy solar powered hot water units that is cheaper than commercial ones and saves on energy consumption cost.

The Andrews Labor Government has made an investment that allows the residents of the City of Latrobe, Baw Baw, and Wellington Shires to buy locally-made solar hot water systems.

In attendance at Morwell for the launch of the Gippy Bulk Buy project was Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio. This project is one of the first initiatives to be funded under the Gippsland Community Power Hubs program.

The project provides an opportunity for the community to bulk-buy solar-powered hot water units made at Morwell’s worker-owned Earthworker Co-operative.

Earthworker Co-operative is a community-led initiative working to provide local, sustainable, wealth-creating jobs that will contribute to a healthy planet and a safe climate. The initiative responds to the challenges of climate change and the need for local job creation, by facilitating the establishment of worker-owned cooperatives focused on social and environmental sustainability.

An advantage of the solar hot water systems is that it is cheaper than commercial price by around 20%. Another benefit is that it will save customers between 30% - 50% on their electricity costs once installed. Moreover, the project will create new manufacturing jobs as well as work for local electricians who will be installing the units.

All residents and businesses in the City of Latrobe, Baw Baw and Wellington Shires can access the bulk-buy services through the Community Power Hub over the next year – until June 2019.

The A$900,000 Community Power Hubs (CPH) program, which is being trialled for two years in Gippsland, Ballarat and Morwell, is helping communities take charge of their energy bills with major investments in renewables and energy efficiency upgrades.

CPH investigates and implements a range of models for community energy. This program is a part of the Labor Government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emission and to reach its target of 40% renewable energy by 2025.

This involves local volunteers, businesses, community organisations, not for profit groups and government agencies working to organise and support local community energy project ideas.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change Lily D’Ambrosio said, “The Community Power Hubs program is helping communities use the skills and expertise they already have to develop renewable energy projects.”

She added, “In Gippsland, projects like the Gippy Bulk Buy program will help produce cleaner, cheaper energy and create local jobs.”

Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said, “This bulk-buy program is developing a local solar hot water industry that will help bring down energy bills and alleviate cost-of-living pressures for families throughout the region.”

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