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

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.”