Victoria’s ALP government has made good on a pre-election promise to support the state’s first solar-powered town, with the announcement of a $200,000 grant for the Newstead 2021 project group.
The grant is part of a bigger push towards increasing uptake of renewable energy across the state, with the government currently preparing a Victorian Renewable Action Plan that will set out measures to attract a share of the $36 billion investment renewable energy forecast to occur in Australia by 2020.
Energy efficiency audits and retrofits to reduce energy use by households and businesses have already commenced in Newstead as the first step towards implementing a community-scale micro-grid using 100 per cent renewable power.
Environment Victoria Safe Climate campaign manager Dr Nicholas Aberle said the energy efficiency element was “a massive win-win”.
“Even basic measures like insulation and draught-sealing can pay themselves off in no time and make homes more comfortable to live in,” he said.
The model will incorporate community ownership and balance commercial viability with social equity through low prices and price protections for Newstead residents who are vulnerable to rising energy costs.
“The Andrews Labor Government is working with the Newstead community to help them achieve their goal of moving to renewable energy,” Lily D’Ambrosio, Victorian minister for energy and resources said.
“By reducing reliance on coal-fired power and cutting their carbon footprint, Newstead residents will help to inspire others in regional Victoria and beyond to move to renewables.”
- See our previous story Victorian Labor commits to first “solar town”