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Goulburn Likes Community Energy!

Over 150 people turned up for the first Information Open Day run by Community Energy for Goulburn last Saturday.

CE4G is an initiative of The Goulburn Group, and was set up earlier this year following a grant from the NSW Government to look into the feasibility of setting up a solar farm in the Goulburn region.

The Open Day was organized to provide information on the feasibility study that CE4G is conducting into the building of a 1MW solar farm on an industrial site off Bridge St, next to the railway line.

“Over 150 people attended the event to find out about the idea and to tell us what they thought,” said Peter Fraser, CE4G project Chair.

“And not only did they express their enthusiasm for the idea, but a straw poll on what people would like to invest in the project, if it goes ahead, was a complete surprise.”

“There was a strong indication from participants that they were prepared to commit over $250,000 in investment in the project if it went ahead,” said Mr Fraser.

“People who had money tied up in super funds, in poor performing bank accounts, people wanting to create endowment funds for their children, and all kinds of other circumstances, were keen to put their money into something positive that still produced a good rate of return.”

“It was a great result considering this was our first public event, and this figure did not include all those interested in investing,” he said.

Community Energy projects are relatively new to Australia but are common place in Europe and in the USA. In Denmark more than half of all wind farms are owned by local community groups.

In many countries whole communities are deciding to become entirely independent of the grid by setting up their own generation and distribution systems.

“The obvious benefit to the community is that the bulk of the employment and profits from the project stay within the community,”

“And because community projects such as these focus on renewable energy, future prospects for even great expansion are very much on the cards, as old and dirty fossil fuel generation gets phased out,” said Mr Fraser.

The site for the CE4G study is an old industrial site that has been used as a fuel depot in the past, and is at the moment vacant land.

“Being at the gateway to Goulburn, it certainly would enhance the image of the city if people travelling into town can see how Goulburn is embracing the 21st Century,” said Mr Fraser.

CE4G will have a stall at the Lilac Markets next month, at the Parkside Markets in October, and at the Goulburn Connects Sustainability Festival in November.

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