Yarra Glenergy has its roots almost 70 years ago, in the community action, fundraising and vision of a group of Yarra Glen women to develop the Infant Welfare Centre that opened in the early 1950’s and ran till 2012.
Through the peoples’ panel process conducted by the Yarra Ranges Council, $96,000 from the funds from the sale of the centre were put aside for community renewable energy projects.
Following a series of community meetings and workshops, it has crystallised into a steering group of enthusiastic and volunteer locals, and ultimately this meeting, to incorporate Yarra Glen Community Renewable Energy and join the international CoRE movement.
Community Renewable Energy (CoRE) projects are united in their aims:
- To decarbonise the local energy supply by encouraging the uptake of renewable energy
- To decentralise our energy supply and
- To democratise energy systems by encouraging community participation, partnership, collaboration and, hopefully one day, ownership.
Around the world:
- In Scotland, there are over 250 community renewable projects up and running
- In Germany 47% of installed renewable energy capacity is citizen and community owned
- The first modern wine turbine installed in the world was built in 1978 in Denmark by a community initiative.
In Australia, some prominent projects are:
- Repower Shoalhaven in the Southern Highlands of NSW has over 315 kW of solar arrays developed at 10 different locations, from sports clubs, churches to a variety of businesses and a 9kW system funded by the organisation and the Lions Club on the Kangaroo Valley community centre and Ambulance station – direct reinvestment in vital community services.
- The Hepburn Wind project has seen the development of Australia’s first community owned wind farm – the two turbine 4.1MW wind farm produces enough clean energy for 2000 homes.
- Pingala has installed 115 solar panels on the Young Henry’s brewery in Newtown in Sydney, and the community investors in the project can expect a 5-7% return on their investment in the project. Pingala is now working with three remote indigenous communities in NSW to install solar panels, storage and microgrids to 60 homes across 3 communities.