AVOCA will soon be cooking with natural gas.
Energy company AusNet Services anticipates all going to plan, the town should be connected by late this year.
It is a much-anticipated arrival for business in the town, which have been forced to constantly buy in bottled gas for so long.
The Avoca hotel owner Ian Urquhart said switching to natural gas was simply a “no-brainer”.
“There will be small up-front costs – we’ll have to get a gas plumber in to change the fittings – but for long-term gains,” Mr Urquhart said.
“There will be opportunities to get competitive bidding for energy suppliers, pooling electricity with gas for better package deals.
“Natural gas burns a little bit cleaner. Gas from the bottle leaves a lot of black deposits on our equipment.”
The Avoca is a decorated Pyrenees hotel and three-time winner of prestigious Golden Plate award for best hotel.
Mr Urquhart said access to natural gas would be a bonus for business operations.
Gas pipe grid work across the centre of Avoca and into the industrial estate is complete.
AusNet natural gas program manager Geoff Thorn said the hold-ups were in final clearance to connect to Gas Pipelines Victoria’s supply running through Carisbrook, Avoca, Horsham, Ararat and Stawell.
Mr Thorn said AusNet was also still working with VicTrack, the state body which owns all rail corridors, to connect two parts of the Avoca grid together. Abandoned rail cuts the grid at the Sunraysia Highway and Homebush Road intersection.
The Victorian Government has injected millions into a proposal top re-open a standard gauge freight track between Ararat and Maryborough, which runs through Avoca. Mr Thorn said this should not alter gas pipe plans which already meet the standard for going under rail.
“We’re really hopeful the gas pipe and access to natural gas into the industrial estate will help fulfill growth in the estate,” Mr Thorn said.
Pyrenees Hay Processors Cooperative is a key operative already based in Avoca’s industrial estate.
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