Twenty villages, five cities and 70 visits to renewable energy operating projects.
Hepburn Wind community manager Taryn Lane embarked on a Churchill Fellowship research project in 2016 to study 100 per cent renewable energy villages in Europe.
Now her findings will help Hepburn Shire become Victoria’s first zero net energy community.
The TAKE2 Community Transition Pilot project announced earlier this month will develop a blueprint of Hepburn Shire’s greenhouse gas emission. It is the first step to create a transition plan for Hepburn Shire to become a 100 per cent renewable energy community.
Ms Lane has worked with Hepburn Wind, operator of Australia’s first community owned wind farm at Leonards Hill near Daylesford, for over seven years.
She is passionate about having an energy transition that is controlled by the community to benefit the community.
A three-month research project as a Churchill Fellow in regional villages in Sweden, Austria, Germany, Denmark and the UK helped her learn from European examples how to transition regional Australian villages to 100 per cent renewable.
Ms Lane said community energy had the potential to be a major power to Victorian homes.
“Hepburn Wind... has inspired communities across the country to achieve their own community energy projects,” she said.
“There are over 80 groups across the country who are actively working on their own local community energy projects. This is a movement, and one that is well proven in countries such as Denmark, Germany and the UK.
“It is also a pathway for renewable energy to meet broader community development goals and act as a transformative influence in communities.”
An information session about Churchill Fellowships will be held in Ballarat at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka from 5.30 pm to 7.30 pm on Thursday.
The program offers Australians, like Taryn Lane, the opportunity to travel overseas to investigate a topic or issue they are passionate about.
They are open to anyone who would like to see what other countries are doing successfully in a similar field, to inspire new ideas and innovation that will benefit Australia.
About 100 Churchill Fellowships are awarded annually, including some relating specifically to agriculture, health, education, the environment and the arts. Churchill Trust CEO Adam Davey said they encouraged applicants from regional areas.
You can register for the information session at www.churchilltrust.com.au/events. Applications for the fellowships close April 27, for travel between February 2019 and January 2020.
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