Ballarat General Cemeteries could be Ballarat’s first organisation to adopt a renewable energy plan, as part of Victoria’s Community Power Hubs program.
BREAZE, the organisation behind Ballarat’s Community Power Hub, is in the process of engaging a consultant to establish a feasibility study on the conversion of Ballarat General Cemeteries’ every day operations to solar and electric.
It is one of eight community renewable energy projects in the region which will receive a feasibility study.
The $900,000 state government funded Community Power Hubs project is supporting groups in Ballarat, Bendigo and the LaTrobe Valley to develop locally-owned renewable energy projects.
The hubs aim to have at least one flagship project ready for implementation in each region within two years, and at least three more in the pipeline.
Ballarat Cemeteries CEO Annie De Jong said the organisation consumed significant electricity and fuel in daily operations, running irrigation systems, buildings and equipment.
“[We] are... delighted to work with the Community Power Hub program to investigate how we can move to renewable energy sources and potentially become a model for regional cemeteries across the state,” she said.
The feasibility study will investigate the potential use of solar panels, converting machinery used for grounds work from petrol to electric, and a small solar farm on excess land.
Ballarat Community Power Hubs spokesperson Ian Rossiter said presenting options for financing would be part of the feasibility study.
“In some cases it would pay for itself in electricity savings. There may be other community opportunities like community investment in solar,” he said.
McCallum Linen has also been announced as a site to be investigated for a community energy project, with hopes solar panels could power the commercial laundry.
Six other Ballarat projects are to be announced in coming months.
Mr Rossiter said the Community Power Hub hoped to have multiple projects either underway or completed before the program’s end in June 2019, and a number of additional business cases ready.
“The program is a continuous open project, so we are happy to hear from any community groups who have ideas about renewable energy projects,” he said.
It allows us to look at small to medium scale demonstration projects that can be catalysts for local tradespeople and consumers to normalise renewables.Ian Rossiter, Ballarat Community Power Hub spokesperson
“It is a good way of getting demonstrations up and around and for people to realise that renewable energy isn’t just about building large scale wind and large scale solar.”
Visit https://breaze.org.au/programs/cph for more information.