A Ballarat social enterprise hopes to slash its energy bills using solar PV and bioenergy from waste timber that would otherwise be stockpiled or landfilled and release harmful greenhouses gases.
The project is the first being developed through the Ballarat Community Power Hub, which was officially launched by the Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio at a Wendouree linen service run by McCallum Disability Services on Wednesday.
The $900,000 Community Power Hubs program, run by Sustainability Victoria, is being trialled for two years in the Ballarat, Bendigo and Latrobe regions.
Sustainability Victoria acting chief executive Jonathan Leake said the Ballarat Community Power Hub had provided $6500 to help McCallum Disability Services assess the feasibility of a new biomass boiler.
“A biomass system would reduce energy costs by $100,000 a year and be paid for in seven years”, he said.
“The 2000kw system will be powered by locally-sourced timber waste, operate well-under Environment Protection Authority emissions requirements and produce relatively little ash.”
Mr Leake said the reduced energy costs will allow for the expansion of services to provide additional employment for people with disabilities.
The program is contributing to the delivery of the state government’s target of 40 per cent of the state’s energy needs coming from renewable energy by 2025.