Moreland Energy Foundation Limited https://www.mefl.com.au MEFL is dedicated to tackling climate change. We work with communities, partners and governments to implement sustainable energy projects. Mon, 15 Oct 2018 04:26:42 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://www.mefl.com.au/mefl2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/cropped-mefl-logo-01-2-45x45.png Moreland Energy Foundation Limited https://www.mefl.com.au 32 32 114584860 Tim Forcey: The all-electric home https://www.mefl.com.au/news/all-electric-home-speech-by-tim-forcey/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/all-electric-home-speech-by-tim-forcey/#respond Thu, 11 Oct 2018 01:12:57 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5980 Why it’s important to transition to an all-electric home – and the key steps to take This speech was delivered by Tim Forcey at the launch of the  CERES Eco-house on 9 October 2018. Tim has 35 years of industrial experience (electricity, oil and gas, petrochemicals) with focus on energy production, transmission and consumption. Thanks to Minister ... Read more »

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Why it’s important to transition to an all-electric home – and the key steps to take

This speech was delivered by Tim Forcey at the launch of the  CERES Eco-house on 9 October 2018. Tim has 35 years of industrial experience (electricity, oil and gas, petrochemicals) with focus on energy production, transmission and consumption.

Thanks to Minister D’Ambrosio for Victoria’s leadership, as demonstrated by a long list of exciting things going on in our state.

Thanks to the people at the Moreland Energy Foundation whom I’ve worked with over the years – on projects such as the roll out of the Victorian Residential Efficiency Scorecard.

And lastly thanks to everyone involved with making the CERES Environment Park and the EcoHouse the wonderful, instructing and thriving community icon that it is today.

Why me?

Now – I had to wonder – when I was invited to speak this evening – why me?

It’s not because of my 35 years of industrial experience.

Nor is it because of my volunteer climate action over the last 12 years working with many conservationist NGOs.

I might be speaking to you tonight because of the important research we published into the economic alternatives to gas out of the University of Melbourne with assistance from the Alternative Technology Association.

But here’s the truth. The reason I’ve been asked to speak here is because of this darned Facebook Group!

‘My Efficient Electric Home’ Facebook group

If you’re not already a member of the public Facebook group My Efficient Electric Home, I encourage you to get your phone right now, have a look, and join straight away!

My Efficient Electric Home, now with 4,500 members, has grown in three years to become a leading searchable database and source of advice for people making their homes more healthy, comfortable, affordable, less damaging to our global climate and environment, and a whole lot less dependent on gas.

Because it’s on Facebook, we have Members and experts from Iceland to Argentina. But it happens that around 90% of our members are Australian, and about half of those are Victorian. So a big theme you see at our group is exactly what you see in this EcoHouse: Victorians moving their homes off gas.

Every day, indeed nearly every hour – members are helping members choose the best insulation – the best heating systems, to double-glaze or not, and if so with what. And we have amassed hundreds, possibly thousands, of case studies of people moving their homes off gas.

Get off gas

It’s funny. I worked for decades in the gas industry and now I spend my time going around telling people the last place anyone would want to use gas is in a home!

My plumber wants to know what’s going on. He’s reporting a rush of people wanting to have their gas meters removed from their property. Turned off, disconnected, packed up, and taken away.

People are leaving the gas grid because they’re finding, as we did in our old renovated weatherboard, the cost of heating your home with these modern reverse cycle air conditioners can be as little as one-third of what it costs to heat with ducted gas.  One third.  These amazing home economics are not far off comparing the old incandescent light bulb with an LED!

At the University of Melbourne we found a large Melbourne home can save $658 a year by heating with their air conditioners instead of using gas. Across Victoria, we found people who already have reverse-cycle air conditioners but have never used them for heating could save a quarter of a billion dollars per year if only they find the heat button on their air con and move off gas.

This is the biggest consumer win that I’ve heard of. It’s even easier than changing a light bulb.  All you have to do is push a button. But how many people know?

Years ago many of us worked hard to demonise the use of air conditioners – in summer.

But now we must turn that on its head, because heating with your air con in winter is the way to save.

Even the gas industry won’t argue with you about these home-heating economics. They know the only thing keeping them in this business is the lack of knowledge in the community.

The gas industry is happy to keep selling gas heaters to people, condemning them to years of high heating costs. And the Victorian building industry is happy to keep selling homes equipped with ducted gas heating and evaporative cooling: the worst combination you can have when considering health, comfort, economics, our climate and our environment.

The wonder of the air conditioner

Because you see there are other benefits to heating with your air conditioner beyond just saving money.

Heating with your air con won’t kill you with poisonous carbon monoxide gas as happens too often with gas heaters.

Rather, air conditioners offer sophisticated air filtering, which is good for asthmatics and all of us that breathe air.

Turning on your air con can be the cheapest way to heat your home for months and months over winter.  And come January if you want to be cooler in your loungeroom when watching the tennis, you can use your air con to cool your room. Importantly as our planet warms, and heat waves become more severe – someday – an air conditioner might just save your life, or the life of an elderly family member.

The modern reverse-cycle air conditioner is a truly amazing multi-purpose device!

When you lay out all these advantages for Victorians, they get it.

What’s harder for people to understand are the technicalities of why an air con can be the cheapest and greenest way to heat a home. It’s an air-source heat pump. It uses a refrigerant cycle to capture the free renewable heat that the sun has put in the air outside your home. The thing about free heat is that it is free! That’s why it can cost as little as 1/3rd to heat with your air conditioner – instead of burning gas.

Expensive gas

And of course we have the gas industry to thank – for the situation where now Australia produces more gas than ever, often using highly invasive techniques like coal seam dewatering and hydraulic fracturing, that leak large volumes of the greenhouse gas methane into our Earth’s atmosphere.

But now, around 80% of Australia’s gas is exported!  Gas exports have caused the wholesale price of gas to double to double again, and now, it’s going up some more!

So getting off gas, or better yet, not getting on to it in the first place, is a no-brainer for many Victorians.  It’s better to heat your living spaces and water with modern air-source heat pumps, just like we are doing here at this EcoHouse.

Staying off gas should also be a no-brainer for housing estate developers. Why spend money to lay pipes and supply something that people don’t need, and fewer and fewer people want? Why should people who don’t want gas have to subsidise a few who might?

Today we have a couple of examples, in Torquay and in Canberra, where new housing estates have no connection to the gas grid.

In headlines, developers and planners are talking about the zero-carbon home and the house with no bills. Well, the house with no bills certainly doesn’t have a gas bill!

Gas for manufacturing / gas demand declining

Now, at this point in my talk is usually when someone will ask: “What about gas for Victorian manufacturing? Manufacturing needs gas!”

Does it?

Victorian manufacturing sure doesn’t need expensive gas, and thanks to gas exports, expensive gas is all that Victorian manufacturers are going to get.

So like homeowners, manufacturers also must consider their no-gas options.

Fortunately they have options. Whether it’s a dairy or a steel mill a report by Beyond Zero Emissions entitled “Electrifying Industry” describes how manufacturers can move away from gas using technologies ranging from heat pumps to microwaves to renewable hydrogen, not only to reduce their energy bill but also in many cases to streamline industrial processes, reduce other operating costs, and improve output and product quality.

In a way, it’s like the digitalisation of industry that must happen as we move away from the old 20th Century way of operating where we just went around burning stuff.

I recently published an article that reported the amount of gas used in eastern Australia peaked in 2012. Six years ago. You won’t hear of this from the gas industry. They want you to believe their product is an essential service a product that is in ever-increasing demand.

But that’s not true.  Every year, less and less gas is being used in homes, in manufacturing, and for generating electricity.

Good news! However, we’re not moving off gas and other fossil fuels fast enough.

Climate emergency

Because, let’s think about the even bigger picture. We have been and are in a Climate Emergency. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change yesterday released a report where it’s clear our current path leads to climate disaster. We must speed up our efforts to decarbonise.

But the problem is, not only are we not decarbonising fast enough, governments around the world, including the Victorian government, continue to spend taxpayer money helping the fossil fuel industry find, produce, and sell more fossil fuels.

To an engineer like me, or to a climate scientist, this is madness: supporting de-carbonisation on one hand while pursuing more carbon on the other. Any child would tell you, it makes no sense.

But many politicians see this as a satisfactory compromise. Such compromised decisions are not going to make things easy for our children. Politicians need to stop thinking it is their job to deliver less than what climate scientists know we need.

Throwing away money

Case in point, the Victorian Government Gas Program will spend $42.5 M in just a single year helping the oil and gas industry find more oil and gas.

Now I could ask people in this room tonight: What could you do with $42.5 M?

The Victorian Greens, in their recently-announced policy to move Victoria completely beyond gas would spend 3 million dollars of that letting people know the cheapest and greenest way to heat a home can be with a reverse-cycle air conditioner. This is what any Australian government should do if they are serious about truly helping people to reduce their energy bills.

This Greens policy sounds good to me, because if we are to leave this public awareness campaign to a few NGOs one EcoHouse and a Facebook Group, we’re NOT going to de-carbonise at the speed we need.

So let’s think again, what could we do with that $42.5 M?

The engineer in me does the numbers and finds that sum of money could supply reverse-cycle air conditioners to 15,000 homes.

But that’s unreasonable isn’t it. No government would ever do that. Hand out air conditioners to all these Victorians.

But why is the same sum of money so easily handed over to sustain the damaging fossil fuel industry well beyond its use-by date?

350 Victorian homes per day

Let me conclude with this from the Netherlands. The Netherlands, which sits on top of one of the largest gas fields in the world, is committed to be gas free by 2050. To do that, they are training up an army of technicians to replace gas appliances with heat pumps. Why? Because they’ve worked out, starting tomorrow, they must transform 1,100 homes every day from now to 2050.

What would that look like for Victoria?  Not quite as challenging. Starting tomorrow, we must de-gas around 350 Victorian homes every day from now until 2050.

So right now, given the Climate Emergency, we need a plan to degas all those Victorian homes. Where is that plan?

And it goes without saying, but we have to keep saying it: If you’re in a hole stop digging.

So starting tomorrow, no more bad fossil fuel investments. No more new gas appliances sold. No more new homes being fitted with gas. No new suburbs connected to gas. No new gas infrastructure.

Instead, let’s help our friends and neighbours that are on gas, to get off gas, and save money.

Thank you!

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Zero Carbon 2040 https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mefl-mcc-vision/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mefl-mcc-vision/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 06:43:27 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5799 At its meeting on 12 September, Moreland City Council adopted the Zero Carbon Evolution (ZCE) Refresh to 2020 and the 2040 Framework, as well as declaring a climate emergency. The Refresh is a comprehensive update of Council’s ZCE 2020 Strategy and the 2040 Framework extends the vision for a further 20 years. These strategies were ... Read more »

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At its meeting on 12 September, Moreland City Council adopted the Zero Carbon Evolution (ZCE) Refresh to 2020 and the 2040 Framework, as well as declaring a climate emergency. The Refresh is a comprehensive update of Council’s ZCE 2020 Strategy and the 2040 Framework extends the vision for a further 20 years. These strategies were developed by MEFL for the Council and will ensure that Moreland is at the leading edge of local action on climate change.

Consultation

MEFL developed the Zero Carbon Evolution Refresh and 2040 Framework with input from over 100 stakeholders via cross-Council staff meetings, the Sustainable Moreland Advisory Group, a ‘Pathways to Zero Carbon’ workshop and a ‘Brains Trust’ of industry, state, local government experts and community members.

The ZCE Refresh sets out clear targets for both MEFL and Council to deliver to June 2020, through programs including Solar for Business, residential solar bulk buys and expanded energy efficiency offers.

The path to zero carbon

The 2040 Framework provides high-level direction and medium-term action priorities that combine to provide immediate benefits, foundations for future action, and innovation and experimentation.

The 2040 Framework requires development of five-yearly Zero Carbon Action Plans to define medium-term ZCE targets, programs and resourcing requirements on the path to zero emissions. MEFL is working with Moreland City Council, and the Brains Trust, to develop the action plan for 2020-2025 and identify the projects MEFL can lead to deliver Council’s ambitious goals.

A model for others

As well as enabling Moreland to get on track to zero carbon by 2040, through this work MEFL has developed a model that can be replicated to support councils across Australia develop their own zero carbon strategies.

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Microgrid pilot https://www.mefl.com.au/news/microgrid-pilot/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/microgrid-pilot/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 06:42:50 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5804 MEFL is a partner in Ovida’s Community Energy Hub project, which received a $980,000 grant from the Labor Government’s Microgrid Demonstration Initiative earlier this month. The $2 million project will install shared solar PV and battery systems in three buildings in Melbourne to help cut energy costs for tenants. The initiative will benefit approximately 650 ... Read more »

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MEFL is a partner in Ovida’s Community Energy Hub project, which received a $980,000 grant from the Labor Government’s Microgrid Demonstration Initiative earlier this month.

The $2 million project will install shared solar PV and battery systems in three buildings in Melbourne to help cut energy costs for tenants. The initiative will benefit approximately 650 customers, generate 5000 kWh of solar energy and support 11,000 kWh of energy storage.

A microgrid is a small network of electricity users with a local supply of power that can function independently of the electricity grid, delivering energy security, sustainability and cost savings for those in the network.

MEFL is working with Ovida, Allume Energy, Jemena and RMIT University to deliver the project, which will deliver affordable, dispatchable and reliable energy for occupants of apartment and commercial buildings. MEFL will be leading the community engagement aspect of the project, understanding the needs of the customers and ensuring that it delivers maximum benefit to them.

The model utilizes the same technology as the Solar for Apartments pilot MEFL is already working on with Allume, which helps to distribute solar electricity between occupants of multi-unit dwellings.

The pilot will commence in spring 2018 with identification of the first site and aims to install the first solar and battery microgrid early in 2019.

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MEFL in the running for award https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mefl-in-the-running-for-award/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mefl-in-the-running-for-award/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 06:34:03 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5808 A partnership between MEFL and Moreland City Council has been named a finalist in the prestigious Premier’s Sustainability Awards. The Cooling Communities project has been nominated in the Environmental Justice category for reducing the effects of urban heat on social housing residents. The project Moreland Energy Foundation and Moreland City Council undertook the Cooling Communities project ... Read more »

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A partnership between MEFL and Moreland City Council has been named a finalist in the prestigious Premier’s Sustainability Awards. The Cooling Communities project has been nominated in the Environmental Justice category for reducing the effects of urban heat on social housing residents.

The project

Moreland Energy Foundation and Moreland City Council undertook the Cooling Communities project to help mitigate Urban Heat Island Effect impacts on social housing residents – people who are particularly at risk from heat stress as they are more likely to live in poorly designed or maintained properties and have chronic health conditions.

The project involved residents and social housing providers in selecting which measures would be installed.

The result

The result was 10 social housing properties retrofitted with upgrades including insulation, draught-proofing, external shading, ceiling fans, split-system air-conditioning, green infrastructure (trees and vegetation), solar panels and rainwater harvesting tanks

Winners will be announced on Thursday 11 October.

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Annual General Meeting https://www.mefl.com.au/news/annual-general-meeting-2/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/annual-general-meeting-2/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 06:29:57 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5819 The 2018 MEFL Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 23 October. Please join us for drinks and nibbles at 6.30pm. The AGM will commence at 7:00pm and will include the election of a Community Member Director to the MEFL Board. The AGM will be followed by a presentation introducing the new MEFL Strategic ... Read more »

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The 2018 MEFL Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 23 October.

Please join us for drinks and nibbles at 6.30pm.

The AGM will commence at 7:00pm and will include the election of a Community Member Director to the MEFL Board.

The AGM will be followed by a presentation introducing the new MEFL Strategic Plan.

RSVP

Please register via Eventbrite

Details

Date

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Venue

St Ambrose Community Centre, 287 Sydney Road, Brunswick (online map)
Just north of where Sydney Road intersects with Dawson Street and Glenlyon Road.

Transport and parking

Tram – Two minute walk from No.19 tram, Sydney Road
Bus – Two minute walk from Glenlyon Road / Sydney Road bus stop
Train – Five minute walk from Brunswick train station on the Upfield train line
Parking – Street parking is limited and subject to council restrictions

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Staff profile: Vijeta Tulsiyan https://www.mefl.com.au/news/staff-profile-vijeta-tulsiyan/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/staff-profile-vijeta-tulsiyan/#respond Thu, 13 Sep 2018 05:39:16 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5794 I joined MEFL in 2018 as a Data Analyst in the Zero Carbon Strategy and Programs team, assisting on a range of external and internal projects. My role involves preparing, analysing and reporting data using Python, Tableau and business intelligence tools, ensuring a robust basis for evidence-based business decision making. I also do energy/emissions baseline analysis ... Read more »

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I joined MEFL in 2018 as a Data Analyst in the Zero Carbon Strategy and Programs team, assisting on a range of external and internal projects.

My role involves preparing, analysing and reporting data using Python, Tableau and business intelligence tools, ensuring a robust basis for evidence-based business decision making. I also do energy/emissions baseline analysis and contribute to overall business development.

I am a final year Masters of Data Science student at RMIT University, Melbourne. I completed a summer internship at Marchment Hill and data science capstone project at Sustainability Victoria. I worked at Origin Energy for 5 years and developed a good understanding of solar, renewables and the Australian energy market.

I have statistical and machine learning modelling skills. My technical skills are Java, Python, R, SAS, SQL, Tableau, Hadoop & other big data tools. I am also interested in Big Data Management and Cloud Computing.

When I’m not working I’m usually… watching Netflix thrillers, gardening and travelling the countryside.

The three words that best describe me are… honest, punctual, inquisitive.

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Will Tait is sparking up about Spark! https://www.mefl.com.au/news/will-tait-is-sparking-up-about-spark/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/will-tait-is-sparking-up-about-spark/#respond Thu, 06 Sep 2018 04:20:53 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5764 Full program and bookings on the Spark! website

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Full program and bookings on the Spark! website

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Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours https://www.mefl.com.au/news/energy-justice-we-need-to-look-after-our-neighbours-2/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/energy-justice-we-need-to-look-after-our-neighbours-2/#respond Tue, 04 Sep 2018 01:38:07 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5724 MEFL Media Release, Monday 3 September 2018 The Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL), is proud to release our thought leadership paper Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours, in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology. Download the full paper Energy poverty and inequity has become and will continue to be a big ... Read more »

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MEFL Media Release, Monday 3 September 2018

The Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL), is proud to release our thought leadership paper Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours, in partnership with Swinburne University of Technology.

Download the full paper

Energy poverty and inequity has become and will continue to be a big problem in Australia, with far too many households unable to pay their electricity bills and use basic amenities – including heating and cooling their homes. Deaths as a result of heatwaves are at an all-time high and harsh winters are also felt acutely in energy inefficient housing stock, affecting the health and wellbeing of individuals within households.

Impacts of energy poverty

The impacts of energy poverty on families range from going without a substantial daily meal, the inability to pay for school books or uniforms, and going without an internet connection in order to pay energy bills. This adversely affects the engagement of students at school.

The elderly, individuals living with health issues, and large families on low incomes are our neighbours most adversely affected by energy poverty. Although large families only make up 1% of Australia’s population, this includes an estimated 200,000 children.

Recent research

Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours brings together recent research, to highlight the urgency for Australia to support the vulnerable and socio-economically disadvantaged members of our community.

Through their work in the community, MEFL has seen first-hand how energy poverty affects certain households. Across the State MEFL works with many families experiencing hardship and struggling to meet their basic needs due to high energy bills.

Case studies

One household MEFL visited has a $10,000 electricity bill; they will never have the capacity to clear that debt. Another home had all the blinds drawn, no lighting on, no heating or cooling and the fridge was unplugged. The family was avoiding meal preparation by eating canned food, which they heat up in the microwave that they turned back off as soon as they’d finished using it.

Recommendations

The time is now for the ACCC and AER recommendations to be enacted, to build in the protections needed for our neighbours in financial hardship, and the assistance required to improve energy literacy.

The paper follows the release of and strongly supports MEFL’s latest Strategic Plan and vision for an equitable zero carbon society. Australia must transition our energy supply to a zero emissions one; it is vital to ensure all Australians benefit from this transition and that no one is left behind.

Quotes

Quotes from MEFL CEO, Alison Rowe:

“It’s clear some of our neighbours are living with extreme poverty as a result of rising energy bills and it is also clear we are not looking after our most vulnerable. We want to make sure no one gets left behind to ensure a just transition as we move to a new decentralised, renewable energy system.”

“The energy system is changing significantly but solar and energy efficiency measures are not always available to all members of our society. Those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change are also the most in danger of being left behind in the energy transition.”

Read the full paper

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Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours https://www.mefl.com.au/thought-leadership/energy-justice-we-need-to-look-after-our-neighbours/ https://www.mefl.com.au/thought-leadership/energy-justice-we-need-to-look-after-our-neighbours/#comments Fri, 24 Aug 2018 00:11:05 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5689 Our energy system is evolving. Standardisation of energy prices and policies is a practice that met the needs of consumers relatively well in the past, however is less relevant to meet the needs of today’s consumer. Energy poverty and inequity has become and will continue to be a big problem in Australia, with far too ... Read more »

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Our energy system is evolving.
Standardisation of energy prices and policies is a practice that met the needs of consumers relatively well in the past, however is less relevant to meet the needs of today’s consumer.
Energy poverty and inequity has become and will continue to be a big problem in Australia, with far too many households unable to pay and use basic amenities such as heating and cooling during Australia’s hottest and coldest days. Energy poverty is having a negative effect on not only household finances, but also on the health and wellbeing of individuals within households.
Today’s consumer requires an energy market that is dynamic and flexible in its approach to consumer circumstance as well as responsive to the ever-changing environmental climate of our world. With renewables at the forefront of this change, we need to ensure all Australians benefit from this transition and that no one is left behind, particularly those most vulnerable in our society.

Download and read the full paper (PDF 2.2MB)

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Mike Hill Oration https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mike-hill-oration/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mike-hill-oration/#respond Thu, 23 Aug 2018 06:22:39 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=5682 As part of MEFL’s Spark! 2018 conference, John Thwaites will deliver the inaugural Mike Hill Oration on Thursday 20 September at 4:30pm. The Oration is a tribute to the late Mike Hill, whom many in the Moreland community and beyond, as well as in the wider sustainability sector, will remember. In honour of Mike, we are ... Read more »

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As part of MEFL’s Spark! 2018 conference, John Thwaites will deliver the inaugural Mike Hill Oration on Thursday 20 September at 4:30pm.

The Oration is a tribute to the late Mike Hill, whom many in the Moreland community and beyond, as well as in the wider sustainability sector, will remember.

In honour of Mike, we are opening the Oration to the general public.

Entry to the Oration is free, but booking is essential. Please print your Eventbrite ticket for entry.

Following the Oration is a networking event for conference delegates with drinks and canapes. You may purchase a ticket to the networking event for $30

Book tickets now via Eventbrite

Please print your Eventbrite ticket for entry.

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