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. Tue, 11 Dec 2018 06:59:05 +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 Podcast interview with MEFL’s Lucy Best https://www.mefl.com.au/news/podcast-interview-with-mefls-lucy-best/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/podcast-interview-with-mefls-lucy-best/#respond Sun, 25 Nov 2018 23:40:28 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6212 MEFL’s Community Engagement Lead Lucy Best was interviewed recently about domestic solar power for the Undercover Architect podcast. It’s such a big topic they needed 2 episodes to cover it all! Lucy knows the topic inside-out and cuts through the jargon to explain the choices and issues clearly. Both parts are now available. See the intro ... Read more »

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MEFL’s Community Engagement Lead Lucy Best was interviewed recently about domestic solar power for the Undercover Architect podcast.

It’s such a big topic they needed 2 episodes to cover it all! Lucy knows the topic inside-out and cuts through the jargon to explain the choices and issues clearly.

Both parts are now available.

…or just click the play buttons below to listen now.

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Portal proves its value https://www.mefl.com.au/news/portal-proves-its-value/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/portal-proves-its-value/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 02:43:22 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6296 Gippsland’s Energy Innovation Co-op (EICo-op) is one of many local community energy groups around Victoria powering ahead with locally-managed sustainable energy projects. EICo-op is running a range of initiatives in South Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley. The group also collaborated with MEFL and other community groups in the Victorian Community Solar Alliance to create the ... Read more »

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Gippsland’s Energy Innovation Co-op (EICo-op) is one of many local community energy groups around Victoria powering ahead with locally-managed sustainable energy projects. EICo-op is running a range of initiatives in South Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley.

The group also collaborated with MEFL and other community groups in the Victorian Community Solar Alliance to create the Community Solar Portal. The value of the Portal has been proven in two of EICo-op’s recent projects, which have used its resources to get up and running.

Old Energy – New Energy

The Co-op has started construction of a community-owned solar farm in Wonthaggi. Being on the site of a former coal mine, the project has been titled “Old Energy-New Energy”. The project was launched by Victorian Minister for Energy, Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio in October. Projects like this require legal documentation such as lease agreements and Power Purchase Agreements. The Portal provides templates for these documents, which EICo-op was able to use for this project.

Foster Pool

Templates from the Portal were also useful for the Co-op’s solar heating project at the public swimming pool in the town of Foster. A loan was required for the project infrastructure, so once again legal documentation was required. As the Portal’s loan agreement template was still under development at the time, EICo-op contributed to its development and then used the finished product to secure the necessary loan. The loan template and many others are now available for other community solar groups to use. Access to these document templates removes a major obstacle for local groups embarking on ambitious projects – they don’t have to go through the expensive and time-consuming process of drawing up complex documents from scratch.

Photo: from left, Graeme Baxter (Parks Vic Reg Director), Moragh Mackay(EICo-op Chair), Cr Brett Tessari (Deputy Mayor Bass Coast), Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio, Cr Michael Whelan (Bass Coast Shire), John Coulter (EICo-op Project Officer), Steve Harrup (President Friends of State Coal Mine)

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MEFL’s international hit videos https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mefls-international-hit-videos/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/mefls-international-hit-videos/#respond Wed, 14 Nov 2018 01:56:51 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6277 Back in 2011 MEFL produced a series of advice videos demonstrating simple home energy-efficiency actions – replacing halogen downlights with LEDs, draught sealing, low-flow shower heads etc. They were made in 8 languages – English, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek and Mandarin. Positive Charge followed up a couple of years later with another series, ... Read more »

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Back in 2011 MEFL produced a series of advice videos demonstrating simple home energy-efficiency actions – replacing halogen downlights with LEDs, draught sealing, low-flow shower heads etc. They were made in 8 languages – English, Turkish, Urdu, Arabic, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek and Mandarin. Positive Charge followed up a couple of years later with another series, including videos in Spanish, Cantonese and Macedonian. The videos were well received at the time, but over the years those videos have steadily increased in reach and popularity, with some exceeding all expectations!

Most popular videos

Most popular of all is the Turkish video showing how to fit double-glazing plastic film to your windows; it’s been viewed 270,500 times, with almost all of the views being from Turkey. Also popular in Turkey is the draught-sealing video, with over 120,000 views. The Mandarin version of the draught-sealing video has also been a hit in Taiwan, with almost three-quarters of the 64,300 views. The English version of the double-glazing video has been viewed all over the world, with a high proportion of viewers in the USA and UK, while the Arabic version is popular in the Middle East and North Africa. We’re delighted to see these simple and practical ideas spreading all over the world! You can see all the videos on our YouTube Channel.

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Staff Profile – Nicholas Rickard https://www.mefl.com.au/news/staff-profile-nicholas-rickard/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/staff-profile-nicholas-rickard/#comments Wed, 14 Nov 2018 01:55:45 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6283 Energy Advice Centre Coordinator I have recently joined MEFL as the Energy Advice Centre Coordinator in the Zero Carbon Services team. I lead the Energy Advice Centre (EAC) team to ensure that we are resourced to meet the needs of a number of MEFL programs and major projects. The team provides energy advice and information ... Read more »

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Energy Advice Centre Coordinator

I have recently joined MEFL as the Energy Advice Centre Coordinator in the Zero Carbon Services team.

I lead the Energy Advice Centre (EAC) team to ensure that we are resourced to meet the needs of a number of MEFL programs and major projects.

The team provides energy advice and information to residents in Victoria and New South Wales through the Positive Charge and Our Energy Future programs.

Prior to MEFL, I worked at CERES Environment Park, supporting schools across Melbourne to embed sustainability in everything they do.

I am passionate about taking action on climate change and working in the not-for-profit sector.

When I’m not working, I’m usually… at Fitzroy Pool training with (and coaching) the masters swim squad.

I love… gardening and growing my own food. I have a huge veggie patch and also have three chickens providing me with fresh eggs every day.

The craziest thing I’ve done in the name of sustainability is… jumping on a kayak and joining a flotilla with the Pacific Climate Warriors in Newcastle (the world’s largest coal port) to stop coal exports for a day!

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Cities Power Partnership Summit https://www.mefl.com.au/news/cities-power-partnership-summit-2/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/cities-power-partnership-summit-2/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 22:28:56 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6293 MEFL’s Head of Development Kate Nicolazzo was a speaker at Cities Power Partnership’s Summit in October. The theme was “Accelerating Local Action” and Kate spoke about the range of projects MEFL is undertaking in partnership with local councils, business, and communities. Speakers from councils, state government agencies, non-profits and academia discussed and celebrated the good ... Read more »

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MEFL’s Head of Development Kate Nicolazzo was a speaker at Cities Power Partnership’s Summit in October. The theme was “Accelerating Local Action” and Kate spoke about the range of projects MEFL is undertaking in partnership with local councils, business, and communities.

Speakers from councils, state government agencies, non-profits and academia discussed and celebrated the good work local councils are doing to fight climate change.

The message was clear: local governments are working together to make real changes to slash Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions, in the face of Federal inaction. Partnerships with community and industry help councils bring the benefits of clean, cheap reliable energy to local residents and businesses.

It also became clear during the Summit that climate change doesn’t have to be a partisan political issue; local government leaders from across the political spectrum are joining forces to reduce emissions and ramp up clean energy. The summit was a great success and it was uplifting to see the positive work being done on the ground by councils. MEFL is a key partner in helping local councils to continue to build on that success and work toward an equitable zero carbon society.

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Alison Rowe to chair ISCA https://www.mefl.com.au/news/alison-rowe-to-chair-isca/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/alison-rowe-to-chair-isca/#respond Tue, 13 Nov 2018 04:42:19 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6286 The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has appointed MEFL’s CEO, Alison Rowe, as Chair of its Board. ISCA is the peak body for sustainable infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand.  It is a member-based, not-for-profit organisation that advances sustainability outcomes in infrastructure.  The principal means by which ISCA advances sustainability is through the IS ... Read more »

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The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) has appointed MEFL’s CEO, Alison Rowe, as Chair of its Board. ISCA is the peak body for sustainable infrastructure in Australia and New Zealand.  It is a member-based, not-for-profit organisation that advances sustainability outcomes in infrastructure.  The principal means by which ISCA advances sustainability is through the IS rating scheme, a third-party assured, performance-based reporting framework for design, construction and operation of assets. ISCA’s members include large construction contractors, consultants, government transport authorities, peak bodies and councils.

Previous Chair ‘delighted’

Alison replaces long-serving Chair David Singleton AM, who stepped down as Chair at the Annual General Meeting on 14 November. David welcomed Alison to the position, saying, “With a strong focus on developing relationships and establishing clear accountabilities, Alison understands how to drive transformational change. A dual strategy of advocacy, governance and collaboration is required. I couldn’t be more delighted with my successor.”

Alison is looking forward to her position as Chair on the ISCA Board and thanks her predecessor. “David has left some big shoes to fill and I am honoured to be given the opportunity to help lead ISCA into delivering and driving long-term impacts for people and planet through sustainable infrastructure”.

Emissions from infrastructure

The infrastructure industry is responsible for more than 50% of Australia’s green-house gas emissions. ISCA enables sustainability in infrastructure through a third-party rating program, training and knowledge sharing and creating a community of practice around sustainable infrastructure. To date, more than $100 billion in infrastructure projects is engaged in the IS rating scheme across Australia and New Zealand. Collectively IS rated projects have saved enough energy to power the households of Brisbane for a year, diverted waste equivalent to the household waste of Dunedin for two years and saved enough water to fill 67,000 Olympic swimming pools.

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Changes to MEFL Board https://www.mefl.com.au/news/changes-to-mefl-board/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/changes-to-mefl-board/#respond Mon, 12 Nov 2018 01:40:49 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6272 There has been quite a bit of change on the MEFL Board recently. As we reported in the last eBulletin, Ian Thomas and Rosemary Bissett retired from the Board after serving some 18 years each. We are pleased to welcome Nikki Potter as a Director on the MEFL Board. Nikki formally joined Board in September 2018. ... Read more »

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There has been quite a bit of change on the MEFL Board recently. As we reported in the last eBulletin, Ian Thomas and Rosemary Bissett retired from the Board after serving some 18 years each.

We are pleased to welcome Nikki Potter as a Director on the MEFL Board. Nikki formally joined Board in September 2018.

We are also pleased to welcome Sarah Paparo as the new Company Secretary (also joining in September).

At our AGM on 23 October we also held an election the position of Community Director. Imogen Jubb was elected as the new Community elected Director. Welcome Imogen!

We sadly farewell Catherine Leslie who has served on the Board as the Community Director for 4 years.  We wish Catherine well and thank her for her dedication and contribution to MEFL.

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Energy Poverty https://www.mefl.com.au/news/energy-poverty/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/energy-poverty/#respond Tue, 30 Oct 2018 04:56:03 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6148 This is the text of a speech given by MEFL’s CEO Alison Rowe at the ACOSS “Rise to the Challenge” Conference in Sydney on 29-30 October. The gap between those who have solar and those who don’t is widening. It raises the concern around the costs for those who are left behind on the grid; ... Read more »

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This is the text of a speech given by MEFL’s CEO Alison Rowe at the ACOSS “Rise to the Challenge” Conference in Sydney on 29-30 October.

The gap between those who have solar and those who don’t is widening.

It raises the concern around the costs for those who are left behind on the grid; do they pay more for electricity?

Energy poverty impacts more and more Australians, with the most vulnerable members being those on low incomes, including pensioners, students, and concession card holders. This increases when you consider renters and large families.

Retailers need to provide a fair price offer, as at May 2018 there were 5,940 gas and electricity offers in the market, with a large proportion of these  having multiple conditions particularly pay-on-time conditions, which we know proves challenging for those who are struggling. The moment there is a late payment, all the discounts come off.

Disconnections

In 2017, 160,000 homes were disconnected. Retailers need to improve their treatment of those in hardship. Over the last 10 years the number of people excluded from hardship programs after non-payments has increased by 32%. In 2016/17 average debt for some entering a hardship program was $1,250. This means they were typically a year in energy debt before seeking help.

Energy poverty affects the elderly or those on low incomes the most. In 2016 there was 1.5 million or 20% of households that have an income of $34,000 or less. Large families on low incomes make up about 1.5% of homes or 42, 000 homes, which is about 200,000 kids.

Energy poverty impacts our future leaders, our students. Not all students are supported financially. The percentage increase for the Newstart allowance over the last decade has been minuscule and the Youth Allowance marginal, nothing like the 80% increase in energy prices over the last 10 years.

80% of the university students we researched don’t believe their retailer is presenting them with the best offer, and 70% are not on a student concession for their electricity.

Our work, our stories

 Through our work last year, MEFL visited over 1,600 people in their homes and provided advice to over 5,000 people.

We are working with many families who are experiencing hardship and struggling to meet the basic needs of their family because of high energy bills. One person we have visited has a $10,000 electricity bill; they will never have the capacity to clear that debt. How could someone issue that bill?

Another home we visited had all the blinds drawn, no lighting on, no heating or cooling and the fridge was unplugged. The only way the family is preparing meals is by eating canned food, which they heat up in the microwave. They then turn the microwave back off as soon as they’ve finished using it.

During the work we have undertaken so far, one story stood out in particular, showing how just a simple tariff-intervention can have a real impact. ‘Joanne’ was going through a hard time with her own health problems as well as dealing with her husband entering a nursing home. Joanne was struggling with bills but like many people of her era did not complain and budgeted well to make ends meet, often missing out on things to make sure the bills could be paid.

When we visited Joanne we reviewed her tariffs and found she was not getting a pensioner discount and was only getting a 5% pay-on-time discount. Joanne thought she was getting a good deal as she was with a bigger company and did not understand you could negotiate a rate. We called her supplier and had her pensioner discount reinstated and negotiated a 31% discount.

There are solutions, we need new business models

  • Energy efficiency – need to finance this the same way solar is and provide discounts/no interest finance to pensioners/low income households
  • Solar Savers – Based on the initial pilot by MEFL and Darebin Council six years ago, the program has expanded to 22 Councils in Victoria. Involves a loan taken out by the Council to pay for the solar for pensions and then paid back through your rates, we need to expand this across Australia
  • Government – Fund large scale roll outs for vulnerable communities, programs need to point to those who need it the most
  • Solar for Renters Program – Renters are often left out of the programs, our work in Moreland in partnership with SunTenants, Allume and DELWP is proving the model for the future. In Moreland 38% of households are renters and that percentage is even higher in areas like the City of Sydney.

MEFL’s Thought Leadership article

For a more detailed exploration of this topic, see MEFL’s Thought Leadership article, Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours.

On Twitter

“AlisonRoweAU outlines exciting projects Moreland energy foundation for low-income homes and renters to reduce energy poverty #ACOSSConf2018″

Great speakers at #ACOSSConf2018 to talk about the Lack of access to solar & batteries the next big poverty driver

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CERES zero emissions EcoHouse https://www.mefl.com.au/news/ceres-zero-emissions-ecohouse/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/ceres-zero-emissions-ecohouse/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 05:01:58 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6041 Over the past year MEFL’s Zero Carbon Evolution and Positive Charge teams have been working with CERES to upgrade their EcoHouse to become an all-electric, zero emissions home. Previously the house used gas for cooking and hot water heating. As gas is a fossil fuel this needed to be replaced if CERES are to meet ... Read more »

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Over the past year MEFL’s Zero Carbon Evolution and Positive Charge teams have been working with CERES to upgrade their EcoHouse to become an all-electric, zero emissions home. Previously the house used gas for cooking and hot water heating. As gas is a fossil fuel this needed to be replaced if CERES are to meet their goal of zero emissions by 2025.

Background

The CERES EcoHouse was transported to CERES in 1982 and was retrofitted to demonstrate energy efficient design and early solar technology. In its time at CERES it has undergone a series of renovations and alterations to continually reduce its environmental footprint.

The upgrade

MEFL provided financial support towards the upgrade as well as utilising our extensive delivery knowledge to ensure that the measures installed would help reduce carbon emissions and energy bills, whilst being easily replicable by households across Australia.

The EcoHouse utilizes solar power from the 3.71kW solar array and 6kWkh battery to power the home with renewable energy (and charge the new electric vehicle). However households without solar can still become an ‘all-electric zero emissions home’ by purchasing GreenPower.

Heat pumps

A key part of the upgrade was installation of a range of heat pumps for heating and cooling. These included a hot water heat pump and two heat pump ac units (also known as reverse cycle air conditioners). These heat pumps utilise the temperature in the air to provide low energy (and low cost) heating by moving heat from one place to another instead of burning fuel to produce heat. This means they are on average four times more efficient than conventional heaters. As Victorian homes use 32 times more energy for heating than cooling it is critical that our homes have the most efficient heating systems available.

Launch

The Zero Emissions EcoHouse was officially launched on 9th October by The Honorable Minister D’Ambrosio. If you want to read Tim Forcey’s excellent speech from the launch on the importance of getting off gas it is available on our website.

If you want support in your journey to becoming a zero emissions home then visit the Positive Charge website for a range of products including draught proofing and insulation, solar, hot water heat pumps and reverse cycle air-conditioning.

Visit

If you want to visit the Ceres Ecohouse and see the changes yourself, it’s open the first and third Saturday of every month, 9.30am-2.30pm.

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Climate Emergency conference https://www.mefl.com.au/news/climate-emergency-conference/ https://www.mefl.com.au/news/climate-emergency-conference/#respond Tue, 16 Oct 2018 05:00:23 +0000 https://www.mefl.com.au/?p=6021 MEFL’s Manny Pasqualini gave a very well-received presentation at Darebin City Council’s Climate Emergency Conference in September. Manny spoke about the burgeoning community energy sector in Victoria. He described the various factors that are driving the expansion of the sector; political, environmental, economic, technological and social. Trends and innovations Manny’s presentation covered some of the ... Read more »

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MEFL’s Manny Pasqualini gave a very well-received presentation at Darebin City Council’s Climate Emergency Conference in September. Manny spoke about the burgeoning community energy sector in Victoria. He described the various factors that are driving the expansion of the sector; political, environmental, economic, technological and social.

Trends and innovations

Manny’s presentation covered some of the major trends and innovations in community energy, including community electricity retailers, medium-scale solar projects, microgrids and regional alliances. He also featured the work that MEFL has done in partnership with the Victorian Community Solar Alliance to support community solar groups by creating the Community Solar Toolkit.

Manny’s presentation slides are available for download

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