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Portal proves its value

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.

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MEFL’s international hit videos

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!

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Cities Power Partnership Summit

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.

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Alison Rowe to chair ISCA

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.

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Changes to MEFL Board

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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Podcast interview with MEFL’s Lucy Best

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

The topic is “Solar power and what you need to know for your home”.
It’s such a big topic they need 2 episodes to cover it all! Lucy knows the topic inside-out and cuts through the jargon to explain the choices and issues clearly. Part 1 is now available.
See the intro page on Undercover Architect or click the play button below to listen now.

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Energy Poverty

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.

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Climate Emergency conference

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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Securing our energy future

Law firm Corrs is publishing a series of online interviews titled Securing our Energy Future. For the second in the series, Corrs interviewed MEFL’s CEO Alison Rowe.

The interview covered a wide range of topics related to MEFL’s vision of an equitable zero carbon society. They discussed how communities can make the energy transition despite a fragmented approach at Federal and State level, how policies translate to action ‘on the ground’, investment in renewables, MEFL’s own efforts to ‘walk the talk’ and be a sustainable organisation, and Australia’s opportunity to be a world leader.

The full interview is available on the Corrs website.

 

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Thanks to Ian Thomas and Rosemary Bissett

MEFL will remain ever thankful to Ian Thomas and Rosemary Bissett for their service to the MEFL Board.

Rosemary served as a Director and Ian as the Company Secretary. They have both been on the Board since the inception of MEFL, totalling  36 years of service and dedication to MEFL. Rosemary and Ian attended their last Board meeting in September. We will miss their wisdom, humour, guidance and support.

In recognition of their contribution to MEFL, they were both awarded Life Membership, so we hope to see them at the AGM soon.

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Staff profile: Sebastian Klein

In my new role I will be managing the Zero Carbon Evolution team – delivering on Moreland City Council’s ambition for the Moreland community to reach zero net carbon emissions. This will involve delivering energy efficiency upgrades and solar installations on homes, businesses and community buildings throughout Moreland, as well as liaising and working closely with Council staff.

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Tim Forcey: The all-electric home

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.

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Zero Carbon 2040

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.

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Microgrid pilot

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.

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Staff profile: Vijeta Tulsiyan

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.

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