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Energy Justice – we need to look after our neighbours

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.

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Community energy ‘roadshow’

MEFL’s CEO Alison Rowe and Head of Engagement Rachel Maddocks travelled around North-East Victoria in early August to speak alongside good friends Nicky Ison from Community Power Agency, Kate Auty and local community energy groups including Renewable Albury Wodonga, Totally Sustainable Tallangatta, Totally Renewable Beechworth and Sustainable Upper Ovens.

Community Retailer

The Community Energy Forum and roadshow around North-East Victoria for the week was created by Totally Renewable Yackandandah who got everyone together to talk to locals about the proposal to set up a North-East Victoria Community Energy Retailer. Throughout the week Alison and Rachel spoke with 450 locals at community meetings in Wodonga, Wangaratta, Bright, Benalla, Beechworth and Tallangatta.

The North-East has the community energy

Alison and Rachel also helped launch Sustainable Upper Ovens, a new group planning to start up community projects to decrease their waste and energy use in Upper Ovens communities. There is loads of action in the North-East and the region holds the terrific honour of having the highest density of Community Energy Groups anywhere in Australia. We are looking forward to seeing the region develop their Community Energy Retailer model and we will of course continue to support and promote their amazing work.

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Positive Charge achievements

MEFL’s Positive Charge program had a busy and productive year in 2017-18, expanding its operations interstate and helping households and businesses to go solar and install energy efficiency measures. Amongst the highlights for the year:

  • 3.8 megawatts of solar was installed through Positive Charge across the 28 subscribing councils in Victoria and New South Wales.
  • Over 30 businesses across Vic and NSW went through the Solar for Business program, 12 of which installed 720kW of solar
  • Positive Charge is now delivering services to 10 councils in New South Wales as part of the Our Energy Future initiative by the Southern Sydney Region of Councils (SSROC). We have 2 staff members in NSW delivering the community energy service, providing information, advice and supplier pathways for local residents.
  • We’re investigating other energy efficiency products, such as hot water heat pumps and reverse cycle air conditioning to include as part of our offering, with a pilot on the way.

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Cities Power Partnership Summit

Accelerating Local Climate Action

18-19 October 2018, Kiama NSW

Registrations are now open for the inaugural Cities Power Partnership Summit. The CPP is the Climate Council’s free national local climate action support program, which is now Australia’s largest, approaching 100 member councils.

To be held in beautiful Kiama on the NSW South Coast, 2 hours south of Sydney, the summit will inspire and connect local governments and partners working on carbon emission reduction projects, including renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transport and community advocacy.

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Staff profile

Caroline Armstrong

Program Director – Major Projects

I have recently joined MEFL as the Program Director – Major Projects. I’m leading the team responsible for the Healthy Homes and the EnergySmart projects. My background is in people and project management in the ‘for impact’ sectors.

Healthy Homes, which is funded by Sustainability Victoria, is helping low-income households where people are living with chronic health problems focus on improving the warmth of their home during winter.

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John Thwaites joins us at Spark!

We are delighted to announce that John Thwaites has accepted our invitation to deliver an oration at Spark! 2018, in honour of the late Mike Hill. The oration will close out the first day of the conference.

About John Thwaites

John Thwaites is a Professorial Fellow, Monash University, and Chair of ClimateWorks Australia and the Monash Sustainable Development Institute.

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Energy consumer survey

Every year the Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC) surveys energy consumers to see if small customers are having their needs met.

This years’ survey found that higher prices combined with complex and confusing energy offers have driven consumer confidence to new lows. Only one in four consumers now say energy retailers are working in their long-term interests, down 10 per cent from last year. Satisfaction with value for money in energy is lower than banking, water, broadband and mobile sectors. Trust in the energy sector has dropped from 50 per cent in 2017 to 39 per cent in 2018.

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Staff profile: Alanna Robertson

As Executive Assistant, I’m responsible for the smooth running of the office of MEFL’s CEO, and providing high level governance and administrative support to the Board of Directors and the Executive Leadership Team.

Before starting at MEFL I was in the hospitality industry for ten years and have worked my way into management roles, most recently as Assistant Venue Manager of Howler (across from the Brunswick Baths). You can still see me rock starring out there on some weekends.

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Spark! Conference – be an early bird

Registrations at early bird prices are now open for Spark!

The program is being developed and we have some fantastic conference streams planned. Streams will include discussions on policy and advocacy, overcoming the barriers to solar, tackling energy policy, community energy,  local leadership and the future state of the grid. We’ll be sharing more information soon, so keep watching the website, our eBulletin and Facebook.

Early Bird pricing has been extended until Wednesday 15 August.

Read more about the conference and stay in touch for updates.

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Moreland goes mega

More than one megawatt of solar power capacity has been installed in the City of Moreland through MEFL’s Positive Charge team this financial year. This is more than double the result for 2016/17, when Positive Charge installed 439 kilowatts across Moreland, and the first time this milestone has been realised in a financial year.

This milestone has been achieved by action from households, community groups, schools and businesses across Moreland.

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The Next Boom

As well as leading the team here at MEFL, our CEO Alison Rowe chairs the Future Business Council – the new voice for business in Australia, of which MEFL is a proud member. Recently Alison and several other MEFL staff attended the launch of the Future Business Council’s updated The Next Boom report. They came back from the event excited and energised about the opportunities for Australia to lead the development of a clean, green and progressive economy.

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Big Solar Switch

The Big Solar Switch campaign aims to be Australia’s largest switch to solar power. The campaign will unlock the massive potential of not-for-profit and community organisations by helping them to go solar.

This initiative has been developed by MEFL and Community Buying Group exclusively for Australia’s 55,000 registered charities and 600,000 community organisations. It uses the strength of aggregated purchasing to reduce the cost and barriers of installing solar PV systems.  The package includes a ‘best value’ guarantee which includes negotiated rates for the sector, extended warranties, expert advice and links to funding.

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CO2 Performance Ladder

The COPerformance Ladder is a Dutch tool used to drive down supply chain emissions. It could generate significant emissions savings amongst suppliers – even greater than the corporate emissions of the local governments that buy from them. The CO2 Performance Ladder is in widespread use by governments in the Netherlands and has contributed to a saving of 3.2% of carbon emissions amongst participating companies.

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Staff profile – Tyson Busch

Business Analyst

I am currently managing and carrying out the Business Improvement Project, which is made up of several initiatives that aim to reduce manual effort in our processes, provide efficiencies and prepare MEFL for future growth.

Previously I worked for 11 years at Australia Post, where I first began in HR covering roles in Learning & Development, Organisation Development, Workplace Health & Safety, Advisory and Recruitment. I then moved on to various Business Analysis and Consulting roles. I really enjoyed the variety of work; it ranged from sitting in a van driving around with a parcel delivery officer asking about their day, to filling out data sheets at 1:00am, to thinking out a deployment strategy for a new system in HQ. While working at Australia Post I completed a Bachelor of Business in HR and Info Systems and a Master of Commerce (General Business).

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Wodonga Community Solar

Moreland Energy Foundation, with our partners the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) and Akin Consulting, have developed a feasibility and business case for of the City of Wodonga (Council) and Renewable Albury Wodonga (RAW). It investigates the potential for a two-megawatt community solar project to be developed within the municipality, with the community benefit of the project directed to low income households and community education within the Wodonga region.

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Spark! 2018: Save the date

The Spark! 2018 conference will be held on Thursday 20 and Friday 21 September. We are also very excited to announce our platinum sponsor is  Jemena – thank you to this key partner, who will add a wealth of knowledge and experience to the event. There are a number of sponsorship spots still remaining, so do get in touch if you’d like to be involved.

Spark! is MEFL’s cornerstone event and we are delighted to be convening it again. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our inaugural conference in 2016.

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