The Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet required a clean energy toolkit that local governments can utilize to develop mid-scale (30kW – 10 MW) clean energy projects. The project – a collaboration between MEFL and Net Balance – developed comprehensive, practical project models that overcome the barriers and assisted in facilitating clean energy projects by local councils.
Renewable Energy Precincts
The toolkit resources and associated reports were used to inform the work of the Renewable Energy Precincts program and utilised by local governments throughout NSW to scope and implement mid-scale clean energy projects. As well as providing the toolkit MEFL has delivered complementary training throughout NSW on how to use the toolkit and what other resources are available.
MEFL is leading a consortium in the development of a business case and blueprint for a Zero Net Energy Town (ZNET) in rural NSW.
The project will determine how best to use local renewable energy resources, energy management and storage technologies to generate at least 100 per cent of the town’s energy needs.
The town of Uralla in NSW which is located inland from Coffs Harbour in the New England region has been chosen from five towns that submitted applications to become the zero net energy town. They won their place based on significant local commitment and a passion for renewables with already widespread solar uptake.
The NSW government will provide $105,000 through the Office of Environment and Heritage to fund the business case and blueprint.
We are very excited to be leading the successful consortium. We’re working with Enhar, Little Sketches, Climateworks, Percepscion and former Net Balance and Deloitte economist Rod Marsh to deliver this landmark project.
MEFL played a key role in the delivery of Merri Community Health Services CEEP grant through being their technical advisors throughout the project. The CEEP grant (Community Energy Efficiency Program, delivered by the federal Department of Primary Industries) facilitated the installation of a new HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system, new ducting and new lighting infrastructure.
The project was delivered in conjunction with some building envelope modifications, and overall resulted in a dramatic improvement in the energy efficiency to the site (almost 30% reduction in energy consumption) in addition to improved comfort for staff and patients. The overall figures show a $5,878 reduction in energy costs, with a 16,219 kWh/year in energy savings for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, and 14,080 kWh/year in savings on lighting.
We liaised between all of the stakeholders including architects, installers and MCHS staff to ensure that the energy efficiency and occupant amenity delivered through the project was as high as possible. MEFL also delivered a range of engagements to improve awareness and understanding of the impacts of the upgrade and sustainability in general, through workshops, briefing sessions and documentation such as pamphlets and website content.
The Clean Energy Council contracted MEFL to develop a guide to equip small and medium enterprises with the knowledge to better manage their electricty use. This includes how to understand electricity tariffs and daily electricity consumption profiles.
The guide details targeted actions to effect demand-side management solutions and how they might be of financial benefit to specific business types.
Partner and funding
The project was undertaken with partners Entura, who undertook a background study to support the guide. It was part of a suite of Clean Energy Council projects funded through the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
An exciting research project is underway at the Carlton Housing Redevelopment at four locations in Carlton.
MEFL has been engaged to deliver a unique suite of environmental post occupancy studies for a major public and private housing redevelopment in Carlton with key partners Department of Human Services. The current iteration of this project is the third in the series.
MEFL has been appointed to undertake engagement with residents of the buildings to understand if the environmental measures incorporated into the development are effective and of value to residents. This involves working with the community to determine their perceptions of the measures through surveys, interviews and developing case studies.
This plan develops both a long term strategy for the council to reduce the emissions intensity of its corporate assets and operational processes to ensure it meets its goals.
Shepparton Council is very progressive, with a great array of talented staff. Like other regional councils, Shepparton faces special challenges in becoming carbon neutral. We are confident that the Energy Reduction Plan will enable Shepparton to take a leadership role in addressing these challenges.
The Electricity Use Impacts of Photovoltaic (PV) Installations Study investigated the impacts of installing a solar PV system on the electricity consumption of Victorian householders.
The project gathered data from Victorian households with solar PV and without solar PV and accessed their billing data to ascertain if there were any changes in household electricity consumption.
The results from the research, which involved about 3500 households from across Victoria, indicate that there is no statistically significant variation in electricity consumption between households with PV systems installed and those without. Significantly the results also indicate the absence of a ‘rebound effect’ once households have installed solar PV.
MEFL has undertaken a solar modelling project for the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure (DTPLI) which examines the impact of various development scenarios on shading of solar systems.
The modelling and subsequent report provides analysis on both the annual generation loss and environmental impact as well as loss of financial return on investment of the various development scenarios and utilises the PV assist modelling system to depict a range of electrical configurations and incorporating a wide range of influencing factors such as time of use tariffs and varying energy consumption profiles.
This project aims to catalyse the solar energy opportunities for the NAGA region, by bringing together technical advice, business case development, implementation, and operational support; NAGA and its members will lead by example, with solar installations on councils’ facilities, and more installations in the community. Through NAGA’s regional collaboration its members will be able to efficiently and effectively scale up solar energy across the northern region.
To date much of the focus of councils’ activities, both corporate and community, to reduce greenhouse emissions and save energy costs has focussed on energy efficiency measures. The opportunity to realise local solar electricity generation to reduce emissions has been regarded as cost prohibitive until recently. However, the situation is changing. There are currently over 60 installations on NAGA councils’ corporate and community sites generating nearly 600kW capacity (approx. 2,400 panels). Installations range from 12 – 330 kW in the 9 NAGA municipalities. The City of Yarra will have the largest with 330 kW capacity, when an additional 140kW is added this year to its existing 190kW. There is a range of reasons why solar generation is relevant to local government: