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Holding onto power

Over recent months we’ve looked at various small-scale battery systems that are suitable for domestic use. This time we’re going large-scale and looking at Concentrated Solar Thermal power (CST) – a method of generating electricity that also enables solar energy to be stored in the form of heat. You’re not likely to have one of these systems on your roof any time soon, but CST has huge potential for large-scale generation and storage.

How it works

CSIRO_solar-thermal-newcastle A CST power station typically consists of an array of sun tracking mirrors (‘heliostats’) that concentrate sunlight by focusing it onto a target at the top of a tower. Some towers heat water directly to create steam to drive turbines, while others heat molten salt. Molten salt towers work by pumping ‘cold’ salt (about 280°C) up to the top of the tower where it is heated, and then it is pumped back down the tower for storage or immediate use. The advantage of molten salt is that the energy from the heat can be stored and used at a later time, or released immediately into a heat exchanger that produces steam to power a standard steam turbine. The molten salt has a 30+ year life span and can be repurposed as a high grade fertiliser.

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Want to win $1500 for your local sustainability project in Moreland?

MEFL is seeking applications from Moreland community groups, schools, early learning centres or other organisations that are leading projects that contribute maximum outcomes towards Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution goals. Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution strategy sets out our community’s ambitious goal to reduce emissions by 22% across the Moreland community by 2020. Each project must demonstrate how it will positively contribute to one or more of the ZCE goals. The winning project will receive a $1,500 prize to go towards the project. Applications must be emailed to helen@mefl.com.au by 9am on Monday 15th August.

The winner will be announced at the ZCE partner event on Thursday 18th August as part of MEFL’s inaugural Spark conference.

For more information, download the Zero Carbon Evolution Community Prize flyer.

 

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Sign up for a free home energy efficiency score AND the chance to win energy efficiency measures up to $1,500 for your home

Would you like to know more about the energy efficiency of your home, and how you could improve it?

Positive Charge is looking for households to take part in a home energy efficiency trial during August and early September.

On behalf of the Moreland energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL) Positive Charge is conducting a second round of trial testing of the Residential Efficiency Scorecard.

The Residential Efficiency Scorecard system is being developed by the Victorian Government to help Victorians better understand the energy performance of their homes, make informed choices about improving the quality of their living environment, while saving money on their gas and electricity bills.

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Vale Mike Hill

With deep sadness we note that Mike Hill passed away on 26 July 2016.

Mike leaves a huge legacy of achievements, including his vital role in the formation of MEFL.

Mike will be sadly missed, not only for his tireless work and campaigning for sustainability and social justice, also for his collaborative, friendly approach to getting things done and for his sense of humour.

We offer our sincere condolences to Mike’s partner Lorna and his family.

The family has requested that in lieu of flowers that donations be made to the Moreland Energy Foundation. Donations can be made online here or send cash or cheque to the MEFL Office.

MEFL Family

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Volunteer profile – Kate Mitchell

Kate Mitchell

I’ve been volunteering at MEFL since March, working on Moreland’s Zero Carbon Evolution program, helping with admin and community events. I’ve really enjoyed seeing how the tasks that I do fit into a bigger picture and are valuable to MEFL’s business strategy.

MEFL is a great place, full of down-to-earth people who enjoy having a laugh but are super-passionate about their jobs.

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Election issues

The federal Election is in a few weeks so we thought we’d have a look at the policies (if any) that the major parties have in place regarding climate change.

The Coalition on climate change

The 2016 Budget provides no vision to transition away from coal to the renewable economy of the future. Emphasised by the refusal of a price on carbon and the announcement last week that, more than half a billion dollars has been spent on planting trees under the Turnbull governments Direct Action Plan, while nothing has been done to tighten the relaxed laws on land clearing in NSW and QLD. The Sydney Morning Herald discusses how this policy is illogical and unable to achieve desired emissions reduction while safeguarding the big polluters.

The budget will see fuel tax credits cost Australians almost $26.5 billion over the next four years as they pay 40 cents in tax on every litre of fuel they buy while some of the world’s largest mining companies will not pay tax on the fuel they use, says the CEO of Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) Kelly O’Shanassy in an interview with VICE.

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Solar for Community Groups

Community groups in the City of Moreland are saving money and carbon emissions through an innovative solar pilot program.

As part of the Zero Carbon Evolution strategy, Positive Charge has been working with Moreland City Council to pilot an innovative funding mechanism that enables community groups who rent their premises from Council to install solar panels. 

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How Does Your Home Rate?

Victorian householders now have the opportunity to understand the thermal performance of their home and the efficiency of their major electrical appliances, as well as where their energy is being used.

The Victorian Government has developed Australia’s first home energy efficiency rating tool, known as The Residential Efficiency Scorecard, which has been specifically designed to help Victorians save on their power bills, and improve the comfort of their homes.

How it works

The Scorecard is a cloud-based web app used on a tablet, such as an iPad, which gives households a star rating out of ten for their home’s energy costs. The higher the star rating, the more energy efficient a home is and the lower the energy costs.

Expert assessors use the Scorecard to enter information about the fixed features of a home such as heaters, air conditioners, hot water systems, wall and floor materials, insulation, windows and solar power systems. They can then generate an overall Energy Efficiency Star Rating and certificate on the spot.

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