Landmark Latrobe community power hub launched


28 June 2018

Workers with a sheet of curved steelThe Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub has been officially launched at Morwell, with residents of Latrobe City, Baw Baw and Wellington Shires now able to purchase locally-made solar hot water systems, as part of a bulk-buy project.

The $900,000 Community Power Hubs project, trialling for two years in Gippsland, Ballarat and Bendigo, is helping communities take charge of their own energy transition by enabling local community owned and led renewables.

The Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, today launched the first of the Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub projects, which will drive regional investment, create jobs and help residents and businesses to cut their energy bills.

The first Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub project includes a bulk-buy program for solar-powered hot water units, which will be made at Morwell’s worker-owned Earthworker Co-operative. The Bulk Buy project will be managed by the Yarra Energy Foundation over the next year.

The newly-created manufacturing jobs will be backed up by work for local electricians and plumbers who will install the units. All residents and businesses in the Latrobe region can access the bulk-buy services through the Community Power Hub over the next year – until June 2019.

Sustainability Victoria CEO Stan Krpan said that access to local renewable energy will increase the resilience of Gippsland and soften the impact of energy price shocks, and reduce the region's collective carbon footprint.

“Hot water heating can account for up to one third of total household energy use. Through this bulk-buy project, local residents can significantly reduce their power bills and support new clean-energy-manufacturing jobs.

“Purchasing solar from the bulk-buy also means local community groups will benefit. Once 50kw of solar has been sold, participants will be able to vote for a local community group that they would like to see receive a solar PV system donation. If they reach a further 50kw, the donation will increase, and so on.

“Through a similar solar bulk-buy program, a solar PV system was donated to St. Mary’s House of Welcome in Fitzroy to help them provide hot showers, meals and emergency relief to around 150 disadvantaged people each day,” said Mr Krpan.

The Community Power Hubs program is contributing to the delivery of the Victorian Government’s target of having 40 per cent of the state’s energy needs coming from renewable energy by 2025, and reduction of Victoria’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Learnings from the pilot Community Power Hubs projects in Gippsland, Ballarat and Bendigo will be applicable across the state, Australia and around the world.

Details of the Community Power Hub program and how to get involved in the Latrobe Valley’s Gippy Bulk Buy can be found at www.communitypowerhub.com.au

Media enquiries: Hannah Grant, Hannah.grant@sustainability.vic.gov.au, 0437 343 121

About Sustainability Victoria

Established under the Sustainability Victoria Act 2005, Sustainability Victoria is a statutory authority that facilitates and promotes environmental sustainability in the use of resources. Sustainability Victoria provides practical ideas and advice to act on climate change use resources wisely.