Licola is a small and attractive village beside the Macalister River, 254 kilometres east of Melbourne. The township of Licola is owned entirely by the Lions Clubs of Victoria and Southern New South Wales, and is the only privately owned town in Victoria. Licola is also the only Victorian town not on mains power; it generates its own power, as well as pumping and treating its own water, and managing its own waste.
Licola, originally a logging settlement, was abandoned and derelict when the Lions Clubs of Victoria and Southern NSW purchased it in 1969. The Lions Clubs, along with other volunteers and the Australian Army worked hard to transform Licola into the village it is today, including undertaking considerable earthworks, bridge refurbishment and relocation of houses.
Licola Village provides accommodation for schools, outdoor recreation groups, church and sporting groups, as well as the general public for many different occasions.
'We always knew that the rising cost of diesel would eventually force our hands into looking into alternative power sources or greater efficiency at the very least. The potential of gaining funding support was great, with this help we would finally be able to put in motion a number of cost saving strategies we had wanted,' said Licola's CEO and Operations Manager, Adam Wake.
In 2014, Licola Wilderness Village successfully applied for a $12,900 grant from Sustainability Victoria for an energy assessment of its operations. The energy assessment aimed to identify opportunities to reduce energy consumption and costs, and provide input to develop business cases for the highest priority actions to support the management's medium term goal of establishing Licola as an eco-village.
A number of opportunities were identified and the assessment estimated that actioning these would result in annual savings of around $45,000, for a total investment of around $75,000.
This represents an energy reduction of 29%, and a 22% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Key recommendations focused on improving the efficiency of Licola's three diesel fuelled power generators including the rebuilding of one generator.
Recommendations sought to reduce the demand for electricity across the village to reduce operating times of generators. These included lighting upgrades, more efficient kitchen facilities and operations and general housekeeping actions such as switching off refrigerators between bookings and refrigerator display lights.
Later in 2014, Licola Village successfully applied for a $25,000 grant from Sustainability Victoria toward $66,500 worth of capital improvements recommended in the assessment.
Licola Village received a $3,000 implementation bonus from Sustainability Victoria toward the $3,544 cost of replacing powerhouse lighting and installing sensors; upgrading some cabin lighting to LEDs with sensors; and replacing all external security lights with LEDs and sensors. Total annual savings from the lighting upgrades is expected to be $9,613 achieved through a 14,870kWh reduction in electricity use and generation representing a reduction in GHG emissions equivalent to 17.5 tCO2.
The capital funding grant was used to:
- rebuild one of the power generators
- install a variable speed drive on a water pump
- purchase a more energy efficient Combi LPG oven for the kitchen to replace an electric oven
- install electric metering with remote monitoring to better manage future energy demand and consumption.
Total expected annual savings from these actions are $20,000 and 14,000 litres of diesel fuel. The actions also deliver significant non-energy related co-benefits including:
- reduced local air pollution from less diesel use and reduced operation of power stations
- reduced noise from power stations making it easier for guest to enjoy the bush sounds and bird calls
- enhanced reputation as a tourist destination
- reduced reliance on fuel deliveries, providing greater resilience and reliability in the event of unexpected events like fuel shortages and road blockages.
Without this funding it is very unlikely that we would have pushed ahead at this time for greater efficiency. The fact that I had a consultant holding my hand along the way also made the whole process simpler.
Adam Wake – CEO and Operations Manager
'Our Board is keen to see Licola established as an eco-village. The project has helped to lower Licola’s impact on the environment increasing the good will in what we stand for. The project has acted as a spring board for additional buy-in and additional finance from our Board of Directors who are now already seeing the financial benefit. We have plans for additional environmental improvements when we can afford them,' said Wake.
Energy assessment conducted by Genesis Now.