CVGA February Newsletter
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Welcome to our CVGA Newsletter

February 2017

2017 is shaping up to be a transformational year in the sustainability space, and the Alliance has some great projects we're delivering this year to capitalise for our region.

Despite international developments, the political and economic conditions in Victoria have never been so conducive to rapid change.

Concretely, the “renewable energy” revolution so long hoped for by greenies the world over is no longer the purview of environmentalists, it’s the realm of business, and this means we're starting to see very substantial investment:

  • Recent deals include long—term prices per MW for wind and solar that are substantially lower than the price of the cheapest brown or black-fired coal energy
  • The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has recently indicated that both physical and transition costs associated with climate change will be accounted for in future insurance and risk assessments. THIS IS GAME CHANGING!
  • The South Australia black-outs has brought energy policy into the limelight. This is good news for renewables in the medium-term because the economic drivers favor renewables so, whatever the politicians say, the money will follow the profits.
  • The Victorian state government has proven itself to be increasingly proactive in supporting sustainable energy policy.

For us in the regions this means more investment in bigger renewable energy projects and more diversification of the energy grid. This represents investment, but also local generation opportunities and increasing control over the energy we use and the price we pay.

This is happening fast. I's an exciting time to be leading a sustainability organisation like ours!

Sonny Neale
Executive officer CVGA


Power Station Network

The CVGA is looking at a very exciting year in 2017. We are exploring options for radically expanding our level of engagement on behalf of our members, as well as continuing to deliver the two major projects for the year: Waste-to-Energy micro-power stations and Solar $avers.

Building off the back of the ground-breaking work being done by Hepburn Shire, the CVGA successfully secured funding through the Collaborative Councils Funding Round on behalf of the five shires that abut Hepburn Shire. This will allow us to develop a business case to expand the Hepburn model for funding across all six Councils.

The results to date have been extremely heartening with a potential return on a $33 million investment of over 20% and a simple payback of less than five years. This project has the potential to save these six Councils up to $9 million p.a. in gate fees and energy costs while helping divert up to 43 000 tonnes of organic waste and cutting 80 000 tonnes of GHG emissions.

All Councils are working together on this project. Consultants have been recently appointed to work with us including Blue-Environment who conducted Ballarat Waste-to-Energy feasibility study and, Wood & Grieve who developed the initial project specifications and design work for Hepburn Shire.

We expect to have a final business case that includes a fully costed site for each Council by June and we’re hoping the numbers stack-up sufficiently for Councils to consider CapEx budget spends for installation in the 2018/19 Financial year. The CVGA will obviously continue to source alternative funding to support that spend over the year.
Visit our Projects page on our website for a more in depth look at the Waste to Energy Micro Power Stations.


Solar $avers

Building on the City of Darebin’s successful roll-out of this model, using the rates system to fund solar for low-income households in their municipality, the CVGA has partnered with two other Alliances to help ten CVGA Councils support 900 rate-relief households install solar panel on their roof by 2019.
This project represents a pilot approach across twenty Councils and, if successful, could be rolled out across the 74 000 rate-relief households in the state starting in 2020 (the other ten are metro councils being delivered by metro Greenhouse Alliances).
My vision for this project is that we are able to show that this approach is administratively simple-enough to justify making it a normal local government service in the years ahead: if you have rates-relief you just approach Council and, as-a-matter-of-course, we’ll organise to put some panels on your roof.
Currently the panels are cost-positive from day one for the household (approximately $100 p.a. for the first period and up to $600 p.a. after that) and cost-neutral to Councils. We are in negotiations with the state government about maximising the use of the current Energy Rebate system to improve those figures substantially.
The alliance will be appointing staff and support services to deliver this project on behalf of our ten Council starting in May.

Visit our website more information on Solar $avers.

Heatwave Health

Building on the work that has been done over five years by eight Councils and the CVGA, the Alliance will now house and advocate for the Heatwave Health collateral and IP as an “open source” resource for all Councils in the state (and potentially beyond).


  • Heatwave Kits
  • Carers Manuals
  • Website Development Framework
  • Education and Communications Program
  • Heatwave Emergency Management Policy Template
  • Training Videos and Training Collateral
With the wrapping up of the most recent funding round, participating Councils have realised that this collateral will now be essentially unavailable to them as it is scattered across multiple Councils as well as private media and communications enterprises.

Under the auspices of the City of Greater Bendigo (who developed the majority of the IP and collateral), all participating councils asked the alliance to ensure that this information remains available to councils and is kept “alive” for the use of current and future municipalities. We will also explore the possibility of extending the availability of this information to non-council groups.

This website will build on the design work completed so far through various iterations including the current generic website sitting on the COGB website.

We’ve been rushing to collate and get this information available to people before this summer is out. The website will be live within a couple of weeks. It will include:
  1. "Members Only" area for information pertinent only to Councils and other agencies (such as the Planning and Policy Templates and training manuals etc.) and;
  2.  “Public” section that provides the information, videos and downloads that will be useful to people vulnerable to heatwaves.
Please contact Sonny Neale with any questions.

Green with envy - What’s the Goss on your Neighbouring Council?

Each month CVGA will be reporting developments from local councils so you know what everyone's doing with their CO2 emissions.


Bendigo Shire Council - Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions with Bike Fleet

The City of Greater Bendigo is reducing the number of fleet cars used by staff by providing bicycles as an alternative mode of travel for short distance trips. In 2015/16, 16 staff cut car travel by approximately 2500 km by opting to book out a fleet bike instead.

Robert Kretschmer, council planning and policy officer, says this saved on fuel costs and cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The project started out in 2013 as a trial with four fleet bikes. The success of the fleet means it has grown to 17 bikes.  In three years staff traveled more than 6000 km on pedal power.

In November 2016 the City of Greater Bendigo launched CyclePort – a sophisticated bike fleet management system.

For more information on CyclePort and Bike Fleet visit our website.

Newcastle Solar Farm Project

Rob Law from NAGA had a chat to Adam Clarke from Newcastle Council about their Solar Farm Project and sent us some rough notes of what they are up to:
  • Just closed an EOI for a 5MW solar farm for council to own and operate on an old landfill site
  • Emerged from 2020 carbon and water management action plan, and 30% renewable target by 2020
  • Landfill site was most desirable as had good road access, close to a substation, good aspect and unshaded, and was also building/construction waste not putricible, so easier to achieve
  • From an accounting offset though the output would meet 50% of our council and street lighting loads, likely to be about a 810 year payback.
  • Will aim to sell LGCs in normal market, not interested in retiring them or hanging on to them.
  • Have gone out to EOI but haven’t got council approval for capital spend. Idea was to test market and see what is feasible, then from shortlist get them to give presentations to councilors or executive.
  • In meantime progressing network load studies etc.
  • Community energy is attractive to Council, but will most likely be considered down the track. Want to get this built first, and then look at future ownership options.
  • Landfill not likely to add too many additional costs, there are mounting solutions that exist in EU and the US for different types of landfill with different footings, so doesn’t see that as a barrier.
Maree Edwards MP- talking at the CVGA AGM in Bendigo, November 2016.
To have a look at the Power Point presentation of the AGM visit our Member News page.

Articles from our Network

Sustainability Victoria - Grants Open

Advanced Organics Processing Technology Grants program supports the installation of small scale onsite or precinct scale anaerobic digestion for processing organic waste in Victoria.
Sustainability Victoria Business – Boosting Productivity: Energy Assessment Grants
Grants will be offered to eligible businesses with less than 200 full time employees, spending over $20 000 a year on energy, to enable them to carry out an energy assessment, and identify and implement energy improvements.
Social Impact Investment for Sustainability
The program provides a combination of grant money and low interest loan. Investment ready social enterprises can apply for up to $200 000 as a combination grant and low interest loan (2.5%) to scale up (expand) their operations.
Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund
Infrastructure Grants: The $7 million Resource Recovery Infrastructure Fund aims to support the development of infrastructure which improves the collection
and processing of recycled materials. The program seeks innovative projects that will increase jobs in the resource recovery industry while also increasing the recovery of priority materials. Round 1 has up to $4 million in grants available. Metropolitan councils and private enterprises are able to apply for Round 1 funding of between $40 000 and $500 000 for infrastructure development. Infrastructure can be for collection, sorting or processing.

Go to the Sustainability Victoria website for more information. 

Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions & New Energy Jobs Round 2 

Following the opening of applications for funding of the New Energy Jobs Round 2 DELWP held an information session in Ballarat. BREAZE attended and is preparing a submission for the development of a business case for a Ballarat Sawdust Briquette Supply Chain. For more detail visit our website.

Visit the BREAZE website for more details.

Victoria's Climate Change Framework - TAKE2 – Acting Now on Climate Change provides an overview of actions being taken by the Victorian Government, local governments, the community and businesses to reduce emissions under the umbrella of the TAKE2 pledge program. This includes the Government's commitment to reduce reported emissions from its own operations by 30 per cent below 2015 levels by 2020. The Framework and TAKE2 summary are available at

Community Renewable Energy Community Forum Thursday 23 February - Danish Farmer and internationally-renowned renewable energy pioneer Søren Hermansen is set to visit Ballarat thanks to Sustainability Victoria, Committee for Ballarat and BREAZE. Søren’s visit will share how his island community Samso successfully delivered a 100% renewable transition in a 10 year period and have built an Energy Academy to support this. For more information visit the BREAZE website.

Monday 27 and Tuesday 28 February: hosted by Coalition for Community Energy - Community Energy Congress to be held at Melbourne Town Hall. For information:

Friday 10 March: Acciona Energy Community Sponsorship Applications close. For further information visit the Acciona Australia website:


EPA Victoria and Sustainability Victoria are offering two, free two-day workshops designed to help litter enforcement and authorised officers tackle illegal dumping in their regions.

This course aims to improve the capacity of officers to implement effective strategies to prevent littering and illegal dumping as well as proactively tackle the issues by investigating incidents of littering and dumping.

Courses run for two days.

Course overview:
• Introduction to the Environment Protection Act 1970 waste classification, key offences and penalties
• Evidence gathering
• The role of Authorised Officers
• Developing integrated campaigns (Education, Enforcement and Infrastructure)
• Case studies

Date: 27 - 28 February 2017
Time: 9am - 4pm 
Venue: EPA Victoria, Level 3, 200 Victoria Street, Carlton

*The Melbourne Sessions are booked out but please register your interest with Geoffrey Caine from DEWLP to be placed on a waiting list for the next session scheduled in Melbourne.
Date: 2 - 3 March 2017
Time: 9am - 5pm 
Venue: TBA

To view or register for these courses visit the EPA website.

For more information contact:
Geoffrey Caine

T: 03 5430 4703 | E:


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