The Totally Renewable Yackandandah Inaugural Annual General Meeting took place on the 7th of July. Have a look at our President’s Report below to see our upcoming plans.
(Inaugural) Annual General Meeting – President Report
Tuesday, 7th July 2015
Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) is a community energy group which formed in April 2014 following a community energy forum hosted by Indigo Shire Council. TRY has set a goal for the town and surrounding communities to become reliant on 100% renewable electricity by the year 2022.
TRY became an incorporated association on the 18th of July, 2015.
Across Australia, there are at least 50 community energy groups working in their areas to improve energy efficiency, decrease carbon emissions and to promote the community development potential of distributed energy generation.
Membership and Committee Activity
Currently, there are 14 active members of TRY and a mailing list of an additional 34 people. Since conception, a monthly meeting has been conducted with additional meetings to address specific projects and working group activities. Membership is currently open to all members of the Yackandandah area community.
- Matt Grogan (Joint President )
- Ali Pockley (Secretary)
- Matthew Charles-Jones (Joint President)
Please find tabled the financial report since the establishment of TRY. To be discussed by the Committee Secretary, Ms. Ali Pockley.
TRY Purpose and Strategic Planning
These functions have been described to achieve a range of outcomes and here listed in no defined order of priority:
- Decentralise the supply of electricity to strengthen grid performance and resilience;
- Localise ownership of the supply of electricity to enhance local investment / community development; and
- Decarbonise the supply of electricity.
The committee held a strategy-planning meeting on the 2nd of February 2015, which was kindly facilitated by Mr. Mark McKenzie McHarg. Efforts continue to prepare a holistic, cohesive and inclusive strategy for TRY.
Broadly speaking, this apolitical strategy defines the following key activities for TRY:
- Help the community of Yackandandah re-imagine a clean energy supply;
- Promote energy efficiency across our community;
- Support the uptake of green power;
- Assist households to adopt rooftop generation and storage;
- Establish community level projects to support large users, low income and rental households.
Key Successes for TRY
Appearance in local, state and national media.
The 100% goal appears to have captured the attention of a wide variety of people across Australia, including media. This attention includes a variety of appearances in The Border Mail, Goulburn Murray Radio (ABC), online renewable journal RenewEconomy and Climate Spectator as well as notable appearances in the pages of large social media sites. Also, in celebration of the success of the Men’s Shed in installing a standalone power supply, Yackandandah appeared in a sizeable article in the Saturday Age in June this year.
In November, 2014 TRY held a public launch at Yackandandah Community Centre. About 120 people attended this hopeful gathering and there was much interest in the goal and what activities would emerge from the group – and our town.
Individual Rooftop Installations
As planned, TRY is aware of at least 10 additional solar installations that are the direct result of the 100% goal being articulated. The goal has helped these households shift from a positive intention to action. It seems likely there are many more than these ten and to demonstrate, data from the photovoltaic institute of Australia suggests the postcode of Yackandandah is now showing at least 33% of rooftops having solar installations – against a national average of about 14%.
Electronic Surveys and In-depth Interviews
In late 2014, TRY asked people to respond to an online survey using Survey Monkey. This survey invited households to describe specific measures to improve energy efficiency, steps to adopt renewable energy and support for the goals of TRY. 108 households responded, with 73% of respondents supportive of the 100% ambitions.
TRY also was successful in winning a Community Lead Research Grant from Charles Sturt University. This grant, worth $2250, allows for a community group to study an area of strategic local interest. In Yackandandah this funding has provided for local woman, Ms Leah Ginnivan, (and colleague Mr. Tom Stayner) to conduct 26 in depth interviews across a spectrum of community members in Yackandandah to determine their views on community energy, TRY and ways forward. The results are being finalised and will be published within the next four weeks. Early indications are that there is a high level of support for the goal and that people are keen to understand how they can participate. Moreover, the interviews helped to generate more interest in the TRY project, to re-imagine the supply of electricity.
Chamber of Commerce Funding
After several representations to the Chamber of Commerce and Indigo Shire Council, TRY has been successful in winning $10,000 from the Yackandandah Chamber of Commerce. These funds are specifically available to use as seed funding to attract larger investment to prepare an energy blueprint for Yackandandah. An energy blueprint will describe a technical and financial strategy for our township and build on the limited ‘time and expertise’ capacity of the TRY committee.
It is anticipated that additional funds will likely be available through the Victorian Governments, New Energy Fund, but we await announcements as to how this will be publically offered.
In June, TRY committee members commenced a project to visit every household in Yackandandah (and in other main settlements around Yack). The goal is to build personal support and understanding about what is being proposed. So far reception has been overwhelmingly positive and so far 93% of households indicating they are supportive of the 100% ambition. Results will be released locally as they emerge.
At the same time, a free energy audit was being offered to visited households. These are to commence this coming weekend.
Of most important note is the extent to which TRY has captured a yearning across Australia amongst local communities, not-for-profits, and even mainstream political committees to implement a 21st century approach to the supply of electricity. TRY is frequently invited to speak at forums, community groups and formal committee meetings to describe our goals, successes and methods. The 100% goal is shared by at least 5 other communities across Australia, and it seems likely that many more will step forward as the diverse benefits to local people, economies and the natural world are understood.