All posts by Alicia Quaglio

TRY Golden Yak Award

Chris Horton and Karen Dodds received their Golden Yak, in the dark, in front of a packed audience at Earth Hour, during the Yackandandah Folk Festival. Chris and Karen were recognised as being Solar Super Champions. 

Theirs was a Festival romance – they met at Yack Folk Festival by chance and the following year they married on the Friday of the Festival in 2009. They then built a house together and went off Grid.  They’ve been living happily off grid for 8 years.

What a powerful inspiration!

The Yackandandah Mini Grid Future

On the 9th of February 2017 Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) invited AusNet Services to talk about a shared goal to develop one of Australia’s first commercially operated mini grids in Yackandandah.

A mini grid is an energy system in which a group of households are equipped with an individual energy generation (solar panels) and storage capability (battery). As a mini grid this group can function as a unified energy community through the use of technology such as wireless communications, cloud-based software platforms and home energy management systems.

For TRY Co-chair Matt Grogan the launch was the culmination of three years of planning and hard work. “We started TRY in 2014 and have been working hard to develop a plan for Yackandandah that the whole community can be a part of.  It’s exciting to be able to show off the very latest in renewable energy technology right here in Yackandandah,” he said.

Neighbourhood trial this year
Some Yackandandah residents will not have to wait that long to be part of the mini-grid future.  A complete solar and battery mini grid solution is being offered to one Yackandandah neighbourhood this year. Mondo™ Power’s, Mark Judd, said “If the residents accept our offer, this will be a chance to start building the renewable energy future and show the town and the greater community the benefits of a mini grid solution.”  He went on to say that Mondo™ Power will contribute towards the battery costs to support the realisation of the mini grid in Yackandandah. “We’re committed to building this mini grid in Yackandandah,” he said.

Ubi optimises renewable consumption
Mr Judd also highlighted that householders in Yackandandah will have an opportunity to purchase a battery-ready solar and Mondo™ Ubi™ solution.  Mondo™ Ubi™ will send the owner helpful hints regarding their energy usage and send alerts when it is time to consider the installation of a battery.

TRY volunteer Ben McGowan said that with the batteries in place it would be possible for households to optimise their renewable energy consumption using the battery and to effectively share electricity with one another: “This is one of the really exciting things about the mini grid. Yackandandah could end up with its very own shared electricity economy!” “Additionally, TRY has secured 50 Mondo™ Ubi™’s to offer to households with existing solar panels, giving them the chance to upgrade their system free of charge” he said.

Whole community opportunity
For TRY Co-Chair Matt Grogan the mini grid future offers the best chance of reaching TRY’s 100% renewable energy target for the town of Yackandandah. “Participating in this opportunity is going to increase the total amount of solar electricity the town is able to generate,” he said. “The addition of batteries means that we’ll be able to store our solar energy and the mini grid means that we’ll be able to share it. It will be a whole community effort,” he said.

TRY, AusNet Services and Mondo™ Power held an information session and Yackandandah residents are invited to express their interest to be part of the program

See links below to view the AusNet offer and to download the printed proposal:

Expression of Interest to find out more
Use the form below to find out more about this offer and to express your interest:

 

This can be submitted in three ways:

TRY Golden Yak Award

Congratulations to Jill and Richard Whitford on receiving their well deserved Golden Yak for their long support of solar and intention to continue investing in Solar in the future. TRY thanks you for your active support towards Yackandandah being 100% renewable by 2022. Enjoy your Yak!!

TRY Golden Yak Award

On behalf of John and Jenny Donnelly, neighbour Harvey Ballentine, receives a TRY Golden Yak, at the Star Hotel. The Donnelly’s were recognised for being solar champions who installed solar early on, have energy efficient lightbulbs and insulation. In addition they are helping the Football and Netball Club to  move towards sustainable energy.

Congratulations John and Jenny!

Totally Renewable Yackandandah fundraiser – ‘Joining the Dots on renewable energy’ Saturday 23 April 2016

Totally Renewable Yackandandah are excited to announce that Dr John Hewson (former leader of the Liberal Party) will be speaking at a fundraiser on April 23rd to support a goal for Yackandandah to switch to 100% renewable electricity by the year 2022.

Dr Hewson has developed a strong personal and professional commitment to investigating and embracing dramatic cuts in energy use and a rapid transition to renewable energy. Hewson will report on the Paris Climate Conference, and offer key insights into the transformative economic and environmental opportunities of community renewable energy.

At the same time, iconic Australian musician / songwriter Shane Howard (formerly lead singer of the band Goanna) will support TRY’s ambitious fund raising endeavors. Shane is well known for his commitment and passion toward the Australian landscape, people and spirit and the need to balance our resource use with sustainable behaviours. Local musician Sal Kimber will perform alongside Shane and offer her rich sense of the preciousness of the north east.

Funds raised will contribute to the TRY’s ‘Perpetual Energy Fund,’ a local fund to directly inject capital into community energy efficiency and renewable projects on community buildings.

The event will be held at the Yackandandah Memorial Hall on Saturday 23 April 2016, commencing at 7 pm. Light refreshments and Bar will be available.

Please join us by booking online at: www.trybooking.com/184691

Yackandandah Health Solar Installation

Yackandandah Health will be celebrating the connection of their new solar installation on Friday 26th February at 10:00am

Indigo Shire Mayor Councillor, James Trenery, will cut the ribbon for what is a significant solar installation. TRY Yackandandah will be presenting YHS with their Solar Champion Golden YAK Award to be displayed at the front of the facility.

This is a milestone in the goal of making Yackandandah 100% renewable and is a celebration of a community working together.

Below is some more detailed information:

 

Promoting Health with Clean Energy

Yackandandah Health is the latest community service to join a clean energy revolution taking place in country Victoria.

Today’s connection of a 90kW solar-panel system at Yackandandah Health Service (YHS) will save the community-owned service $1 million over the next 25 years and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 115 tonnes annually – the equivalent of taking 23 cars permanently off the road.

The project to install 348 solar panels on the roof of the health service’s facility heralds a new high-water mark in the success of Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) – a volunteer-run community group which is aiming to power its small Victorian country town with 100% renewable electricity by 2022.

YHS CEO Annette Nuck said saving money on power made good business sense, while reducing pollution would deliver better health outcomes as outlined by the World Health Organisation and Australian Medical Association, who both highlight the urgent threat climate change poses to public health.

“The changes we’re making help stabilize the cost of providing our health services. If we spend less on energy, then we can spend more on health care,” Ms Nuck said.

“At the same time, we really want to pull down the carbon cost of doing business and strengthen community efforts to switch to 100% renewable electricity.”

Together with the solar panels, YHS has replaced 276 light fittings with low maintenance LED lights, with another 300 to replace. These energy efficiency measures are just the start of a program to revolutionise energy use on site. Modelling is underway to map improvements to air conditioning and hot water systems, as well as a broader goal to reduce waste across the facility.

TRY has raised $5000, which will be loaned for the energy efficiency improvements. Again, this loan will be repaid with savings in power bills and when paid back, will be ploughed back into other community energy programs.

TRY President Matthew Charles-Jones said the group’s goal of shifting 100% of the town’s power to renewable sources was a considerable step closer thanks to the YHS project.

“They demonstrate that once a successful business recognizes the multiple benefits of clean energy to its bottom line as well as its clients it is an easy decision to make. These changes will deliver cost and energy savings from the proven, reliable and scalable technologies of renewable electricity generation.”

The solar installation was installed by Country Solar, a local firm with extensive experience in the installation of domestic and commercial systems, including Benella Hospital. The system at Yackandandah Health has the capacity to function independently from the grid once battery technology moves forward. Daily reports on energy generation can be accessed online and are monitored closely by Yackandandah Health and Country Solar. Jeremy Mansfield, director, has also offered an incentive of $100 per kw to Yackandandah Health for anyone who installs solar on their premises and mentions Yackandandah Health.

Rubbish? A sustainable approach at Yackandandah Folk Festival

Yackandandah Folk Festival, 18 March 2016, has a reputation for great music and community vibe. It is also gaining a reputation for sustainable practices. This year the festival is sharing profits with Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) for their community Perpetual Energy Fund.

TRY is forming a Green Team of volunteers to handle the drinking water points, recycling and rubbish for the festival; and TRY is asking for your help.

You can help by:

So give yourself a treat and have a great weekend of music while helping a community to achieve their aspiration of becoming totally renewable by 2020!

Yackandandah Attitudes to going ‘100% Renewable Energy’

At the end of 2014, Totally Renewable Yackandandah was successful in winning a funding grant from Charles Sturt University (CSU).  The grant, worth $2,250, was offered to investigate an area of interest within TRY and our goal to power the town with 100% renewable electricity.

The attached document provides the results of the work completed, primarily based upon the interviews conducted with people across a diverse range of interest groups in the community of Yackandandah. Photographed is Leah Ginnivan (pictured left), one of the researchers and Dr. Jo Millar (also pictured) – CSU advisor.

Special thanks to researchers Leah Ginnivan and Tom Stayer along with Dr. Millar. Also, thanks to the 26 people interviewed for the project.

CSU TRY Report

A conversation with Tim Flannery

In September, members of Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) Matt Grogan and Tamsin Greenwood met with Professor Tim Flannery, the chief councillor of the Climate Council, prior to his talk at Albury’s 2015 Write Around the Murray festival. They discussed all things environmental as well as TRY’s goal to have Yackandandah completely powered by renewable energy by 2022. Tim supports TRY’s goal and is looking forward to seeing more towns in Australia follow Yackandandah’s lead.

For further information, click on the links. The ABC has written an article and posted the audio of Melanie Tait’s interview with Tim at the Write Around the Murray Festival. The Yackity Yak also wrote about Tim’s visit.