On the EDGE of our seats for the Community Celebration!

TRY recently held a Community Celebration, presenting the results of our 100% Feasibility Study along with information on Mondo’s energy marketplace trial, Project EDGE. The evening included a relaxed meal and a chance for Yackandandah locals to discuss and ask questions. Clare Bishop gives a run down of the event below.

On the 28 April TRY hosted a fantastic community celebration in the Public Hall. We shared the results of our 100% Feasibility Study and our recent community survey, and discussed how local residents can participate in the Project EDGE trial. What a night it was! There were many familiar Yack faces in the crowd asking excellent questions. This attendance is always greatly appreciated, as TRY relies not only on the unwavering support of Yackandandah, but also invaluable conversations with its people. These conversations begin on nights like these.

TRY’s primary goal is to get Yack to 100% renewable energy, and we consider community awareness and input to be a critical focus of this process. Our organisation formed out of the dedication of locals striving towards a particular goal, and it is vital to us that our achievements continue to align with the wants and needs of our community.

Some excellent issues were raised at this event and have been further discussed by TRY at our latest strategy meeting. A question about TRY’s intentions to increase education around energy efficiency and renewable energy was asked. This is a topic TRY has long been aware of. As TRY President Juliette Milbank responded, this is unfortunately a trickier subject than we would like it to be.

Providing education and particularly advice creates a host of issues around liability. Unfortunately, TRY is a volunteer organisation and reliant on small, often intermittent funding. Our funding applications take up large amounts of our volunteers’ time! Unfortunately, it is not currently within our capacity to engage a paid employee with insurance to teach community members about renewable energy and efficient usage. However – don’t despair! It is certainly a goal of ours to do so. As Juliette mentioned, it is very easy to secure funding to purchase ‘stuff’, but not so easy to acquire funding to employ someone!

The Feasibility Study was conducted by the fabulously fastidious Mach2, comprising of Mark McKenzie-McHarg and Cameron McKern. We would like to sincerely thank them for their huge efforts and support throughout this whole project. Being able to access a wealth of knowledge and experience right here in our town is truly exciting, and a credit to our community. If you are interested in viewing the results of the feasibility study, you can find it here.

One of the most important findings by Mark and Cameron was that due to many Yack-specific factors, pumped hydro and solar farming are not financially feasible to help us reach 100% renewable energy. The upside of this finding is that the most feasible way to get to 100% is to continue what we’re already doing! Support the community to install more solar panels, batteries and hot water systems to reduce our bills and clean up our energy sources. Yack is already at 58% rooftop solar coverage (in comparison to an estimated national average of 25-30%) so why stop now!?

At the celebration Mondo also gave an excellent presentation about their exciting new initiative, Project EDGE (Energy Demand and Generation Exchange). This is an energy marketplace trial that Mondo is offering to increase our knowledge about energy usage. As the amount and type of energy possibilities change – so must our infrastructure. Mondo is offering attractive subsidies on solar products for anyone involved in the trial. Information on Project EDGE can be found on the Mondo website.

As the night came to an end, the TRY committee found themselves doing the dishes in the hall kitchen. It was mentioned that it feels like a volunteer’s main job is putting out chairs before an event, and stacking them back up at the end. But we love doing it for Yack, and we’re so grateful that you’re along with us for the journey. It feels like a small price to pay for a 100% renewable Yackandandah!

  • A large hall has an audience seated on chairs listening to a woman speak in front of the stage
  • A man speaks into a microphone in front of a stage in a hall
  • Three men and one woman are standing with plates of food smiling at the camera
  • A man and a woman are standing with plates of food smiling at the camera
  • Three women and one man stand in front of a stage with a golden yellow plaster scuplture of a Yak sitting on a table in the middle of them
  • Three men and two women stand in front of two colourful banners, smiling at the camera

Thanks to David Thorpe for taking lots of photos for us, the TRY Committee for their unwavering dedication to stacking chairs and washing dishes, and local Yack residents for actively engaging in the evening.

This article appeared in the June/July 2022 edition of the Yackandandah newspaper, Yackity Yak.

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