Projects

We support Community Groups

The Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd

The Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd supports community groups in Gippsland to install renewable energy and undertake energy efficiency measures, helping them cut power bills and put the savings into their primary activities. Community groups can apply for interest-free loans to fund solar panels, solar hot water or energy efficiency measures. As these interest-free loans are repaid from energy savings the funds are lent out again to fund the next project.

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Check it Out

How we went From Old Energy to New Energy!

A 90kW solar & 42kWh battery array at the State Coal
Mine in Wonthaggi was installed as part of the Old-Energy
New-Energy Project. Energy Innovation Co-operative
sells the generated electricity to Parks Victoria – the
income goes to our revolving Southern CORE Fund,
funding even more community projects.

The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio (Minister for Climate Action) officially launched our ‘Old Energy – New Energy’ project in May 2019 in the attendance of local Bass MP Jordan Crugnale, Councillors from Bass Coast and South Gippsland Shires, Carol Blair from Bass Coast Community Foundation, Representatives from Parks Vic and DELWP alongside many of our friends and supporters!

Funded through the Victorian government’s New Energy Jobs Fund grant

Key Facts

91kW of solar panels

41 kWh battery storage

CO2 Emission Saved: 245,160.53 kg which is equivalent to taking 54.6 cars off the road

Equivalent Trees Planted: 4,756.85

Best month so far: January 2023 11.967MWh

Cosy Homes

Cosy Homes assists low income households in Bass Coast and South Gippsland to make their homes more comfortable, save money on electricity bills and help renters take advantage of current government rebates.

community

The Energy Innovation Co-operative secured a Healthy Homes grant through DEWLP under the State Government’s Regional Climate Change Adaptation Strategy 2021-2022.

This grant made 30 homes more energy efficient and cosy for winter by sealing doors, windows and other draughty areas, as well as ‘valve cosies’ which cut down on heat loss from electrical storage tank release valves. Find Cosy Homes’ Assessor Checklist, a brilliant resource to improve your home’s energy efficiency here.

Check out our brand-new Bright Sparks: Community Power podcast to find out more about the amazing Cosy Homes project and its founders Jessica Harrison and Aileen Vening.

Bright Sparks:

Community Power podcast, episode 1 Cosy Homes

HELP US FUND MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECTS FOR OUR COMMUNITY!

DONATIONS $2 AND OVER TO THE ENERGY INNOVATION CO-OPERATIVE PUBLIC FUND ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE.

ACCOUNT NAME: ENERGY INNOVATION CO-OPERATIVE LTD

BSB: 633 000, ACCOUNT NUMBER: 158 983 528

Donate Now

Battery Projects

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In 2020, the Energy Innovation Co-op auspiced Totally Renewable Phillip Island (TRPI) for the La Trobe Valley’s Authority funding to conduct a pre-feasibility study. The study was completed by David Coote and looked at options and projects that can be undertaken to move to a 100% renewable Phillip Island. The Energy Innovation Co-operative is overseeing two projects in partnership with TRPI, DELWP (now DEECA), and Mondo, with support from Bass Coast Shire Council.

Battery project – Stream 1:

A feasibility study was undertaken in 2022 to examine the technical, commercial, social, environmental and financial feasibility of small batteries on the low voltage network on Phillip Island for their potential to support increased renewable energy generating and provide greater power supply reliability to the community. The project had a strong focus on community engagement to socialise the concept of community energy storage. Some aspects of the project were co-designed with the community. 

The technical analysis provided in the report shows that small neighbourhood batteries can enable renewable power sharing. They can also enable greater grid stability by soaking up excess solar energy entering the distribution network and reduce overloading on sub-stations. Unfortunately, the commercial analysis showed this model of neighbourhood battery to not be financially viable, as the high capital outlay cannot be realised within the life of the batteries. View the feasibility study here.

Battery project – Stream 2:

This project consists of AusNet installing a 5 Mega Watt battery on the council site on Gap Road. The purpose of this battery is to supply Phillip Island with more reliable power during peak times such as school holidays and summer periods.

Furthermore, a tariff study will be conducted using this battery, with 100 houses participating. This study will look at energy usage inputs and outputs across the houses and see if energy can be distributed between these houses, with prices possibly being altered from current grid costs. This study will run from April 2023- April 2024, with the final report being released in July 2024.

This is the only tariff study being undertaken in Victoria. The other one is in WA.

Mallacoota

The Energy Innovation Co-operative partnered with Mallacoota Sustainability Energy Group (MSEG) to help them deliver renewable energy projects.

Funding from Sustainability Victoria supported the installation of a 22kW solar array at the Mallacoota Wastewater Treatment Plant. This solar system supports East Gippsland Water’s target of 100% renewable energy by 2025.

The Energy Innovation Co-op have signed a 10-year lease agreement with East Gippsland Water. The lease payments will help the Mallacoota Sustainable Energy Group to fund future community projects.

Report

Sandy Point Virtual Power Plant

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Launch of Sandy Point Virtual Power Plant (VPP) feasibility study.

In July 2022 the Sandy Point Community was invited to a presentation by Patrick Greene from the Energy Project to deliver the findings of a study into whether Sandy Point would benefit from a community VPP and how it might be funded. Initiated by the Sandy Point Renewable Energy Group, this inquiry was presented and endorsed by the Latrobe Valley Authority’s Smart Community Energy Innovation Network, and was successful in securing funding through the LVA’s Smart Specialisation Strategy.

This funding was delivered by the Energy Innovation Co-operative who commissioned the Energy Project to undertake the feasibility study. Working closely with the Sandy Point Community energy consumption data and usage profiles were obtained from households and businesses then combined with higher level data from AUSNET, the local electricity distributor.

For more information read the Sandy Point Future Energy Study report.

Resilient Communities

The Resilient Smart Grid Pilot Project was initiated by the Latrobe Valley Authority’s Energy Innovation Network as a response from the 2019/2020 bushfires. The focus was on remote communities in eastern Gippsland at risk of grid failure in emergency events. Two communities were selected: Buchan and Bemm River. Funding was provided for two community buildings to be fitted with solar panels and batteries to support community energy resilience before and after emergency events. The project also laid the foundation for a future community microgrid project that may include key services to promote community recovery such as access to fuel, food and personal and business banking.

Technical Feasibility

Research was also carried out by consultants from Federation University to explore the development and application of Smartgrids in this context. They collected energy usage data from community members and the network provider to help identify barriers to the future implementation of a smartgrid.

Their report will be available to download early in 2023.

Community Engagement

Beth Ripper and Andrea Lane of Float media carried out extensive Community engagement at Buchan and Bemm River. Workshops and community conversations were held over six months to provide information about the project and gather information from the community about the benefits they would like from the project.

Extra workshops were held to help the communities to understand how the systems will work when they are installed. They also gave some information about how the community might use more renewable energy and reduce their grid power use and costs.

Sustainable Financial Pathways

The Community Power Agency was contracted to provide a financial analysis of the microgrid options and explore suitable innovative funding options for communities.

Their report is available to download below and you can find Kristy Walters and Nigel Hancock’s overview presentation of the Guide here.

Report

Renewable Energy in Resilient Communities

FFOLK (East Gippsland) partnered with Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd. to deliver a component of the Resilient Community Energy Smart Grids Pilot, exploring how regional communities can co-design and develop community energy assets for smarter energy transitions and greater resilience planning.

Please find the report, which was a collaboration between the Energy Innovation Co-operative, Latrobe Valley Authority, RACV Solar, Community Power Agency, Federation University and the Resilient Community Energy Working group, here.

Cooperative, renewable power and a whole lot of community action

Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd and CoPower officially launched the 15kW Solar Panel system installed at Bass Coast Adult Learning (BCAL) Centre in Wonthaggi in February 2023.

This great collaboration is saving the learning centre $1,000 on power bills each year, which they can put towards amplifying learning opportunities in Bass Coast.

This project was enabled through Energy Innovation Cooperative’s Southern Core Fund, which received a donation from Cooperative Power. Read more in this
case study here.

Other great community-led projects

Foster Pool Association received a 3 year interest-free loan of $20,000 from our Southern CORE fund to install solar thermal heating at the Foster Swimming Pool. Fully Repaid
Grantville Recreation Reserve Committee is a volunteer run community group that supports many local groups such as the CFA and SES. The EI Co-op obtained a $5,000 Bass Coast Council Community Grant to help pay for installation. A donation from the Southern CORE fund paid for online system monitoring. Grant Obtained
Phillip Island Early Learning Centre was given in-kind support to install a 30kW solar system to reduce running costs of the building and to display information about the solar energy production as part of the children’s environment and sustainability early learning. Funding was provided by Pick My Project. Grant Obtained
Bass Recreation Reserve received an interest-free loan of $15,000 from our Southern Core Fund to repair the roof and install solar panels. A donation from the Andrews Foundation helped make this project possible. Being Repaid
Yinnar Artists Resource Collective received an interest-free loan of $11,000 from our Southern Core Fund in March 2020 for the installation of solar panels. We are very grateful to the Andrews Foundation for their donation which helped make this project possible. Being Repaid
Dalyston Football Netball Club asked for help to fund the installation of solar panels to reduce their energy costs. Energy and utility bills have a massive impact on the sustainability of community sporting clubs. The New Energy Jobs Fund grant has helped the club move towards a clean energy future.
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Traralgon Neighbourhood Learning House: A New Energy Jobs grant application for $52,900 to install 32kW of solar panels and 22 kW/hr of batteries was successful. The “energy literacy” classes have helped reduce costs for users of one of the busiest neighbourhood houses in Victoria.

Get in touch today to get your community renewable-energy project off the ground!

PO Box 111 Inverloch 3996
We respectfully acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands we now share and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and community. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

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