Yarra Valley hub to ‘power up’ in official launch


Victoria’s Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio will officially launch the Yarra Valley Community Power Hub on Saturday, August 28.

Formed after receiving $428,500 in funds from the Victorian Government, the Power Hub brings together seven local community energy groups which are committed to driving renewable energy projects in their communities. Their goal is to reduce the region’s carbon footprint, while promoting a movement away from centralised energy and towards locally sourced, sustainable energy.

If successful, the outcome will be a more self-reliant, empowered region that is less exposed to the impacts of climate change.

Yarra Ranges Mayor Fiona McAllister will commence proceedings, which will take place online from 9.30am to 11.30am.

The Yarra Valley Community Power Hub will be one of seven to launch throughout the state, thanks to Victorian government funding of $3.73 million through Sustainability Victoria. The not-for-profit hubs have been entrusted to work within their regions to deliver community-based renewable energy projects.

There will be five regionally based and two metropolitan Melbourne-based hubs. These include the regions of Hume, Grampians, Loddon Mallee, Barwon South West and Gippsland. The Yarra Valley Community Power Hub will be the first to launch officially.

Healesville Community Renewable Energy (Healesville CoRE) has been central to the formation of the Yarra Valley Hub, which also includes Yarra Glenergy, Clean Energy Nillumbik, Yarra Valley ECOSS, Dandenong Ranges Renewable Energy Association, Bunyip Renewable Action Group, and Eastern Climate Action Melbourne.

President of Healesville CoRE, Jeff Barlow, has taken on the role of executive officer of the Yarra Valley Community Power Hub. He will also be a guest speaker at the launch, together with industry partner, Komo Energy, and speakers from two of the local community groups.

“We are at the beginning of an energy revolution in Australia. We are moving away from centralised delivery of fossil fuel-derived electricity and moving towards more sustainable, locally produced, locally stored and locally distributed energy,” Barlow said.

“This will create a feeling of empowerment for the community, which can reduce its carbon footprint, its energy costs, while creating new jobs and keeping more money within the community.

“The official launch is an exciting time for everyone who has worked so hard on the Hub’s formation. Through their dedication, and with the support of the Yarra Valley communities, we can assist local groups and volunteers to deliver exciting energy projects well into the future.”

Four staff members have been employed for the hub, who will support community energy groups in their work, such as bulk-buying solar panels and running information events.