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lnspiration from around the globe

Sustainable

Community must benefit from green energy


Story: Jo Harrison
Described as incredibly rich

Living Armithe

riculture.

dale's next Thursday Forum

will take people around

world to see some local initiatives that are making a


sustainable difference to their

The Melbourne community environment paxk (CERES) hosts 350,000 visitors a year - green technology displays, buildings,
education and training programs and social enterprises (CERES' Organic Market, Caf6, Permaculture Nursery and Fair Food organics

in renewable assets, the New England region has the po-

tential to attact investrnent ofbetween five and eight billion dollars up to 2020, The

challenge, howeveE is how to keep the benefits from renewable energy investunent in the

communities, and might in


turn inspire our community.

region; creating employment,

There's the small village

supplying, haining and service opportunities for regional energy projects. This, along with a number ofother challenges facing the

in Germany (pop: 2600) that


produces 321 per cent more energy than it needs (wind, solar and biogas) and is generating 4.0 million Erno (US $5.7 million) in annual revenue for its community. Then there's Christie Walk, the unique housing precinct within walking distance of Adelaide's city cen-

delivery) demonshate food security, sustainable agriculture, energy efficiencies, renewables and water conservation in action.

renewable energy indusbry,


was discussed at the Renewable Energy Round Table Fonrm on Friday, June 15 at the Armidale Ex-Services Club.

The main economic activity of one Scottish town is the dismantling of the
nuclear power station, which

Paul Cruickshank,

Re-

te. Not only is the project unusual in that it employs non-traditional building
techniques

will provide employment for


several years.

newable Energy Coordinator from the NSW Office of


Environment and Heritage,
who hosted the forum, invited
business people, agencies and

and materials and generates green power,


it

places a strong emphasis on social sustainability and housing affordability. There's a small town in England,'Incredible Edible'

These and other good news stories will be presented by a range of SLA members who have visited
or have a special interest in these places, and others may want to tell of places/projects they've been impressed by. The Thursday Forum will

Todmorden (pop: 17,000) that's growing food around


semi-public land, for anyone

town on bits of public or to pick and use, and has a


strong focus on local food. home, our Closer nearby Gwydir Shire, based

be held on July 5 at Kent


House, Faulkner Street (op-

to

posite Central Park). The AGM of Sustainable Living Armidale (SLA) will be held at 7pm, just before the Forum, and is expected to take no more than half an hour. Everyone is welcome, a gold coin donation towards light
refreshments is appreciated. Log onto www.slaati.org.

developers who are able to look at sfrategies to keep investrnent in the region. "Our deparhnent is going to fund a business plan that will look at this issue in terms of haining for future skills, getting businesses set up to do the construction andmaintenance of the very sophisticated technical work that

Paul Cruickshank, Renewable Energy Goordinator from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; Armidale Dumaresq Deputy Mayor Dr Jim Maher; Jonathan Ambler from AGL; and Professor Stuart White frcm the lnstitute for Sustainable Futures' flowing outside the region 100 mehe turbine along their cent renewable by 2020 and back fence. Here we are look- we want to do that by makand the local towns are actually suffering as a result of ing at very large sheep prop- ing swe we have the investment in the right place, with and 3000 acres "nplanned development; we erties of2000
want to avoid this. "This is a good new indus-

where these farrrers

firy, let's get in on the front foot, this is what the forum is all about." A renewable project that is gaining momentum in the

turbine; so
mg regrme.

around $10,000 a year per

will

get

the agreement of the commu-

income. They can still keep their same cropping or graz-

it is a genuine

"There are five major wind projects approved by


New England, with
the NSW Govemment for the finance still to be raised. Negotiations for a power purchase agreement to sell that power and whether the grid is capable of

nity."

region

establishment of the fust commrurity owned

is the

this investnent will require,

wind farm. "This project is more sophisticated in terms of a large


wind project," said Paul. "We don't have the problems that they are getting in the south of Victoria where you have smaller properties with wind farms.
understandably get a bit upset when there is a

A study by New England Wind, the consortium behind the commuinity wind farm, conducted a survey of well over 2000 people, with 90 per
cent interviewed stongly in
favour of renewable energy. "The project has to be well
sited and it has to be with the

taking that power axe all still to be finalised. England to have a grid that takes the big lines that can cope," said Paul. "If these projects go to 2018."

catering, accommodation and

"We are lucky in the New

all the other things that a lot of the regions, parficularly in


South East Queensland, have struggled with," said Paul.

in Bingara, is pursuing an exciting project of a 'Liv-

agreement
said Paul.

of

landholders,"
State

ing Classroom' as the centrepiece for the Aushalian Cenhe for Regenerative Ag-

huge amount of money being spent, all the benefits are

"Although there

is

"People

Government is all about. We have a stong policy of20 per

"This is what the

plan, we should have 600 turbines up and running by