The Trentham Sustainability Group has been successful in winning funding from Hepburn Shire’s Towards Zero Community Grants and from the Trentham & Districts Community Bank for the sum of $44,000 to address unstable power supply and drive the community towards more renewables and energy storage.
The June 2021 storm event saw power out for 3-6 days across Trentham and districts. Electricity, communications, water supply and other services (which could previously be relied upon in such circumstances) went down and road access to the town was cut off.
In a changing climate this scenario was a wake-up call highlighting the vulnerability of our community and essential services to extreme weather events and climate change. Given Trentham’s status as a fire-prone town it was a chilling reminder of how reliant we are on grid-supplied power and mobile communications, especially in a crisis.
The Energy & Climate Resilient Trentham project aims to achieve two things:
- more stable electricity supply for the township, and
- significant progress towards achieving 100% renewable energy supply for the township (a major goal in the Hepburn Zero Net Emissions Transition Plan and the Trentham Community Plan).
The project will:
- analyse the town’s essential facilities (CFA, Police, IGA, phone towers, Coliban Water sewer pumping station and the New Mechanics – given its status as Emergency Recovery Centre) to determine their stand-alone energy needs, such as solar, batteries, and generators, required to keep them running during a blackout
- recommend solar and battery options for individual households to achieve standalone energy stability
- review the state of the electricity grid locally and engage Powercor to assess the feasibility (including geographic area) of a microgrid for Trentham
- market test and recommend a business case for a “Trentham Power” retail electricity offer to deliver competitively-priced electricity with a community dividend to support local renewable energy, energy storage and environment projects
The project hopes to dovetail with Community Sparks, a recent successful partnership application by Hepburn Shire and Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance for the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative. It will also leverage the More Australian Solar Homes (MASH) program which is a community enterprise delivering solar and battery bulk-buys to Trentham and other Hepburn communities. Increased installation of solar capacity through these projects will be a significant boost to Trentham’s total renewable energy generation.
Trentham Sustainability Group sees this as a rare opportunity to build resilience, not just in terms of electricity – but for the local economy, for the community and for the planet!
Contact Trentham Sustainability Group and project lead Sebastian Klein for further info: email@example.com