Acting on Environmental Challenges and Opportunities
With small communities increasingly being impacted by changing weather systems and natural disasters, there is an increasing interest in acting on environmental challenges and opportunities.
It's been wonderful to see projects focused on building awareness of the local environment and how it can be utilised to support the community. Projects we’ve funded include educating youth, supplying products and employment, and attracting tourists that in turn boost the local economy. We’ve also seen an increased focus on supporting solar energy infrastructure, which is good for the environment and reduces operating costs.
Mullumbimby renewable energy energises the community
The Brunswick Valley Historical Society had received funding for a new air-conditioner for the Mullumbimby Museum, but they were concerned about their ability to cover the long-term increase in electricity costs. The Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby (COREM) saw the opportunity to assist both the Historical Society and the environment, and received $4,000 from the Small Grants for Rural Communities program, funded by the Yulgilbar Foundation, to install a 6 kW solar PV system at the Mullumbimby Museum.
The success of the offset greenhouse emissions will be easily measurable through the solar inverter, however given the installation was in March 2017, the estimated savings to the Museum is $1,500 per year based on generating 20 kW hours per day @ $0.20 /kWHr. Over the 20-year warrantied lifetime of the system, at current electricity prices, this is a saving of around $30,000.
Dave Rawlins, COREM, said that although this was a small project, it has been referred to by a community member as a symbol of hope for what can be achieved by working together and that we all can be part of the solution.
“This project was our fourth installation and it ran very smoothly. We feel with each project completed, we gain more community trust, appreciation and support for our vision to reduce carbon pollution, whilst bringing financial gains to our local area,” said Mr Rawlins.
Southern Otway Landcare Network (SOLN) Inc, launched the Grow Otways project, with the support of a $7,636 ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant. The funding helped them develop a marketing plan and practice service documentation to attract new members and market their Otway Coast products.
As a direct result of the Grow Otways project, the Otway Coast Regenerative Farmers group was formed and membership is growing and sales of Otway Coast products have increased.
“Receiving this grant was truly a game changer for the SOLN, as it helped give rise to a new and highly active Landcare group who are directly linking best practice to economic outcomes for participants.” – Libby Riches, SOLN.
To read about other great projects acting on environmental challenges and opportunities, click through to the full Annual Review.