Wodonga has taken a major step forward in becoming a renewable-run city with $100,000 committed to a feasibility study into solar power generation.
Wodonga Council and Renewable Albury-Wodonga secured $80,000 from the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund, boosted by $20,000 from council.
RAW spokeswoman Bobbi McKibbin said the joint initiative was huge progress.
“There’s a 12-month timeframe on the feasibility study and hopefully out of that, we will have something to take to tender to have a project get off the ground,” she said.
“There’s another two rounds in this funding so we are able to go and reapply … there’s also federal funding we will look at.
“We’ve got plenty of green pastures and roof space – we hope to narrow down to one or two sites and quote appropriately.”
RAW and Wodonga Council will work to identify a parcel of land where at least two mega-watts of solar panels could be installed.
Ms McKibbin said another aim of the study was to incorporate an education centre into the chosen site.
“We can engage schools, community groups and trades, to run energy efficiency workshops or whatever, to put back into the community,” she said.
“It’s not about building something that will sit there and nobody will pay attention to, it will be working in the community, for the community.”
Council chief executive Patience Harrington said the initiative aligned with previous projects, such as the installation of panels at The Cube.
“We’ve got some of the best solar hours here in this city, even comparable to Mildura, which we’re very keen to make use of,” she said.
“Our next big step in the next three years is to work with our businesses to see how they also can participate in this project.”
Ms McKibbin said Wodonga’s study differed from others in that there would be a focus on members of the community with limited capacity to generate energy.
“What we want to do is find a way to deliver this power to the group in the community unable to put solar on their home or business for whatever reason,” she said.
“It’s really exciting to see this take off here – I know the potential that is here and the demand that is here.”
Northern Victoria MLC Jaclyn Symes said Wodonga was one of four areas in the region to receive nearly $300,000 in funding.
“I look forward to working with these groups – we are determined to grow clean energy jobs and business opportunities that benefit our local communities in country Victoria,” she said.
“We’re proud to be rebuilding much needed confidence in the renewable energy industry following the neglect of the former Liberal National Government at both state and federal levels over recent years.”
Other projects include $100,000 to fund a study for a clean energy project at the Wangaratta Government Centre.
The Wangaratta clean energy project study will focus on the development of a 20-megawatt solar farm with battery storage capability, transmitting electricity directly to a nearby industrial estate.
To keep up to date with the Wodonga study, follow the Renewable Albury-Wodonga – RAW Energy Facebook page.