Wodonga Community Solar Project

2016-17

In June 2016, Wodonga Council, in conjunction with Renewable Albury Wodonga Energy, received a New Energy Jobs Fund Grant from DELWP (Victorian Department of Energy, Land, Water and Planning). $80,000 was granted to conduct a feasibility study and develop a plan for a solar farm within Wodonga that could benefit the community. Accompanying this, Wodonga Council added $20,000 towards the study.

The tender was awarded to Moreland Energy Foundation Limited (MEFL). The aim of this project was to identify a way that low income houses in Wodonga could directly benefit from such an installation. It was the role of MEFL to investigate and identify the options. Community education opportunities would also be a priority. MEFL is a well-established group with many projects under its belt. http://www.mefl.com.au/

RAW Energy members Bobbi McKibbin, Michelle Wilkinson and Jenny Davies met with Wodonga council project team Mark Verbaken, Jill Croome, and MEFL representatives on a regular basis during 2017.

Feasibility study - Phase 1

A workshop for stakeholders was held on 3rd March 2017. Stakeholders were briefed on three possible models by the MEFL team in order to determine which one would be the best fit for our community. This was Phase 1 of the project and was completed with the release of the feasibility study in June 2017. [Download the feasibility study PDF]

Building a business case - Phase 2

Phase 2 concentrated on building a business case and was completed by MEFL in January 2018. RAW Energy continued to engage with and update stakeholders during 2017.

Business case presentation - Dec 2017

In this session, the consultants presented and explained the business case to stakeholders, and were available to answer questions and take feedback for final revision. The final business case was completed in January 2018.

DELWP Climate Change Innovation Grant 2017

An application for a DELWP Climate Change Innovation Grant was submitted on November 30th with the title ‘Putting the Wodonga Community Solar Project business case into action’.

The lead organisation was Wodonga council with Renewable Albury Wodonga Energy, AusNet Services, North East Water, Border Trust and WAW as partners. If successful, this would allow a project officer to be employed part time over an 18 month period to advance the business case.

State Parliamentary Committee

Michelle Wilkinson represented RAW Energy at a State Parliamentary Committee public hearing in Shepparton in May 2017 regarding the Wodonga Community Solar Project. One theme which cropped up from a number of participants was the complexity of the market for community energy groups in Victoria. See the link below.

Inquiry into Community Energy Projects

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/eejsc/inquiries/article/3075