A group of Mitchell community members are fed up with politicians locking horns over energy policies while power costs continue to rise.
They have decided to take matters into their own hands.
Mitchell Community Energy (MCE) is a new group inviting residents to take part in developing and financing local renewable energy and conservation projects.
Established at a community meeting in October, they’ve already brought two ambitious new proposals to the table.
The first, a 99kW rooftop solar proposal for the Seymour Sports and Aquatic Centre.
The project, currently priced at about $120000, will first require backing from council and the wider community.
‘‘The centre is owned by council and we’re currently in discussions with them about this proposal. It’s looking very positive,’’ MCE secretary Jeff Wilmot said.
The second proposal is a pumped hydroelectric storage project reusing the old Seymour water supply in Trawool, which has lain dormant for half a century.
Pre-feasibility studies have already been completed for the projects thanks to grants from the State Government and the support of council, with MCE reporting positive economic outcomes for both.
‘‘Council is currently working through the findings of the feasibility study, with the next steps including looking at design options and costs,’’ Mitchell Shire Mayor Rhonda Sanderson said.
‘‘The Mitchell Environment Advisory Committee has also supported the development of a business case for both the economic and environmental impacts of the pumped hydroelectric energy storage project.’’
Council has responded glowingly to the establishment of MCE.
‘‘The launch of Mitchell Community Energy is a fantastic local grassroots initiative,’’ Cr Sanderson said.
‘‘We’re always looking to increase the level of community participation in the management of our environment and empower them to make a positive impact on where they live. We commend any residents or groups who aim to improve our natural environment.
‘‘With energy costs rising, council is always open to ways of making our facilities more energy efficient and reducing our reliance on non-renewable energy sources.’’