Port Fairy plans to fight rising power bills by becoming the site of south-west Victoria’s first Smart Energy Precinct.
Located 300 km west of Melbourne on the Great Ocean Road, the town’s local businesses and organisations are now discussing their future energy options.
Potential sites and energy sources include wind, solar, biogas, geothermal and wave energy generation. Also in the mix are smart energy contracts, microgrids and energy storage.
Local businesses discuss clean energy options
The Port Fairy Smart Energy Precinct is a partnership between Bamstone, Southern Ocean Mariculture, Sun Pharma, Moyne Health Services and Wannon Water.
There is also additional support from Deakin University and South West Community Energy.
Project partner Bamstone supplies bluestone products to commercial and domestic markets. Approximately 40 per cent of Bamstone’s Port Fairy factory runs on clean energy. The company installed over 100 kW of solar panels at the factory earlier this year.
Managing director Mike Steel said the multi-million dollar precinct was “a powerful example of how local leadership can demonstrate solutions for regional development whilst tackling climate change”.
“On a per-capita basis, Port Fairy is a high-energy user in comparison with other towns its size in Victoria. This is driven by the large manufacturing sector that is a significant local employer for the region.”
Smart Energy Precinct to attract business
Reducing energy costs by up to 50 per cent will support local businesses and industries to remain competitive. This will also help retain industries, organisations and jobs within the region.
Steel said Port Fairy was also facing challenges from climate change. “The project will identify how we can reduce Port Fairy’s greenhouse gas emissions and costs to the community.”
He said by showing leadership, the groups was tackling climate change while supporting the local community.
Port Fairy has already embraced clean energy in the form of wave power. The Port Fairy Wave Energy Project involved the installation and testing of a 250 kW bioWAVE pilot demonstration unit.
Smart Energy Precinct partner Deakin University is already actively pursuing solar energy generation in the area.
Late last year, the university announced its decision to build a $30 million industrial-scale solar microgrid at its Waurn Ponds Campus in Geelong.