The city of Bendigo in Victoria is considering going fully renewable by 2036.
Currently, Bendigo spends at least $80 million powering homes, and almost all of that money leaves Bendigo. Most leaves the country. However, this goal would see 100 per cent renewable energy generation from local and regional sources.
Residents have been asked to provide feedback on the draft City of Greater Bendigo Environment Strategy 2016-2036, which aims for zero net carbon in 20 years.
The draft strategy covers 10 long term action areas for business, government agencies, the general community and the city.
City of Greater Bendigo sustainable environment manager Robyn Major said the draft strategy was developed throughout the past 12 months following considerable community consultation.
“Over 350 people attended forums, workshops and listening posts, 11 schools took part in engagement activities and over 36 local organisations participated in consultation. In addition over 1500 individual comments were gathered through the consultation period,” she said.
“The people we consulted with said in the next 20 years they want a healthy and protected environment, the Bendigo Creek restored to a natural waterway and a healthy urban forest that provides more shade and habitat for nature.
“They also said they want to see more local renewable energy and green jobs and homes and buildings that are more energy efficient.”
According to solar provider Energy Matters, there’s already been significant uptake of solar panels in Bendigo itself. There are approximately 2310 solar PV installations in Bendigo’s postcode, and another 20 nearby.
More than 25MW of solar power systems have been installed on more than 7000 homes throughout the Bendigo municipality – 16 per cent of homes have installed solar panels.
Bendigo receives solar irradiation levels of around 4.42kW/h per square metre daily. Northern Victoria receives almost as much sunlight as northern Australia, but with the added advantage of being very close to the transmission grid.
The Strategy also envisions programs such as solar buyers groups and community solar bulk-buy schemes.