Newstead’s green dream one step closer to reality

Minister Lily D'Ambrosio at the Newstead 100% renewable MoU event
Minister Lily D'Ambrosio at the Newstead 100% renewable MoU event

The small Victorian town of Newstead has taken the next step towards becoming the first town in the state to be fully powered by locally-generated renewable energy.

Powercor will develop on-grid renewable energy for the town, signing a memorandum of understanding with the community group driving the project, Newstead 2021.

On Monday, the Minister for Energy Lily D’Ambrosio, local MP Maree Edwards, along with Andrew Skeoch (President of Newstead 2021) and Glen Thomson (Powercor’s GM Energy Solutions) joined the Renewable Newstead community to celebrate the MOU.

The move comes one year after the Andrews Labor Government announced a $200,000 grant to kick-start the Newstead eco-power project, which will transition the town to 100 per cent renewable energy via a community-scale grid. The model will incorporate community ownership to help keep energy costs down and promote social equity.

Under the MOU, Powercor will support the Newstead 2021 group by providing industry know-how, such as understanding the town’s energy load profile, assessing the impact of local generation on grid stability and reliability, financial modelling, and other technical advice.

The $200,000 grant is part of the Labor Government’s efforts to encourage the development and storage of renewable energy. Other initiatives include the $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund to promote investment and jobs in new energy technologies, and the Renewable Energy Roadmap to supports the transition towards renewable energy power generation and storage.

“We are creating new jobs and helping Victoria shift towards a renewable energy future with our $20 million New Energy Jobs Fund and Renewable Energy Roadmap,” Minister for Energy and Resources Lily D’Ambrosio said.

The Government has also released a Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorian Communities, which helps local community groups develop renewable energy projects.