This is momentous – for us in Renewable Newstead, for the Community here and for the Renewable/Community energy sector.

You can look at the full text of the MOU

You may find it more useful to read an item by item analysis of the seven main headings.

This is what we said in the local paper:

State Energy Minister, Lily D’Ambrosio, was in Newstead on Monday 15th February to formally announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Powercor, Western Victoria’s electricity distributor (it’s their wires and poles) and Newstead 2021. Glen Thomson, the General Manager of Energy Solutions signed on behalf of Powercor and Andrew Skeoch on behalf of N2021.

What is this all about?

All around the world renewable energy generation, chiefly solar and wind, is rapidly taking the place of more traditional, largely coal-based, supply. Coupled with storage, solar and wind will provide “base load” power. Newstead, with the help of a $200,000 Victorian Government grant, has just taken the first step towards leading the way in Victoria.

Why Powercor is involved?

Of course there will be those who choose, with the technology rapidly getting cheaper, to go it alone – to go off grid. It’s likely most  of us will choose to stay connected to the existing grid of poles and wires.

There are many questions arising in people’s minds:

What happens in winter?
What if I am a renter? Maybe there is no north-facing roof on my home?
Most of us will choose to remain in the safety of a power-sharing grid.

Currently the wires and poles could best be described as a Power Sending Grid, bringing us power from the distant Latrobe Valley’s coal-fired power stations. In the future, renewable energy sources will be added to this. Power-sharing will overtake power-sending. So the answer to the “Why Powercor?” question is beginning to become clearer – in our part of Victoria.  They run the Power Sharing Grid. If three words can sum up a project, those are the ones.

What happens next?

The outline of this project is already clearly defined. It is not about cutting the wires. It is not about building a solar farm. It is about creating a viable business model for a community to possibly generate and sell renewable energy. The agreement with Powercor will, we hope, equip us with data to help us do this.  How this is done is where there will be debate, discussion and expert technical advice. Soon there will be a Public Meeting to describe and discuss the many options.