Community group Newstead 2021 Inc and electricity distributor Powercor have met to consider options to switch the town to renewable energy as part of the Renewable Newstead project

The partners will come together to meet the Australian Energy Regulator and consider the role of tariffs in enabling the groundbreaking project.

The central Victorian town of 800 people already has one of the highest solar PV penetration rates in the state with one in five households boasting rooftop solar systems.

But it wants to go further, moving to generate 100per cent of its stationary energy locally.

Residents identified local renewable energy generation as a key goal almost 10 years ago.

Early last year the project took a significant step forward when Powercor signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work with Newstead 2021 Inc to develop options to help the community achieve its energy goals through the provision of data and insights. .

The goal is to create a model, free of government grants, that has enough financial incentive to drive consumers and others to invest in renewable energy locally.

Renewable Newstead has been funded with a $200,000 Victorian Government grant to date but its long term goal is to work without further grants, and be commercially viable.

Newstead 2021Inc President Andrew Skeoch said most community based renewable energy projects rely on grants of some sort to support capital costs when it comes to implementation.

“We want to see if we can change this, and our partnership with Powercor and support from the Victorian Government through the development phase of the project are vital for this.

“We were delighted to host key Powercor representatives in Newstead to nut out our next steps in advancing our project together and look forward to positive outcomes.”