CEFE was one of 17 organisations across the state to be awarded a prestigious Green Globe award at a ceremony in Sydney on Thursday October 15. Green Globes recognise excellence in initiatives to promote sustainability and protect the environment. The CEFE award, which was shared with Bega Valley Shire Council was in the category Excellence in Leadership and Innovation, sub-category Leadership in Climate Change.
Here is the citation:
This project, a partnership between the council and a local community group, Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE), is Australia’s first community solar farm.
A 30 kilowatts ground-mounted solar installation, arrayed to form the word ‘IMAGINE’ can be clearly seen by passing flights. The energy generated by the panels offsets electricity used by the Tathra sewerage treatment plant and the savings are placed into a fund managed by CEFE for future community projects. This approach not only ensures that these projects are efficient and well-targeted, but maintains a clear community connection and engagement throughout the solar farm’s lifetime.
CEFE and BVSC has signd an MOU which will ensure that the the ‘value’ of the donated panels, in the form of electricity payments that BVSC no longer needs to pay for grid power to supply the treatment plant will be returned to CEFE to fund further community solar projects in the shire. The Tathra Community Solar Farm is the first project where CEFE has collaborated with BVSCj but is ust the most recent of many many initiatives that CEFE has undertaken entirely on its own or in collaboration with the Tathra Enduro, to equip surf clubs, pre-schools, RFS shed, community halls and churches since 2007.
IT COULD possibly be the only time this has happened.
On Sunday, St John’s Anglican Church will conduct its morning service at Brogo Dam while swimmers and canoeists conduct a fundraising event in the water.
Named the Country Energy Lifesaving Energy Brogo Dam Big Swim, it is the brainchild of Clean Energy for Eternity (CEFE) and part of a series of swims designed to raise money for wind turbines and solar panels for surf clubs, fire stations, and now a church.
This swim is for the installation of a 2kW system of photovoltaic cells at the church which will help towards the shire’s target of 50/50 by 2020.
The church is a popular venue for community activities, having excellent facilities of space, quality acoustics and catering facilities.
However, its old-style church and hall have large open areas and high roofs, meaning high costs for lighting, heating and cooling.
The production of clean energy through solar panels will reduce the carbon emissions and costs.
Half of the $25,000 total cost will be from CEFE’s energetic and innovative fundraising efforts with the other half coming from the Federal Government rebate for qualifying non-profit community groups.
As part of the eligibility requirement for a grant, St John’s will provide education concerning solar energy technology to school children and community groups.
According to the Reverend Chris Short, the solar panels will be “a significant step in the parish’s program to reduce our carbon footprint and to share in the church’s mission to care for God’s creation”.
“Matthew Nott and CEFE are helping with this as their birthday present to us in our 150th year,” he said.
“We are very appreciative of what they are doing and it is really exciting to do something with the community in this way as the church has to exist as part of the community.”
Mr Nott said CEFE was always looking to engage with different sections of the community.
“We are willing to help any organisation that is keen on renewable energy,” he said.
“And Rev Short has been extremely supportive since CEFE began.”
It is believed that St John’s may be the first church in the Diocese and possibly in Australia to install solar panels as a result of community effort.
Mr Nott said he would love to see a mosque and a synagogue become part of the religious places that had renewable energy.
“No matter what people’s race or religion and no matter whether they are rich or poor, live in the city or country, climate change will affect us all,” he said.
With a large number already registered, swimmers and canoeists are encouraged to join in on Sunday with onlookers invited to join the congregation in a service of worship at 9.30am at the boat ramp.
In a generous donation, canoes will be available to use at no cost, courtesy of Brogo Wilderness canoes.
Two 10-seater buses will leave from St John’s at 8.40am, but bookings are preferred on 6492 5555.
Rev Short said the service would be held in a “shady place near the boat ramp with flat rocks that can be used for seating”.
Rev Short advised people to either take a cushion or a folding chair, but said drinks and morning tea will be provided for swimmers, visitors and parishioners.
Anyone wishing to support the project may send their sponsorship or donation to Anglican Parish of Bega – Big Swim, PO Box 50, Bega, 2550, or contribute on the day.
On 27/7/09 2 kw solar panels were installed on the roof of the St Johns church in Bega. The installation will reduce the churches electricity bill by about $1800 per year, after the introduction of the NSW feed-in-tariff on 1/1/10
At the official opening of the new Tathra RFS shed on , the head of the South Coast RFS John Cullen announced CEFE’s intention to get all 200 Rural Fire Sheds in SE NSW set up with renewable energy by 2020.
It is hoped that money generated from solar panels installed on fire sheds will be donated towards further installations. With recent changes to the NSW Feed-In-Tariff legislation, there is considerable uncertainty about the project, but one way or another CEFE will work with the RFS to achieve its goal.
Jason Lewington, senior deputy captain with the Tathra Fire Brigade (left), and firefighter Max Cook, had a closer look at the recently installed solar panels on the Tathra fire shed. The 2kw system was paid for by the bulk-buy deal and the CEFE Big River Swims.