20070120 Tathra SLSC gets SMH coverage

lifesaving_energy_small_01Wendy Frew Environment Reporter Sydney Morning Herald

SURF clubs, best known for saving lives, are now saving energy. The Tathra club, in a campaign it hopes to take national, will today unveil a $20,000 renovation that includes a wind turbine and solar power panels.

The refit will greatly reduce the club’s greenhouse pollution and cut its electricity bill by an estimated $1000 a year.

The joint venture, between a local group, Clean Energy for Eternity, Bega Valley Shire Council and the Tathra Surf Club, is to be a model for Australia’s other 304 surf clubs.

Already Bega Valley Shire Council has committed funds for a similar project at the nearby Pambula and Bermagui surf clubs, and Sydney surf clubs have phoned the organisers for information.

“The aim of the project is to provide the club with all its energy needs from renewable resources,” said Matthew Nott, a local doctor and the founder of Clean Energy.

“The flow-on effects are twofold: by using sun and wind power we are freeing up money for the club to spend on life-saving equipment, and at the same time using the turbine and solar modules to educate people about the potential of these clean energy sources.”

Bega Valley Shire Council provided $10,000 towards the Tathra refit, and the club received a $4000 Federal Government rebate. The balance of funds came from the local community.

The far South Coast branch of Surf Life Saving NSW has backed the project, and four more South Coast clubs intend to install renewable energy systems.

“I think it is one of the better conservation ideas to come up, and I can’t see any problems with getting other clubs on board,” said the branch president, Dave Pheeney.

Tathra Surf Club has been fitted with a twin-blade wind turbine two metres in diameter and one-kilowatt solar modules on its roof. The system is connected to the electricity grid. Whenever the cells and turbine generate electricity, it is put into the grid, in effect winding back the clu