Climate change group, Clean Energy For Eternity (CEFE), has won the Environment and Landcare category for the 2008 NSW/ACT Regional Achievement & Community Awards announced in Coffs Harbour on 8th November 2008.
The award marks a watershed week, just four days after Federal funding was confirmed for CEFE’s feasibility study into Australia’s first community solar farm.
The Award, sponsored by Prime Television and the Commonwealth Bank, acknowledges individuals and organisations that show a proven passion and dedication to reducing environmental impacts in rural and regional areas.
Award judges recognised CEFE for its catalytic role in inspiring community action on climate change.
The organization has demonstrated a commitment to pursuing innovative local solutions to a global challenge now recognized as a major risk to the security of people around the world.
CEFE founder Dr Matthew Nott, received the award saying; “This recognition is a great reminder of what local communities can achieve in Australia if they take courage and exercise leadership.
“Climate change is a priority issue in our rural Shires, where major economic keystones are tourism and agriculture.
“Our local community in south-east New South Wales was stirred into action because we realised that normal, everyday people could make a difference to the threat that climate change poses to our livelihoods and those of future generations.”
Five Shires across regional NSW (Bega, Cooma-Monaro, Eurobodalla, Palerang and Snowy River) and two Sydney suburbs (Mosman and Manly) have committed to CEFE’s ambitious but achievable community target of 50/50 by 2020 – to reduce energy consumption by 50% and produce 50% of our energy from clean renewable sources by the year 2020.
“With the current volatility of the markets and financial instability it’s tough for many individuals and families, particularly in regional areas where ongoing drought and decreasing supplies of water are taking their toll on farming communities and regional centres.
“It is exciting to see CEFE moving forward into a new phase, one that will bring new investment, training and employment opportunities into our region,” said Dr Nott.
Last Wednesday’s signing of the Funding Agreement with the Federal Government’s Green Precincts’ Program marks the formal beginning of the solar farm project.
“After twelve months solid work by a committed band of volunteers, it’s exciting to get the funding and get cracking on the research,” said interim Project Manager and CEFE’s Public Officer, Philippa Rowland.
“It’s a great step forward for the Bega community. Since our aim is to develop a replicable model, the project will also assist other communities throughout Australia interested in the transition to renewable energy.
“We already have a solar group in Jindabyne hot on our heels and keen to develop Australia’s second solar farm.
“The Bega and Mosman CEFE groups are working together in an urban-rural partnership to bring this solar project into fruition. It’s a unique chance to use our country’s solar resource to create sustainable regional development for the future.
“We are starting a renewable energy revolution. Seeing the opportunities and finding practical solutions are close at hand helps to overcome paralysis and turns apathy into inspiration.
“This race against time is a race worth winning – for all of us!”