Through a consultation process with the community, Natimuk Community Energy has been given a mandate to pursue a front-of-meter photovoltaic (PV) installation (Solar Garden) equal in capacity to the current annual electricity consumption of the town. NCE is currently working with Ekistica to create a business case for this ~2MW PV installation. This project will assess the feasibility and economics of a variety of sites, mountings, off-take agreements, and financial models to produce a Business Case document that will be our working roadmap to take Natimuk toward 100% renewable. This project has received support from Horsham Rural City Council, Wimmera Mallee Sustainability Alliance, New Energy Jobs Fund and generous contributions of time and skills from community members.
In 2007, Natimuk participated in a Community Building Initiative to determine community priorities for future planning. The community identified a priority of making Natimuk a zero-waste and emissions-free community. Following on from this exercise, several bulk-purchase projects were undertaken involving solar hot water systems and rooftop PV systems. Natimuk now has approximately 30% of households with PV systems and 15% with solar hot water.
|2007–||Community Building Initiative Identifies a priority to be ‘waste free’|
|2009–||1st bulk PV purchase for Natimuk|
|2011–||2nd bulk PV and solar hot water purchase for Natimuk|
|2015–||Organisational meeting for Natimuk Community Energy group|
|2016 July–||Awarded New Energy Jobs Fund Grant to pursue first Community Energy Project: N-CORE!|
|2016 Nov–||Project Coordinator, Project Reference Group, and Consultants appointed to deliver a Business Case for the first energy project|
|2017 March–||Official project launch, First Community Consultation, Capacity Building Workshop for Community Energy Group|
|2017 May–||Mid-project Community Consultation and Workshops|
|2017 Nov–||Final Community Engagements and Strategy Session for delivery of selected project|
|2018 March–||Completion of N-CORE! Business Plan and end of New Energy Jobs Funding|
|2018 and beyond–||Fund and implement the Business Case created for the N-CORE! Project|