Totally Renewable Yackandandah is a volunteer run community group, formed in 2014, with the goal of powering their town with 100% renewable energy and achieving energy sovereignty by 2022.
One of TRY’s standout projects is the TRY Perpetual Energy Fund (PEF), which raises funds from donations that are reinvested in community projects around Yack to increase energy efficiency, generate renewable electricity and for storage. Loans are repaid from the savings made on electricity bills and the Fund is perpetuated for community sustainability projects. The first project was with Yackandandah Health Service (YHS). In 2015, TRY raised $5,000, which was loaned to YHS for the energy efficiency improvements. The connection of a 90kW solar-panel system at Yackandandah Health Service (YHS) replacement of 276 light fittings with low maintenance LED lights.
TRY is a great example of community controlled initiatives which are designed to transition to a more sustainable basis while also building a sense of community power.
There are more and more great initiatives like TRY across mountain areas and surrounding valleys. One that comes to mind is the bulk buy of solar PV systems at Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain a few years ago.
Another great example is Bright Brewery, which has been installing solar PV on its facilities with a view to making their beer production as close to carbon neutral as possible. While minimising the overall environmental footprint on Bright (see image above of their solar PV system).
The Sustainable Small Towns facebook page allows you to track what’s happening in community sustainability initiatives across regional Victoria.
The EcoPortal website covers environmental, local food and sustainability events in north eastern VIC and Albury and has links to the many groups who are active locally.