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Promoting Sustainable Initiatives in Rural Australia: Wilcannia NSW

Promoting Sustainable Initiatives in Rural Australia: Wilcannia NSW . Learn Apply Communicate: Overall Objectives. Visit Wilcannia over a one week period.

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Promoting Sustainable Initiatives in Rural Australia: Wilcannia NSW

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  1. Promoting Sustainable Initiatives in Rural Australia: Wilcannia NSW

  2. Learn Apply Communicate: Overall Objectives • Visit Wilcannia over a one week period. • Engage with locals (attend public meetings, meet with local authority) to grasp an understanding of the people’s culture and underlying sustainability issues of the town. • Implement my knowledge to take steps toward building a better, more holistically sustainable Wilcannia.

  3. Activities • Consult café owners to maximise energy savings and sustainable café practices at Courthouse Café, Wilcannia. • Pursue early works proposal to promote energy efficiency of government housing. • Consult with Community Development Employment (CDEP) coordinators to provide input to projects promoting skills to facilitate future employment and sustainable lifestyles.

  4. Wilcannia, NSW 763km Sydney, NSW

  5. Why Wilcannia? • Parents relocated • Isolated rural community left behind on an economic and social scale. • Opportunity to visit and communicate with community members to understand issues.

  6. Location and Environment • Wilcannia is located in the Central Darling Shire on the banks of the Darling River. • The name means 'a gap in the bank where the flood waters escape’. It is part of the Murray Darling River System. • The river represents a sense of spirituality, purpose and livelihood for the Indigenous population of Wilcannia. • The surrounding environment is semi-arid and prone to flooding. Common flora species include, river red gum, Yellow Box, Saltbush and Lignum.

  7. History • Over 65% of the 600 population are indigenous, most of these are Barkandji people and have occupied the land for over 40,000 years. • 1850’s European Settlement –Thriving inland Port town. • Industry emerged in wool, and mining of lead and silver ore in Broken Hill and Opals in White Cliffs. River used for transport of good/supplies in, exportable goods out. • The reliance upon river trade and workers in the region diminished from the 1940’s onwards.

  8. Wilcannia Today • Low quality of life. • Current people still affected by past • Strong government presence, little positive government impact. • Recent revival of community livelihood.

  9. Challenges Moving Forward • Redefining the role of government and authority. • Declining predicted population. • Moving away from welfare funded livelihood, toward education and skilled work for living. • Environmental challenges: Harsh climate (cold winters, hot summers), unsustainable consumer behavior (energy consumption), lack of waste separation system, shortage of fresh, healthy food.

  10. Issues

  11. Community Solutions • There is no one size fits all approach for dealing with issues. • Employment and Leadership. • Policing methods and rehabilitation. • Community spirit. Projects need to be set up properly with long-term implementation strategies. • Future work needs to be sourced locally.

  12. 1. Reducing Energy Consumption through Café operations • Suggest energy reducing behaviours. • Invest in energy efficient technologies. • Promote sustainable, healthy nutrition. • Reduce demand for fossil-fuel bred energy.

  13. Energy Reducing Behaviors • Turning off coffee machine after each day (saves up to 18% of daily electricity demand). • Switching off appliances at the power-point source at the end of each day. • Limit usage of walk in cool room by only storing long-term items. • Keep doors closed as much as possible to better regulate indoor air temperature.

  14. Invest in Energy Efficient Technologies • Appliances for Café already purchased at time of study. • Opportunities to upgrade to energy efficient fridges (reduced heat transfer), coffee machines (better thermal insulation of water inside machine) and air heating/cooling systems. • Upgrade electricity generation method. Invest in solar energy.

  15. Source: weiku.com/products/9670140/Dismountable_Assembly_Cold_Room.html Source: www.southernair.com.au - Source: www.ascaso.com Source: thedailygreen.com :

  16. Reducing Fossil Fuel Dependence • Reliance on burning fossil fuels for energy is unsustainable from an environmental perspective (Carbon Dioxide Levels beyond 400ppm) and resource management perspective (coal reserves are estimated to last about 200 years). • Electricity prices one of the highest in the world (38c/kWh in the Central Darling region during peak and shoulder hours). • Energy prices set to rise by at least 5% next year. • Café operations are very carbon intensive, particularly during the middle of the day when insolation is highest.

  17. Advantages of Solar • Cost savings through self generated energy. • Reduction in Greenhouse Gas emissions. • Less dependence to energy companies (market competition). • Current trends regarding price and efficiency. • Financial incentives through Commonwealth Small-scale Renewable Energy Scheme (STC’s) and some energy retailers through feed in tariffs.

  18. Method • Measure current energy usage of house and café. • Select system size. • Calculate buyback period. • Obtain and analyse quotes (cost, quality). Select best deal.

  19. Calculations • Our household energy consumption – 1929kWh per quarter. This equates to 21.43kWh/Day and 7716kWh/year. • Main energy intensive appliances used in Café operations include: Coffee Machine; Walk-in cool room; Sandwich Fridge; Evaporative air cooler; Dishwasher; Deep Freeze; Kitchen cooking appliances; and Lighting. • 10 metres of north-facing, shade free roof space available.

  20. Results

  21. Results

  22. Results and Discussion • Approximate energy demand of Café during operation (year 1): 22+3+2+4.8+11.52+1.5+1.5 = 46.32kW per day. • Energy Demand of the Café + House = 46.32+21.43 = 67.75kW per day. Annual Electricity cost (approx.) = $9,891.50/year • Approximately half of this energy would be required during daylight hours (10:00am – 5:00pm). • A 5kW system (assuming 85% efficient) = 4.25kW per hour of peak sun @ 3.9 hours/day average (Broken Hill (Martin, 2012) = 16.575kWh/day production. • The majority of this energy (coffee machine, cooling mechanisms) will be used throughout the day and will use at least 16.575kWh/day. Therefore 5kW system justified given available roof space. Savings = $2298.95/year. • Buyback period = 10,000/2293= 4.35 years (approx.)

  23. Conclusions • 3 quotes, ranging in price ($9,000 - $16,000), type of equipment (regular/micro-inverter, mono/polycrystalline), and origin of manufacture (Germany (via China), Asia, Canada (via China) and European), all CEC certified. • Worth shopping around to find best deal. • Went with locally sourced company (Bromson Solar) offering Samil inverter and Jinko Panels (5kW) for approximately $10,000 after discounts.

  24. 2. Government Solar Initiative

  25. Context and Proposal Need • In Australia in 2010, 98% of tenants in Australian public housing and 93% in community housing were low-income households in the bottom 40% of household incomes (ABS, 2010). • Being renters and low-income earners, they are less able to purchase solar panels and other items that improve the comfort and sustainability of their homes. • Australian social housing is of the poorest quality and performance of all housing stock (Government houses are energy inefficient). • Wilcannia experiences very hot dry summers with high solar levels, leading to excessive use of air conditioners during sunlight hours. Energy bills are often a tenants largest expense, and has risen sharply over the last few years (risen 25% over the last 5 years).

  26. Similar Examples • In 2011 the UK ‘Solar Europa’ group announced plans to provide 200,000 council houses with solar panels through a £1.2 billion program. http://www.solarbuzz.com/industry-news/solar-europa-plans-council-and-housing-association-solar-program. • Pilot program announced by the WA Government on 500 properties at a cost of $1 Million. • Social Housing initiative by the Greens – 30,000 Government homes fitted with 1.5kW.

  27. Considerations • Is it feasible? • Is it safe? • Is it reliable? • Is it sustainable?

  28. My Proposal • Seek Federal or State Government funding to install and maintain 1.5kW solar PV systems to 62 Government houses within the Wilcannia township. • Financial Cost: approx - $6,000 for each residential home x 62 homes = ($372,000 total). • Size and production: 1.5kW systems@ 85% efficiency, 3.9 hours peak insolation = 5 kW generated per day (approx.). • Yearly generation = 1825kW/Year per home • Yearly Savings @ 38c/kWh = $693 per home • Roll out installations with information about how systems are delivering cost savings and the benefits of clean energy generation.

  29. Potential Benefits • Would reduce the energy cost for low-income families and community housing tenants. Reduce cost of living. • Lower Carbon Emissions – Contribute towards the States renewable energy targets. • Reduce the state’s carbon emissions and boost the solar industry in NSW. • Would bring economic activity to the Wilcannia Township.

  30. Risks to be Considered • Approximately $6,000 per system. • Risk of panels being vandalised • Risk of technology becoming more cost and energy efficient in the near future.

  31. Funding Schemes • ARENA – Australia Renewable Energy Agency, provide financial assistance for the research, development, demonstration, deployment and commercialisation of renewable energy and related technologies. Government funding initiatives offered by DRET (Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism) • Local Government Energy Efficiency Program • The Low Income Energy Efficiency Program • Community Energy Efficiency Program • FaHCSIA– Remote Indigenous Energy Program

  32. Communication • Letters were posted during May, outlining my proposal, potential future benefits and request for advice and further information sent to: • Matt Parmeter – ARENA (SEXI Project). • Jack Beetson – (Local Aboriginal Land Council Exec.). • Matt Bromson – Bromson Energy, Broken Hill. • FaHCSIA – re: Remote Indigenous Energy Program • Meeting with Jack Beetson, Wilcannia28th May, 2013.

  33. Future Steps • Keep contact with stakeholders (solar provider Bromson, Jack Beetson from LALC and Matt Parmeter). • Target next round of Federal funding and re-evaluate feasibility of proposal. If still feasible seek to submit proposal in collaboration with above.

  34. 3. Community Development Employment Program

  35. Garden Project Function • Utilise rich fertile soils and favorable growing conditions. • Developed using local labor and materials sourced through program funding. • Provide fresh fruit and vegetables to the local community (and Café) through a market garden and waste recycling . • Promotes economic activity and is a self sustaining initiative.

  36. CDEP Community Garden Project Features • Garden to produce fresh, seasonal vegetables • Subsurface irrigation • Composting unit • Recycling depot facility using truck • Unfortunate circumstance 2 weeks out from site visit.

  37. Future of the CDEP • Recent decision made by Federal Government level (bureaucratic), lead to Summit losing the CDEP contract. This prevented any work (and future work planning) during my time. • Potential funding through new CDEP allocated funding in the future. • Summit – still running WorkFront program – engaging locals to carry out contracted, paid work.

  38. LAC Reflections and Conclusions • Solar energy, agriculture has vast potential in the region. • The issues preventing sustainable growth in Wilcannia stem back to historical issues (stolen generation, generational unemployment). • Connection of people through identity and community is what keeps a town alive – much more than the sole allocation of government money. • Education of local indigenous population is done through the elders and Indigenous leader. Indigenous people often grow up lacking a sense of purpose or set of guiding morals and principles. • It’s the peoples community, and they know how their community is best managed. The more community meaningful community liasion is, the more engaged and effective initiatives will be.

  39. Thank you for Listening!

  40. References • EnergyConsult 2004, Appliance Standby Energy Consumption: Store Report 2003/04, report for the National Appliance and Equipment Energy Efficiency Committee prepared by Energy Efficient Strategies & EnergyConsult, August 2004, Canberra. • Jacobs, H. 2003, ‘The Coffee Culture’, Smarthouse Magazine, February, viewed 19 October 2004, www.smarthouse.com.au. • Taffel, J. 2003, ‘Spilling the Beans’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 22 October, viewed 19 October 2004, www.smh.com.au. • http://www.abc.net.au/brokenhill/topics/business-economics-and-finance/industry/housing/ • http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/law/reducing-aboriginal-incarceration-rates • http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/law/reducing-aboriginal-incarceration-rates • http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sites/default/files/documents/05_2012/wilcannia_lip.pdf

  41. References 2 Government Funding Initiatives • http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/clean-energy-future/programs-and-initiatives/ • http://www.climatechange.gov.au/energy-efficiency/low-carbon-communities • http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/publications-articles/housing/remote-indigenous-energy-program

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