Wed 5/11/14: As a big thank you to everyone for supporting the Castlemaine Ride to Work Day last month, Heidi Barrett Co-Founder of ‘No Lights No Lycra‘ has created a fun bike-themed playlist to share. Featuring Pink Floyd, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Queen and ‘Bicycle Made for 2’, it’s great fun and is bound to inspire more pedalling around Castlemaine.
Wed 29/10/14: MASH round #1 participants who pay by Friday 7 November will have their solar panels installed by Christmas 2014, according to Stephen Breheny, installer for the MASH solar panels bulk-buy project.
Friday 7 November is the payment deadline for inclusion in the third MASH solar panels bulk order. This order will bring the total number of systems ordered under the MASH solar PV project to 150.
A fourth bulk order for an additional 50+ rooftop solar panel systems will be placed before Christmas. The payment deadline for this order is Friday 19 December.
“Solar panel systems in the third bulk order will be installed by Christmas. Those in the fourth bulk order will be installed in January and February 2015 assuming favourable weather conditions and no events occurring that are beyond our control”, said Stephen Breheny.
Prices will be held at the current advertised rates for both these orders. However, due to adverse currency fluctuations, it is likely that orders placed in the New Year will be at slightly higher prices.
If you have not already placed your order, please get in touch with Stephen Breheny to arrange payment in time for either one of these order dates. Stephen can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0415 507 777.
Dissatisfaction with the dirty three energy retailers – Origin, AGL and EnergyAustralia – is proving common amongst participants in the MASH+ solar panels bulk-buy. The Hub Foundation is receiving a steady stream of enquiries from people who want to move to a green electricity retailer that publicly supports the Renewable Energy Target and generate all, or most, of their electricity from renewable sources.
Greenpeace has recently published ‘The Green Electricity Guide’, an independent study which they say has been developed to “help inform Australians about which electricity retailers really are as ‘green’ as they say they are.”
“Up till recently, Australians concerned about where their electricity comes from and who is selling it haven’t had much of a choice. And in some states and territories that’s still the case, with no choice at all”, according to the Green Electricity Guide.
“But increasingly many of us have the choice to purchase from a range of electricity retailers with very different environmental credentials. There is a growing difference between the old retailers which still remain dominant and rely on burning fossil fuels in the power stations they own, and a newer breed of more forward-looking companies that are providing cleaner energy in smarter ways.”
Here in Victoria, we are fortunate to have the greatest choice of green electricity retailers. The top four green retailers in Victoria, as identified in the Green Electricity Guide, are:
- #1 Powershop
- #2 Diamond Energy
- #3 Momentum
- #4 Red Energy
The seven criteria that all retailers were ranked on can be viewed here, they are:
- Investment in renewable energy
- Emissions intensity
- Greenpower options
- Whether they offer a good deal for solar
- Position on Australia’s Renewable Energy Target
- Coal seam gas investments
- Whether they are prepared to rule out purchasing electricity generated from burning native forest vegetation
The electricity companies that get a green rating in this report receive high scores on most of the above 7 criteria. “They typically generate all or most of their electricity from renewable sources, do not invest in or undertake coal seam gas activities, do not burn native forests for electricity generation and mostly are advocates of expanding Australia’s Renewable Energy Target”, according to Green Electricity Guide.
Wed 15 Oct, 2014: Around 100 people donned helmets and rode to the Hub Plot in Castlemaine this morning to enjoy the Ride to Work brekkie and show their support for cycling.
Braving the frosty morning, the cyclists enjoyed the delicious food provided by CAKE Catering and The Good Table – an inspired granola yoghurt combo and homemade foccacia with vegies from local wicking beds.. There was plenty of bike-themed interest too, with people having a go on the electric bikes from the Bike Vault as well as bike jokes and awards from MC, TimTim.
Everyone was encouraged to hear Jason Taylor, Director Sustainable Development at Mt Alexander Shire Council talking about the positive steps being taken to implement the council’s walking and cycling strategy. It was also good to see representatives from Castlemaine’s Walking and Wheeling Action Group (WAWAG) at the event.
“We were pleased to have so many people come to the brekkie and help to make it such a lovely community event,” said Heather Barrett, Director of The Hub Foundation. “The feedback we got was really positive; there’s no doubt that cycling is alive and well here in Castlemaine.
“Cycling is so much better than driving on so many counts. If this event encourages just a few more people to ride more regularly, then we will consider it worthwhile”, continued Heather. “Of course, more can and should be done to make cycling safer in and around Castlemaine.”
If you never ride to work, sometimes do or brave the elements every day, Wednesday 15 October 2014 is a great day to ride your bike to work.
To start the day in style, join other cyclists between 7-9am at the Hub Plot on Templeton Street, Castlemaine for a delicious free breakfast and bike-themed fun.
There will be awards for the best decorated bike, the greatest distance travelled to the event and the funkiest bike. There will also be free bike safety checks, a chance to try an e-bike and find out what plans are afoot to make Castlemaine a more bike-friendly town. (Free brekkie for 1st 100 to register; paid-for options available for others).
“Biking to work is a really positive way to start your day, build exercise into your daily routine and it helps make you more alert”, says Jo Kaptein of The Hub Foundation.
“And there’s a huge plus for the environment because for each kilometre you ride your bike instead of driving, you are saving around 0.3 kg of CO2 emissions – that’s a bit more than a standard pack of butter. Definitely worth it, we reckon!”
“It really doesn’t matter what your work is – an office job, outside job, ‘looking after kids job’ or student – the main thing is that you give biking a go and want to join in”, says Jo Kaptein.
The Hub Foundation, Castlemaine, and MASG (Mount Alexander Sustainability Group) are hosting the breakfast. It is free of charge for the first 100 people who register at www.hubfoundation.org.au/ride2work.
This event is sponsored by Mt Alexander Shire Council and the Bike Vault. Food will be prepared by The Good Table and CAKE Catering using locally sourced ingredients, including vegies from the footpath wicking beds. Coffee is provided by Coffee Basics.
Please register online at www.hubfoundation.org.au/ride2work in order to claim one of the 100 free brekkies or by calling Jo Kaptein at The Hub Foundation on 0455-589-065.
By end of today, Wednesday 17 September, Stephen Breheny and his 3 installation teams will have installed MASH+ solar systems for 23 customers. That’s up from 18 systems at end of Friday 12 September. Steve says that there are 10 more pallets of solar panels left in his warehouse. Each pallet has 6Kw of solar power; so 60Kw more to install in this first bulk order – and that’s for 23 customers. Steve reckons that these remaining customers should be installed over the next 2-3 weeks and the next bulk order for 50 systems will be placed towards end of September.
Other progress on the MASH+ rollout is that Steve is expecting to have completed all the site visits by end of this week. He’s been working weekends to get around to everyone’s homes to make this happen. Good job, Steve!
Read Neil Barrett’s column in The Midland Express (week 8, 26/8/2014) on the MASH+ solar truck arriving in Castlemaine; leasing vs buying; ‘goodies and baddies’ in electrical retailing; and latest stats on global temperatures . Here’s an extract:
“The MASH+ project has suggested people who are strapped for cash enquire about a loan from the Community First Credit Union at just over six per cent. Early indications are that the folk at CFCU have been great to deal with. If paid off over 10 years a loan for a 3kW system will cost $52 per month in repayments and interest. Contrast that with the benefits: put simply, a family paying 29c per kWh from the grid and using 50 per cent of the solar it produces, should save around $60 per month on its power bills.”
“Three big electricity retailers – Origin, AGL and Energy Australia – have recently been strongly opposing the Renewable Energy Target. This has led Greenpeace to set up the Green Electricity Guide to help consumers figure out who are the ‘goodies’ and the ‘baddies’ in the battle over renewable energy. The ‘goodies’ according to Greenpeace include Powershop, Momentum, Diamond and Red.”
“Talk of Roskam’s elevation should be a worrying sign for Victorians”, says Neil Barrett of The Hub Foundation in a letter published in The Age today. John Roskam, director of the Institute of Public Affairs, has confirmed he is considering running for Liberal Party preselection in Ted Baillieu’s prized seat of Hawthorn.
“The mischievously named Australian Environment Foundation and the Australian Climate Science Coalition, both set up by IPA staff and funded, at least in part, by the IPA’s fossil-fuel industry backers, are just two of the organisations set up to confuse the public,” writes Neil.
What’s more, a former IPA director, Mike Nahan, now the Minister for Energy in WA, has been running a determined anti-solar campaign for the past year. Talk of Roskam’s elevation should be a worrying sign for Victorians.”
A truck delivering around 700 panels for the first 50 paid-up customers for the MASH+ solar panels bulk-buy scheme arrived in Castlemaine today (Friday 22 August, 2014). This first bulk order under the MASH+ (Mount Alexander Solar Homes) project will save our Shire and neighbouring Shires 175 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year or a total of 3,500 tonnes over the lifetime of the panels. It’s also equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions generated by 100 people driving their car 11 kilometres each day over the period of one year.
Further ‘batch orders’ will be placed in the coming weeks in smaller lots of around 10 systems at a time, in order to ensure that customers get their solar panels installed on their homes as quickly as possible. With now over 270 householders registered for the MASH+ solar panel bulk-buy project, we are focussing on the installation process to make it as smooth as possible for MASH+ customers. Stephen Breheny, our lead installer for MASH+, has 3 installation teams trained up and ready to start installing systems from the start of next week.
Registrations for the MASH+ project will close on Sunday 31 August, 2014, so anyone in Mt Alexander Shire or neighbouring Shires who is interested in ‘going solar with MASH+’ should visit the website at www.hubfoundation.org.au and complete the no-obligation registration form before that date. Alternatively, call Jo Kaptein on 0455-589-065 to register or if you have any questions.
Yesterday, 20 August 2014, an order was placed for the first group of 50 people who have already paid for their solar panel installations with MASH+. This initial order is for around 700 solar panels (175Kw of solar power). As each 1kW cuts CO2 emissions by around 1 tonne, these first 50 systems will cut the total CO2 emissions in the Shire and neighbouring areas by around 175 tonnes each year and 3,500 tonnes over 20 years. We will be placing further orders in the coming weeks, in smaller ‘lots’ in order to fast track the installation process for customers.