FARMERS will get tips on off-grid energy production at a unique forum in Hamilton, Victoria, next week.
Speakers with specialist knowledge of the Australian energy market and the economics of renewable energy system options will feature at the forum on May 25.
They include former research fellow with the Melbourne Energy Institute Dylan McConnell and Energy Locals founder Adrian Merrick, former group executive manager of Energy Australia.
The forum has been organised by South West Energy Options Inc., a not-for-profit group of farmers, business people and landholders committed to promoting the uptake of renewable energy across south west Victoria.
Forum co-organiser Colin Frawley said the forum speakers will cover options such as self-sufficient micro grids, and concepts such as linking homes with solar units into virtual power plants using local battery storage hubs.
There are farmers in the region who are “off-grid”, using solar and wind power with batteries to operate their properties, he said.
“Batteries are making a big change to the way solar and other renewables can operate.”
Hamilton district speakers who will relate their personal experiences with renewable energy and energy saving design at the forum will include farmer Aggie Stevenson, Hamilton architect Bianca Scaife and Dunkeld landholder Helen Nielsen.
Within the context of the increasing costs of traditional energy options and issues with local energy security, SW Energy Options is holding the forum to raises awareness and generate publicity about the current state of the energy market, what is happening and what renewable energy innovations are coming.
“There is this view that certain people push that renewable energy is flaky and unreliable, and it is turning people, when in fact it has way more potential than that and we just want to get some people to tell their stories of what they are doing,” Mr Frawley said.
“There is a lot of interest in this and if we can get some information out and people start asking more questions then it might help everybody.”
Comedienne Marney McQueen has a special interest in supporting renewable energy and will control proceedings. A question and answer session involving all speakers will conclude the forum.
The forum will be held at the Kantor Family Music and Performing Arts Centre at the Hamilton and Alexandra College. Trade displays in the foyer will allow participants to see first-hand the renewable energy options available for immediate use. Opportunities will exist to speak with installers of renewable energy systems.
South West Energy Options Inc. has received support through the Greater Grants Program from the Shire of Southern Grampians. The forum will be held from 7-9.30pm, followed by tea and coffee.