A new and exciting development in the Newcastle area is CLEANaS (Clean Energy Association of Newcastle and Surrounds). There are a number of community based renewable projects developing across the country, but none as yet in The Hunter.
CLEANaS has set about redressing the balance and have established an organisation that develops community renewable energy projects in this region and beyond.
The group is made up of technical professionals and amateur enthusiasts, community activists and people who are passionate about renewable energy. CLEANaS's objective is to create a society based on 100% renewable energy as the primary means to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.
The group has successfully acquired funding from the Office of Environment and Heritage, to be used to create a platform to support community renewable energy projects. As part of the requirements of the funding, CLEANaS has in short space of time established an organisation with a distinct identity, organised launches and community workshops and developed a comprehensive business case.
CLEANaS has engaged the services of specialists and project managers to help develop Lighthouse CRE (Community Renewable Energy) as its first project. This project will be used to make it possible for community groups to own and profit from solar installations which generate power to be used by local businesses. The ideal host businesses would be those that are high energy users during the day, due to the use of net metering, this would include shops, office buildings and factories. As the solar installation earns revenue, the community investors are paid back with interest.
There are now more than a million households with solar panels in Australia - the technology is well established and trusted. CLEANaS offers the opportunity for those who do not have the ability to host their own solar installations and for others who want to make that extra step forward.
CLEANaS are investigating various renewable energy technologies to achieve its objectives in the future.