Corem – a community-based group renewable energy group in the Northern Rivers town of Mullumbimby – have announced their new goal of reaching 100 per cent renewable energy – by 2020.
The ambitious target – agreed at the recent two-day Renew Fest event hosted by the group at the town’s showgrounds – is being accompanied by a crowd-funding target of $100,000 to build more community solar PV projects, develop a solar business program, and fund a “renewable energy streets education” program.
It will also be used to continue work to reinstate the Laverty’s Gap hydro station, located on the Wilsons River and which once was the main provider of power for the old farming town and made the town self-sufficient in electricity.
The group – Corem stands for Community renewable energy Mullumbimby – has already installed a series of community-funded solar projects, including on the Mullumbimby Drill Hall (12kW), Mullum Showgrounds (10kW) (pictured left), Brunswick Valley Volunteer Rescue Association (5kW) and Brunswick Valley Historical Society Museum (6kW). It is now preparing to build a 5kW PV system at Federal Hall.
Corem has also teamed up with the local, community-owned energy retailer Enova to promote a bulk buy solar and storage program run by SunCrowd.
Corem’s ambition will dovetail with the broader and the equally ambitious goal of the Byron Shire Council to reach net zero emissions by 2025, including in energy, transport, land use and buildings.
Laverne’s Gap hydro plant powered Mullumbimby for the first time in 1925, making it one of the first country towns in NSW to receive electricity,and also supplying power to neighbouring towns and villages. It was decommissioned in 1990.
The community education program is also designed to follow the example of the “Lock the Gate” movement and build community support street by street.
One trial in a street on Mullumbimby found all the householders pledging to go 100 per cent renewables. The group is now looking to expand that program to engage more streets and householders in the plan.