Zero Net Emissions by 2025

Jobs, FiTs and Wind Grants all at MASG

Posted on 13 June 2012 by e-news

Work at MASG!

MASG is appointing some new, part time, core staff positions to support our project workers.  Details of the new jobs [both paid and volunteer] are here,  and on our facebook page.   Closing date is 22nd June.

Please spread the word about these opportunities.  And, don’t forget to renew/subscribe/donate to keep our good work going.  You can click to join or, click to donate.

MASG News – a Quick Update:  Thanks for the positive feedback on the e-news.  We will generally be on a fortnightly cycle for a while, with an occasional extra when there is extra news!  Our facebook page is well supported too – Greg Barber MP wrote there: “You guys {MASG} are leading the state..”

We found a home for the donated mountain bike.  Thanks to the Bike Vault and Orphaid [a Castle-maine-based charity] who made this possible.   It will be used by young people in Sierra Leone.  One less car!

Lots of wind news

perhaps because it’s World Wind Day soon?

Community Wind Awarded $10,000 grant

The Mount Alexander Community Wind Project is powering into its next phase with the aid of a $10,000 grant from the Maldon and District Community Bank. The money is to go to Phase Two of the Mount Alexander Community Wind project – to help find the most appropriate and efficient site for a small, community owned wind park.

The project has received expressions of interest from 50 local landholders who are interested to host the turbines. The group are now beginning the process of analysing these sites according to various environmental, social and technical criteria.

You can help make the vision of community-owned wind power a reality by making a tax-deductible donation to MASG. For more information call (03) 5470-6978 or visit our web page.

Jarra in Germany and Denmark

“This week I am heading off on a Study and Speaking tour.  While I am away I will be presenting a paper (that I co-authored with Nicky Ison) at the World Wind Energy Conference as well as visiting a number of exciting community renewable energy projects and advocacy groups.

“I will visit communities who have together created amazing ways of meeting their energy needs through means that don’t compromise the future health of our planet.  These small villages and islands have developed ways to meet all of their electricity and heating needs through various models of community-owned wind, solar, small-hydro and biomass power.  Talk about visionary!  “I will be recording my the stories and sights on my blog.  I hope you can join me!

Can you help with Jarra’s costs? Her tour is self-funded and friends, family and colleagues have contributed about one third [$1,800] towards costs so far.  If you would also like to make a contribution, please email Jarra for the bank details.

Feed-in Tariff [FIT]

Have your say – meet the commissioners here in Castlemaine

The Victorian Treasurer has requested the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC)  conduct an inquiry into ‘feed-in tariff (FiT) arrangements and barriers to distributed energy’ to [a] assess the design, efficiency, effectiveness and future of FiT schemes; and [b] identify barriers to connecting distributed renewable and low emission technologies into the distribution system.  Click for further details including a recently released draft report.

Tuesday 19 June – 9.30am to 11.30am – venue tbc – call Ian on 0488 724 176

Do you need a RESS?

The Renewable Energy Subscription Service (RESS) is a new initiative for householders with PV systems and/or solar hot water services in the Mount Alexander Shire. For an annual subscription, a project worker will work with you to assess how your system is performing, review your bills, tariffs and metering; and advise on how to get the best out of your investment. 25% of your subscription will support MASG activities.

If requested, the RESS will also collaborate on a custom plan to suit your energy efficiency needs, including any retrofitting opportunities.  Another objective is to develop a ‘best-practice’ list of suppliers of goods and services who can provide good customer service, professionalism and an awareness of sustainable values when work is required.  The annual subscription entitles you to two home visits, phone support and access to an emailed newsletter and an information resource.

For more information contact Mike Reeves 0439 500 050

The Hub Plot Jottings:

Order fruit trees before 16 June for winter planting:

If you are interested in food gardening, learning about food gardening, sharing what you know about gardening, call in on Monday mornings, anytime from 9am onwards.  Produce exchange and morning tea at 11am.  All welcome. At The Hub Plot, at the back of The Hub, 233 Barker St, Castlemaine – enter via Templeton St gates.

See also tumblr We are currently gauging interest in holding a workshop on basket making.  If you are interested please email Heather on

Young climate leaders in town: 

Anna Rose (co-founder of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition) spoke to more than 60 people in the foyer of the Castlemaine Library.  Alongside her on the panel were MASG’s Jarra Hicks talking about community-owned wind and Cr Bronwen Machin.  Pictures on MASGs Facebook.  Here’s a summary of what Anna Rose said in Castlemaine.

“Climate change is about people. We all eat food. We need to be concerned about food security.  Climate change’s effect on Murray Darling food bowl alone is enough for major concern.

What can anyone do?  What works?

1.  Talk about carbon price, not tax. Price per tonne of carbon is to be placed on the same large polluters who would have been affected by the Howard gov proposed legislation in lead up to 2007 election.

2.  Move away from the fear campaign – there will be costs on getting off carbon economy.  But it is happening anyway and it is worth it.

3.  Individual conversations do make a difference.  People change from neutral to active when they know the facts.  For example, Australia is behind other countries not ahead.  Even China has more people under carbon price than Australia and NZ, UK and Europe far ahead.”  More info

Permaculture Design Course, Castlemaine and district.  Last chance to book for the two-week intensive winter version of our popular PDC.  Guest tutors include David Holmgren, co-founder of the permaculture concept, and Adam Grubb, peak oil specialist.  Local tutors Ian Lillington, Beck Lowe and Sam Downing. Saturday 30 June to Friday 13 July 9am to 5pm, (i.e. 13 training days with one day off on Saturday 7 July). Not a residential course.  Low cost possible due to support from ACFE: $500 ($250 concessions). For more information:  5472 4842,;

State and World Climate and Sustainability News

Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries (CCRSPI) team is pleased to present the second national CCRSPI Conference.  Australia’s only dedicated primary industries and climate change conference will be a wonderful forum for researchers, policy makers, practitioners and farmers, showcasing the latest national and international research, policy and practices for primary industries in a changing climate.

COASTAL property prices are expected to rise as the Baillieu Government declares war on climate change “hysterics”.  The Government will make it easier to build developments in seaside towns by winding back planning regulations based on what could happen to sea levels by 2100.  Potentially hundreds of new projects in places like Lakes Entrance and Port Fairy have been on hold because VCAT ruled that floor heights must be at least 80cm higher than current flood-risk levels.  Planning Minister Matthew Guy said that Labor’s policy setting had been a hysterical response to climate-change predictions. “You can’t put in planning regulations now that are going to be relevant in the year 2100, it’s completely ridiculous” he said.  Melbourne coastal suburbs, although just above high tide level, are not affected by the policy change because they come under a different regime run by Melbourne Water.  Herald Sun

CERES Arnhem Land Weaving Workshops 2012 – Learn about Yolngu culture from Indigenous leaders who are passing on their traditional skills and knowledge in basket weaving and bush survival skills to future generations.  July – 21nd to 29th: Women’s only weaving workshop; and August 4th to 12th: Mixed weaving workshop and bush survival skills program.  Cost $2,000.  For more information conact Sophie at, or phone 03 9389 0183.

CERES Global is a program that aims to encourage a better world through harnessing connections and building cross-cultural friendships; through sharing ideas, skills and experiences; and through creating understanding between people from diverse backgrounds.

El Nino returns – predictions of drier weather again for SE Australia.  The last two years may have been unusually wet according to recent reports.  Over the last three decades, rainfall, and reservoir levels show a clear ‘step change’ where average inflows have ‘stepped’ down.  This was first noticed in WA, now apparent in the SE as well.  This chart shows light blue bars: how much water has flowed into Thomson per year since 1984. The dark blue lines show how the average has changed in the past 14 years – from 254 billion litres p.a. to 159 billion litres. It’s a similar story with Melbourne’s nine other reservoirs.  More stats here.

Ballarat Sustainability – you’re all invited to join us for a BREAZE hoe-down (put down your garden tools, come celebrate!). We’ll provide free drinks and local food. Find out what other members have been up to and meet all the new BREAZE Board members.  We also want to share the new BREAZE structure, what we’re going to look like in the future and how we’re going to bring down Ballarat’s emissions.  We are now more savvy about how we can achieve our mission – and we’d like to share that with you!   Friday 20th July , 6 – 8 pm, email for more info

Over the next 5 years, BREAZE will be working on four priorities:  Solar for all – a community group initiative that gets solar onto the roofs of community buildings. CORE – Developing a localised, Community Owned Renewable Energy facility.  BREAZE voice – advocacy on behalf of our community.  Energy Smart Ballarat – boosting the local awareness, benefit and uptake of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures.

Tamil Nadu, India: 36% of energy supplied by wind and 30% of peak load was met by wind. This demonstrates that wind energy can meet high levels of penetration on grid much beyond 10-20% that was normally thought of earlier.   Report on Tamilnadu


from Paul Hawken, used by Anna Rose in Castlemaine:  “When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.”



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