Riddells Creek Sustainability Newsletter

6 July 2009

Fact sheets

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 11:31 pm

Sustainability Victoria has a range of fact sheets that have in-depth information about saving energy at home.


· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gif Fast Facts on Energy Efficiency (PDF, 532KB)

Appliance operating costs

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifElectrical appliances – operating costs (PDF, 237KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifGas appliances – operating costs (PDF, 267KB)


· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifKeeping your winter warm (PDF, 231KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/balloons/word_icon_for_se_site.jpg Keeping your winter warm (rtf, 11.2KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifChoosing a heating system (PDF,493KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifElectric slab heating (PDF, 168KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifElectric space heating (PDF, 148KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifGas ducted heating (PDF, 144KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifGas space heating (PDF, 158KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifHeat shifters (PDF, 130KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifHydronic heating (PDF, 180KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifPortable heaters (PDF, 297KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifReverse cycle air conditioning (PDF, 171KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifWood heating (PDF, 225KB)

Hot water

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifChoosing a hot water system (PDF, 465KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifSolar hot water (PDF, 263KB)


· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifChoosing a cooling system (PDF, 374KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gif Save Energy in Summer (PDF, 487KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/balloons/word_icon_for_se_site.jpg Save Energy in Summer (rtf, 23.8KB)


· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifBenefits of insulation (PDF, 311KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifInsulation installation (PDF, 699KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifInsulation types (PDF, 426KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifLandscape design (PDF, 366KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifSiting and solar access (PDF, 408KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifThermal mass (PDF, 613KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifWindow placement (PDF, 390KB)

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifWindow protection (PDF, 563KB)

Renewable energy

· http://www.saveenergy.vic.gov.au/common/images/thumbnails/icon_pdf.gifRenewable energy systems (PDF, 115KB)

29 June 2009

Victorian Feed-in Tariff

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 10:32 pm

The Labor Government’s feed-in tariff legislation was passed by the Victorian Parliament on 25 June 2009.

The government states that amendments were made “in response to input from responsible environment groups” which demonstrates that our combined efforts to contact politicians and build community support for a good feed-in tariff were successful.

Well done ATA, Environment Victoria, Climate Action Groups, Sustainability activists and everybody who spent time and considerable effort on this campaign.

The final structure of the Victorian feed-in tariff includes:

· 60 cents credit per kilowatt hour for energy fed back into the grid within that year. This is about four times the current cost of electricity in Victoria.

· The tariff is paid to residences, community organisations and small businesses with energy consumption less than 100 MWh a year

· An array size limit of 5kW applies

This outcome is a significant improvement on the feed-in tariff initially proposed by the government. Amendments introduced in the Upper House which improved the scheme include:

· extending participation to community organisations and small businesses with energy consumption less than 100 MWh a year (they were intially excluded)

· increasing the array size limit from 2kW to 5kW

Two electricity retailers have also provided letters which state they will provide cash or rollover credits for energy produced, rather than these credits “expiring” as was initially proposed.

The additional amendment put by the Greens for the tariff to be paid on the gross output (rather than the net output) was not accepted.

The tariff does not apply to large scale solar or wind either, so there is potential to further improve this legislation in the future.

On balance, this is a significant improvement over the legislation initially proposed.

14 June 2009

Government Rebate ends

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 11:32 pm

I’m sure you have all heard the news that the $8,000 Solar Homes and Communities Plan rebate is now closed. 

Although not as generous, the solar credits programme which will replace the rebate allows customers previously excluded to participate i.e.:

– families with taxable income >$100k
– businesses
– wind energy

If you know of anyone who missed out on the rebate, Rezeko has a special offer for the first 1,000 customers of their new EKO Energy brand: $2,999.  This is a deal to consider given the rebate has dropped from $8,000 to $4 – $4,500 depending on where you live.  The system is a quality system with monocrystalline solar panels and a Sunnyboy 1100 inverter.

9 June 2009

Climate Change Rally

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 11:24 pm

1.00 pm Saturday 13 June at the State Library of Victoria
Join the National Climate Emergency Rally for a safe climate future.

7 May 2009

Write a letter today – Victorian feed in tariff

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 8:42 pm

This is a very important announcement for solar power supporters in Victoria.

While we’ve been lobbying for a national gross feed in tariff via the petition at FeedInTariff.com.au, it will still be some time before that happens and a more urgent issue is at hand – the Victorian feed in tariff will be written into law soon.

In case you weren’t aware, the feed in tariff draft legislation outlines a program riddled with flaws, with little resemblance to any successful program run elsewhere.

No cash – just a time limited credit!

Under the Electricity Industry Amendment (Premium Solar Feed-in Tariff) Bill 2009, grid connect solar power system owners in Victoria will only receive 60c per kWh for surplus electricity generated and this will be applied as a time-limited credit, not a cash payment as is the case in other states. Any credit not used within 12 months of it being accrued will be wiped out.

The Victorian government is debating the crucial legislation right now. Your elected representatives need to know that the proposed legislation will not help stimulate the uptake of solar power or reduce energy consumption.

What can I do?
Contact your local MP, write to a newspaper or call talk-back radio!

Let your elected Member know you demand a fair feed in tariff that pays more in line with other states and territories such as the A.C.T. 

Contact details of the MP for your electorate can be viewed here.

Write to    donna.petrovich@parliament.vic.gov.au

and also send it to   gavin.jennings@parliament.vic.gov.au

and   john.lenders@parliament.vic.gov.au

The following is a basic phone script you can use, or adapt for use in an email or letter:

“My name is [your name] from [your electorate]. I am [calling/writing] to urge support for a solar feed in tariff that works.
The purpose of a feed-in tariff is to:

– stimulate uptake of solar power

– reward personal investment in Australia’s energy future

– encourage energy efficiency

As it stands, the draft legislation will achieve exactly the opposite of what it should.

This is because:

– The tariff is a nett, not gross

– Solar credits are not payable as cash and are extinguished after a year

– The tariff is not available to business and community organisations

– The tariff is limited to 3.2kW systems, significantly below the regulatory standard of 10kW

Such a scheme will not reward personal investment in Australia’s energy future, nor encourage the uptake of solar power and will actively encourage high energy consumption, to use up credits before they are extinguished.

As a constituent, it is very important to me that the elected representative for my area supports a proper feed in tariff. Thank you.”

Time is of the essence – please contact your local member or media outlet today and be sure to let other solar power supporters you know to do the same!

Thank you again for your continued support and interest in this important area of policy. We are greatly encouraged that so many Australians have lent their voices to this call for a better, more liveable world.  

The Feed In Tariff Team

Feed In Tariff Petition Initiative
An Energy Matters Community Initiative

13 April 2009

Riddells Creek 2 Solar Neighbourhood CLOSED

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 10:29 pm

The Riddells Creek 2 Solar Neighbourhood is now closed.  We are unable to take any more people due to the timeframe of getting inspections, approvals and installations done.  The government rebate of $8000 closes in July this year and will be replaced by a solar credit scheme, which will be less of an incentive, but will not be means tested.  Anyone who did not take up  the solar neighbourhood offer because their combined household income is more than $100,00 a year, will be able to take advantage of the new scheme. 

Currently the last few installations of Riddells Creek 1 Solar Neighbourhood are being finished.  The inspections for the second neighbourhood are being finalised, and participants are encouraged to make haste in dealing with their paperwork.

Victorian Government Feed- in Tariff

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 9:33 pm

An article in the Age recently stated that: the Victorian Governments has undermined its own solar power policy, releasing expert advice that finds its proposed laws will do little to encourage households to install rooftop panels. The analysis by consultants McLennan Magasanik Associates found the Government’s plan to pay a premium subsidy for home-generated electricity fed into the power grid would fail as an incentive, barely cutting greenhouse emissions over the next 15 years.

By contrast the report went on to say that with a generous gross feed-in tariff up to 60,000 homes would install solar panels and that this would only cost the average consumer $8 per year, rather than the $100 quoted by Peter Batchelor. See ways to improve the legislation on:


Let your local Member of Parliament know what you think.  Write to  joanne.duncan@parliament.vic.gov.au


2 April 2009

Galenia pubescens – Carpetweed

Filed under: Sustainability — Reilly @ 2:58 pm

An open-contribution map has been set-up for monitoring the spread of carpetweed in Riddells Creek and aiding weed-control efforts.

Please visit:
Carpet Weed Sightings Map

31 March 2009

Form letter to your MP on the CPRS March 2009

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 10:04 pm

This is a draft of a letter could send to your local MP concerning the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation. You could also send it to Federal Ministers and the PM by changing the first paragraph. The third paragraph should omitted if the member is Liberal or National.

Dear <MP name>

I am writing to as one of your local constituents so you can address my concerns regarding the Australian government’s lack of action on climate change.

During the 2007 Federal election, Kevin Rudd committed to taking action to address climate change, stating that “Australia now stands ready to assume its responsibility … Climate change is the defining challenge of our generation.”

I was very pleased that a Rudd Labor government was committing to taking action on climate change after over 10 years of denial and obfuscation on climate change by the previous Howard government.

However, the Rudd Government’s draft Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) tabled on 10 March 2009, an emissions trading scheme promoted as Australia’s central policy on climate change, is manifestly inadequate for reducing Australia’s carbon emissions.

Its fundamental flaws are:

  • The unconditional greenhouse target of 5% emission reductions by 2020 is far lower than the 25% to 40% target range flagged at the United Nations Bali Convention on climate change in 2008.
  • It encourages the growth of highly polluting Energy Intensive Trade Exposed (EITE) industries’ (such as aluminium smelters) by allocating them 25% of permits free of charge, increasing to 45% by 2020. This is in direct conflict with the recommendations in the final Garnaut report.
  • Free permits are given to coal power over the first 5 years. This provides windfall profits to polluters and encourages dirty coal power to continue in the short term.
  • Permits are property rights instead of temporary licences. This means that polluters who get them will be paid compensation in the future if more stringent emission reductions are introduced.
  • There is no limit on overseas offsets, so Australia’s emissions could increase and emission permits bought from overseas to “offset” them.
  • The cap on the CO2 price of around $40/tonne for the first 5 years excludes renewable energy in the absence of other incentives.
  • ‘The high “cap” is also a “floor””’ so emission reductions by households will be simply on sold by power stations to other polluters, resulting in no actual emission reductions.

The combined effect of these flaws is that Australia’s actual carbon emissions will rise by 2020 rather than fall. The CPRS legislation fails to address climate change for these reasons so I do not support it.

Scientists at the recent International Scientific Congress on Climate Change in Copenhagen on 10-12 March 2009, scientists stated that:

“Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario trajectories (or even worse) are being realised. For many key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond the patterns of natural variability within which our society and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise, ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.”

Source: http://climatecongress.ku.dk/newsroom/congress_key_messages/

In Australia, we are experiencing extreme weather events such as devastating floods in Queensland and the hottest day on record in Victoria on 7 February 2009, which contributed to the severity of the disastrous bushfires on the same day. We are also experiencing dramatic reductions in rainfall across southern Australia. The Murray Darling river system is in jeopardy and water supplies for major cities such as Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney are at risk.

The Copenhagen Scientific Congress also found that:

“Recent observations show that dangerous climate change will cause serious social disruption, particularly with societies that are highly vulnerable to even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and communities particularly at risk. Temperature rises above 2C will be very difficult for contemporary societies to cope with.

  • Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid “dangerous climate change” regardless of how it is defined.
  • Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation actions increases significantly the long-term social and economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.
  • There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many tools and approaches, (economic, technological, behavioural, management) to deal effectively with the climate change challenge.
  • These tools must be vigorously and widely implemented to achieve the societal transformation required to decarbonise economies.
  • A wide range of benefits will flow from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy now, including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the health and economic costs of climate change, and the restoration of ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem services.”

To achieve the societal transformation required to meet the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of significant constraints and seize critical opportunities.”

I strongly urge the Australian government to build on a growing public desire for governments to act on climate change; remove implicit and explicit subsidies; reduce the influence of vested interests that increase emissions and reduce resilience; enable the shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to innovative leadership in government, the private sector and civil society; and engage society in the transition to norms and practices that foster genuine sustainability.

Specifically, I urge the government to recognise we face a climate emergency and to adopt policies as part of an emergency program to:

  • Transition to 100% renewable energy by 2020, creating new industries and thousands of jobs in doing so.
  • Achieve immediate reductions in greenhouse gas emissions every year forthwith.
  • Adopt a target of 300ppm atmospheric C02 for a safe climate future.
  • Adopt targets of 80% reduction on 1990 levels by 2020 and zero carbon emissions by 2030.
  • Provide federal funding for increased public transport infrastructure and services and cycling infrastructure in urban and rural areas.
  • Ensure all funding programs for the Australian car industry are contingent on building low emissions electric drive train vehicles only.
  • Place a moratorium on building any new coal-fired power stations
  • Introduce a national gross metered uncapped feed in tariff in 2009
  • Cease logging of Australian native forests to protect the carbon they store and effect an immediate transition to available plantation wood supplies.
  • Ensure that tangible emission reductions achieved by households, businesses, and local and state governments are not reallocated to other polluters.

Please note that I will be carefully assessing the Rudd Labor government’s credentials on taking real action on climate change at the next election as a major factor in deciding who I vote for.

Yours faithfully,



8 February 2009

Sign the Solar Feed in Tariff Petition

Filed under: Sustainability — Lyn H. @ 10:51 pm

Sign the petition and help Rudd choose a solar future!

Sign the petition below, it only takes a few seconds to do! EnergyMatters will

deliver the results and the accompanying letter below to the relevant

Government ministers, representatives and committees – your collective

voice will be heard! Once you’re done, please let others know about

this petition – thanks!



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