"TOTALLY Renewable Phillip Island" has taken its next steps with a preliminary plan coming out of planning workshops at the Phillip Island Community and Learning Centre in Cowes last Friday and Saturday.
Around 45 people attended the Friday morning brainstorming workshop including members of the multiple volunteer organisations that began the initiative, senior representatives from Phillip Island Nature Parks and Westernport Water, Phillip Island businesses and other organisations including the National Vietnam Veterans Museum, the Alternative Technology Association and Grow Lightly.
Bass Coast Shire Council also made a substantial contribution. Mayor Pamela Rothfield opened the Friday forum with a strong statement of support for community renewable energy initiatives across the Shire and a $5000 grant to the Energy Innovation Co-operative towards five energy efficiency/solar feasibility assessments on community buildings or local business premises. Cr Michael Whelan took part in the three full planning sessions, providing further input and representation for Bass Coast Shire Council.
Energy Innovation Co-op Board member Graeme Watson announced a $5000 grant from the Electrical Trade Union that funded the planning workshops, including a facilitator and follow-up report, and gave an overview of the ETU’s long-time support for renewable energy, industry training and community initiatives.
Community Power Agency facilitator Nicky Ison led the workshops through the ‘World Café’ process to draw out a wide range of ideas. There was plenty of energy and enthusiasm as small groups exchanged information about what is already being done and raised new possibilities including electric shuttle buses, better waste management, a solar farm, “virtual” solar networks and re-connecting the Newhaven tidal generator. Events proposed included electric vehicle “Formula Zero” races at the racetrack and a ‘clean-local’ food festival.
On Friday afternoon, a group of 16 people stayed on to start formulating a strategic plan with priorities and actions and form working groups. On Saturday morning a governance workshop fleshed out how the various groups will work together to achieve their shared mission. A follow-up report with details of the ideas to be worked on and an action-focussed framework to support them will be available within two weeks.
In the wrap-up of Friday morning’s public workshop, Phil Dressing from the National Vietnam Veterans Museum said, “If we don’t know where we’re going, chances are we’ll end up somewhere else” supporting the notion of a collaborative plan focussed on the overall emission reduction target.
Anne Davie expressed an even broader notion of this “wonderful way to unite us” in a world which she described as becoming more fragmented and conflicted.
“This process provides an amazing opportunity for Phillip Islanders to come together” she said, thanking Moragh Mackay for her leadership.
Those not already on the contact list and wish to receive the report are invited to leave their details at the PICAL office or with the Energy Innovation Co-op, ph. 5657 3108