Energy Innovation Officer, City of Greater Bendigo
Keith has been the energy innovation officer for the City of Greater Bendigo for the last two years. Prior to that Keith completed his Masters of Energy Systems studies and was responsible for establishing the first solar bulk buy program in central Victoria in 2007. He has also served as Chair of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance and as a Director of the Central Victorian Solar Cities program.
Keith has a long history in environmental management having previously been involved in soil analysis and land use capability assessment. Keith has also strong community collaborations helping to form the Community Enterprise model in partnership with the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank. Keith is a board member of the Bendigo Sustainability Group and was a former City of Greater Bendigo Councillor.
Topic or “Chair”: How Bendigo is Benefitting as a Community Power Hub
Bendigo is well positioned to become the gateway to Victoria’s renewable energy hub with excellent regional resources for solar and wind generation. Recognising our geographic advantage, the City of Greater Bendigo has established policies and community wide goals to help support the transformation to a renewable energy electricity supply. One such goal is for Bendigo to become powered by 100% renewable energy by 2036.
Some of the innovative projects the City is investigating include:
1. Underground Pumped Hydro Storage project – the Council and State Government have partnered in a study to investigate the feasibility to use the extensive underground mining network and tunnels beneath the city to gravity feed groundwater from a higher tunnel to a lower tunnel with a turbine to generate power;
2. The View Street Micro Grid – the View Street precinct contains some of the highest profile and public use facilities in Bendigo. Collectively these consume approximately 45% of Councils electricity demand, but are presently individually connected to the grid. A feasibility study indicates significant savings to be made by combining these in a local micro gridded network. It also improves the opportunities for on-site generation and storage to be shared across facilities;
3. Solar PV Installation – Bendigo has been a leader in domestic scale solar programs and uptake and the Council has installed over 250kW solar in the last 12 months. Investigations are now underway to identify suitable sites for solar parks within the Distribution Network. Once identified, these will be developer ready sites.
Bendigo has also been recognised by the State Government as a Community Power Hub and the Council is working closely with the Bendigo Sustainability Group to develop innovative financing models for local communities to invest in renewable energy technologies.