The Victorian town of Newstead is now a step closer to becoming the first to be powered by 100 per cent locally generated renewable energy, after signing a memorandum of understanding with Powercor Australia.

Victorian Minister for Energy and Resources, Lily D’Ambrosio, visited Newstead to witness the signing between Powercor Australia and the community group driving the project, Newstead 2021.

Under the memorandum of understanding, Powercor will support the Newstead 2021 group by providing industry know-how such as understanding the town’s energy load profile, assessing the impact of local generation on grid stability and reliability, financial modelling, and other technical advice.

The memorandum of understanding comes one year after the Victorian Government announced a $200,000 grant to kick-start the Newstead eco-power project, which will transition the town to 100 per cent renewable energy via a community-scale grid.

The model will incorporate community ownership to help keep energy costs down and promote social equity.

Ms D’Ambrosio, said, “Through our $200,000 grant, we are empowering the Newstead community to be the first town in Victoria to fully harness the benefits of locally generated and stored renewable energy.”

The $200,000 Newstead grant is part of the Victorian Government’s work to encourage the development and storage of renewable energy.

Other initiatives include the $20million New Energy Jobs Fund which promotes investment and jobs in new energy technologies, as well as the Renewable Energy Roadmap which supports the transition towards renewable energy power generation and storage.

The Victorian Government also released a Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorian Communities, which helps local community groups develop renewable energy projects.

Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, said this project will see Newstead leading the way nationally on renewable energy.

“This is an exciting next step for the Newstead community and I congratulate the local residents who are driving this project.” 

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