Energy Innovation Co op

Item

Title

Energy Innovation Co op

Website Frontpage

Description

The Energy Innovation Co-operative currently operates mostly across South Gippsland and Bass Coast Shires, and surrounds. We have a funded community energy project " Old Energy-New Energy" at the State Coal Mine Wonthaggi and our Southern CORE Fund.

The Co-operative received Registered Environmental Organisation status in November 2017 and can now offer tax deductions for donations towards our Southern CORE fund which provides no interest loans to community groups to install solar PV or energy efficiency measures. This allows groups to better use their hard won cash to benefit their communities instead of paying high power bills ! Investment-model community energy projects will be available in 2018.

Type of group

Cooperative

Primary environmental focus

Renewable Energy

Geographic sphere or activity

State

Primary location

Victoria

Known address

Inverloch, Victoria 3996

Website link/s

Founding Year

2008

History of group

In 2008, after researching sustainability-focussed co-operatives in the UK and Europe, Moragh McKay from Bass initiated community discussions around establishing a Co-operative in the Bass Coast/ South Gippsland Region. She and others felt such an organisation could assist local people to take positive action to address climate change and promote renewable energy. The Energy Innovation Co-operative Ltd was formally registered as trading Co-operative in August 2009, with Susan Davies as founding Chair, and a board of nine including Moragh Mackay (Deputy Chair) and Bruce Hydon (Treasurer).
By July 2011 the EICo-op was managing projects with $310,000 worth of grants and almost 200 members.At end July 2012, we completed our contract with Sustainability Victoria for the Southern Solar Hub, which successfully facilitated over 650kW of solar PV, into Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Cardinia and beyond.
In 2013, the Co-op changed its rules via a special resolution of members, to make it a non-trading Co-op, clarifying its not-for-profit status for state and federal government requirements.
In 2015 we donated funds towards a solar battery system for Grow Lightly's Food Hub in Korumburra and KooWeeRup Sustainability Centre.
In 2016 we launched the Southern CORE (Community Owned Renewable Energy) Fund, a revolving fund where donor funds are used to assist community groups to install solar on community buildings. Our application for Registered Environmental Organisation (DGR) status, and for registration as a charity, was granted in November 2017. The EICo-op Public Fund can now offer tax deductibility to donations. The first no-interest loan was provided to Foster community Pool Association in November 2017, thanks to a generous donation from Electrical Trades Union of Vic. Funds have been raised and further no-interest loans were approved for Grantville Hall, Bass Coast Adult Education Centre in Wonthaggi, Artist Resource Collective (ARC) Yinnar in Latrobe Valley. A grant was obtained by the Co-op for Grantville Hall instead of a loan, and the solar panel installation is just about completed (August 2019) More applications are being processed.
In 2017 Stage 1 & 2 of our Old Energy- New Energy Project at the State Coal Mine Wonthaggi gained funding from the Vic Government's New Energy Jobs Fund. The project will provide a model for installing renewables in State & National Parks. The installation of 92 kW solar PV and 40 kWh batteries adjacent to the Mine, is owned by the Co-op, with income from the sale of green power to Parks Victoria being mainly allocated to the Southern CORE Fund.
In 2018 the Energy Innovation Co-op initiated a collaboration of multiple community and business groups on Phillip Island, forming the Totally Renewable Phillip Island movement. A large community meeting supported the target that Phillip Island will be net zero emissions by 2030, and there are now six working groups leading a wide range of activities. (See Totally Renewable PI facebook page). Bass Coast Shire has recently provided some additional funding to support this collaboration, plus to begin the development of similar collaborations in other Bass Coast Communities.
And the work continues. Help us. Join us. We now have around 340 shareholders, and always welcome more!

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