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Coastal Victorian town releases plans for “smart energy precinct” to help combat industry power costs

A community effort to develop a multi-million dollar smart energy precinct in the Victorian coastal town of Port Fairy is underway, as a way to slash energy costs.

The partnership between local businesses Bamstone, Southern Ocean Mariculture, Sun Pharma, not-for-profit Moyne Health Services and utility Wannon Water – with support from Deakin University and South West Community Energy – was launched last month.

The group said it was looking into potential sites and technology options as the first step, as well as for funding for the project.

Wind, solar, biogas, geothermal and wave energy generation were among the options being considered, along with smart energy contracts, microgrids and energy storage options.

The ultimate aim is reduce power costs by up to 50 per cent for local businesses and industries, ensuring that they remain competitive, and support jobs in the region.

Bamstone managing director, and spokesperson for the Port Fairy Smart Energy Precinct, said the multi-million dollar initiative was exciting and important for the region.

“It’s a powerful example of how local leadership can demonstrate solutions for regional development whilst tackling climate change,” Steel said in comments at the precinct’s launch.

“On a per-capita basis, Port Fairy is a high-energy user in comparison with other towns its size in Victoria. This is driven by the large manufacturing sector that is a significant local employer for the region.

“The project will identify how we can reduce Port Fairy’s greenhouse gas emissions and costs to the community.”