Key Result/Vision: A Community which is self-reliant in our energy needs with a minimal ecological foot print and a model for other communities.
Northern Rivers Bio energy Survey: The NR Biohubs consortium (lead by Sustain Energy) is conducting a survey as the first step in our community consultations regarding bioenergy. Our research to date indicates that due to our local climate, bioenergy may be more viable in the Northern Rivers than other large scale renewable energy generation. We are investigating potential community bioenergy projects but before we do we want to ensure that any plans fit within rules acceptable to our community. The survey will be followed up with community information and community forums to further the conversation, with the ultimate goal of establishing community needs and boundaries around bioenergy projects. Subject to community approval, the first project we are looking to implement is a mini biogas demonstration plant at the Nimbin Valley Dairy. Take the survey here.
Community Energy Retailer An exciting Northern Rivers initiative to create Australia’s first community owned electricity retailer has been given the green light. This is an outcome of the North Coast Energy Forums. A community-owned retailer will create numerous potential opportunities for community based energy projects. Click here to see the media release.
In the meantime, we are often asked about 'green'electricity retailers. Click here to go to the Greenpeace Green Electricity Guide.
Bio-char - A lot has been happening in relation to biochar thanks to the good work of Dolph Cooke...check out the website here.
Bio-energy - A community info session was held in March 2012 at the Farmers Market in relation to Bio-gas. Thanks to Paul of Nimbin Valley Dairy. There are plans to establish a trial bio-gas model at NVD. Sustain Northern Rivers (Sustain Energy Working Group) commissioned the Institute for Sustainable Futures to undertake a NSW North Coast Bio-Energy Scoping Study. The Report is now availble to the public and you can find it on the RDA NR website here.
Clean Energy Council - the 2012 Clean Energy Australia Report is now availble on line. Click here for the latest data on Australian electricity use.
Plugged in and Switched On!
The Nimbin Community Solar Farm was officially switched on in March 2011. 
The 45kWh farm is located across 6 community-owned buildings and the anuual generation target is 61,000 kWh per year.
To date (July 2014) the farm has generated 212,858 kWh, and has offset a total of 191.6 tonnes of CO2-e emissions since the project commenced.
In the 2011-2012 financial year the farm generated 61,250.63 kWh, exceeding the target in spite of lots of rain and clouds.
We officially celebrated the completion of the Solar Farm installations on Thursday 31 March 2011 at the Nimbin Bowlo.
To see the NBN News coverage of the event click here
Click here to see the Solar Farm LIVE!!
The project was funded by DEEWR under the Jobs Fund Stream (Round One) to install at least 30kW grid feed solar systems in the village of Nimbin, hosted by a minimum of 3 not for profit organisations.
In fact we achieved 45kW of solar systems at 6 not-for-profit organisations around the village.
They are Nimbin Neighbourhood and Information Centre, Nimbin Sports, Bowling and Recreation Club, Nimbin Community School (Tomato Sauce Building), Nimbin School of Arts, Blue Knob Hall, Nimbin Headers Soccer Club, and NNIC.
This is a social enterprise project and income derived from the from the farm is applied directly to employment outcomes.
The project involves a partnership between NNIC and Rainbow Power Company, plus a partnership between the 6 not for profit Host organisations.
THE PROJECT AIMS TO:
Reduce the carbon footprint of the community and contribute to the community goal of becoming at least energy neutral . Increase renewable energy being contributed to the grid. Reduce energy consumption by increasing awareness.
Improve the sustainability of NNIC re income.
Create local employment and education opportunities.
Demonstrate a working model for community solar farming in rural communities.
Work towards a share-farm model for the local community
Focus attention on Nimbin’s considerable progress re energy neutrality.
Develop tourism opportunities which focus on sustainability achievements of Nimbin.
NNIC’s Sustainability Survey conducted over December 09 -January 10 confirmed the high numbers of Nimbin-ites on stand-alone solar power (37% of respondents) and low average daily power use (7.64kWh per day). This was confirmed by anotjer survey in late 2011. [insert details]. It has been estimated that the Community Solar Project, together with the residential uptake of grid-feed solar systems in Nimbin, as well as the many existing stand-alone systems will, in combination, on a sunny day, generate up to 75% of the residential power needs of the Nimbin township.
Team Leader of NNIC and Project Manager Natalie Meyer said, “The fact that we have been able as a community to pull this project together in spite of numerous challenges is testament to the strength of the Nimbin community. When something is important enough, we can effectively unite and work towards a common goal. I don’t believe we could have got the project to where it is in any other community.”
The project has also been made possible though the extensive pro bono legal advice generously provided by the Environmental Defenders Office (Lismore) and Holding Redlich Lawyers (Sydney).
BUILDING ON COMMUNITY STRENGTHS:
The Nimbin community has a 30 year history of designing and operating renewable power systems.
Rainbow Power Co and NNIC were established by the same individual (Peter Pedals) over 30 years ago.
Nimbin as a community has been engaged in sustainability issues since the 1970s.
There is an openness and enthusiasm for innovation in the community, within NNIC and RPC.
There is a high level of ownership of land and buildings in the township by not for profit organisations – inc NNIC located on the old public school site which was bought by the community and is now owned and operated by Nimbin Community Centre Inc.