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Energy training option for Fed Uni Wimmera campus

Stuart Benjamin

Stuart Benjamin

By DEAN LAWSON
Moves to establish western Victoria as the state’s renewable-energy heartland might spill into training and education opportunities and benefits for the Wimmera.
Grampians New Energy Taskforce chairman Stuart Benjamin said it would make sense for the Wimmera to be heavily involved in an Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre earmarked for Ballarat.
Mr Benjamin said the Wimmera and southern Mallee, as hot-spot target areas for national and international renewable-energy wind and solar producers, represented an integral part of Victoria’s evolving energy-supply equation.
“The goal is to try to spread training involved in renewable-energy production right across the ‘Grampians’,” he said.
“It seems logical, for example, and based on a variety of circumstances, that wind-energy training be based in Ballarat and the solar part of this development be in Horsham.”
Mr Benjamin made his comments in response to $500,000 in State Government funding for the taskforce to ‘develop a roadmap to transition the region to a low-carbon economy by 2050’.
The government will also provide $50,000 to Ballarat’s Federation University, which has a Wimmera campus in Horsham, to develop a business case for the Ballarat training centre.
The proposed training centre would produce an industry-recognised skilled workforce to construct, install and maintain renewable energy infrastructure.
Mr Benjamin said one of the ideas behind the proposed training centre was to spread training opportunities across a Grampians development region, which stretched from the edge of Melbourne to the South Australian border and into the Mallee.
“What we’ve found in our research is that the Wimmera has incredible resources of renewable energy,” he said.
“At last, the region’s wide-open spaces and distances that have proved problematic in the past are providing the region with an industry advantage. We now need to bring it all together.”
Grampians New Energy Taskforce, GNeT, is made up of local government representatives, regional partnership members and industry and community groups.
It will investigate new economic and investment opportunities as part of the roadmap development.
Almost $3-billion worth of wind-farm-
development projects are under construction in the Grampians development region.
Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio said the Grampians region was already a leader in renewable energy.
“This funding will help it transition to a low-carbon future,” she said.
“The proposed Asia Pacific Renewable Energy Training Centre has the potential to boost local jobs in the renewable-energy sector – that’s why we’re supporting it with this funding.”
‘Road map’
Mr Benjamin said the key element of establishing a renewable-energy ‘road map’ was to consider all aspects of an economy and what was needed to remove carbon use from the region by 2050.
“It’s looking at everything that makes up a diverse economy and what opportunities exist,” he said.
“It’s also about creating long-term jobs. There’s a significant benefit in construction and maintenance of power stations, but how can we expand on this? Perhaps using the Bulgana Green Power Hub in Northern Grampians Shire, as an example.
“We now have the funding to do the hard work and a direct line to a minister who is interested in what’s happening across the Grampians.”
A lack of infrastructure needed to carry high levels of electricity generated from renewable-energy power plants across the region remains a major industry stumbling block.
Wimmera Development Association has been lobbying state and federal governments for major investment to address the issue.
Mr Benjamin, also Regional Development Australia’s Grampians chairman, said earlier this year that a third electrical interconnector between Victoria and South Australia was also essential to unlocking renewable-energy production in Victoria.

The entire July 18, 2018 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!

Short URL: http://www.theweeklyadvertiser.com.au/?p=63672

Posted on Jul 18 2018

Posted by on Jul 18 2018. Filed under Education, Environment, FEATURED, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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