The Point Henry aluminium smelter was located near Geelong and operated for many decades prior to its closure in 2014.
Since then, both Alcoa (who operated the smelter) and the state government have been considering what to do with the site. It is a sprawling and heavily contaminated industrial site, situated on land of cultural significance, plus conservation areas and other industries.
Friends of the Earth believes that the old smelter site would make an ideal location for a renewable energy park. The smelter used a lot of electricity, which was transmitted by a high voltage connection to the grid, which could be utilised if power was generated on site. A wind and solar energy park could be combined with a range of other uses including eco tourism.
In 2016, FoE started to meet with interested locals and organisations to discuss whether a renewable energy park could be a viable possibility for the site.
The Renew Point Henry Consortium (RPHC) was born: with a vision for wind and solar generated electricity with storage technologies on Point Henry, as a key component of the Moolap Coastal Strategic Framework Plan, which is currently being finalised by the state government.
Our vision is to help transition Geelong into a cutting edge renewable energy hub for Australia through a unique and collaborative business model: an innovative, community initiated renewable energy and education park that generates environmental and cultural tourism for sustainable investment and local job creation.
A renewable energy park on an iconic site near Geelong would send a positive message that the city embraces new technologies and initiatives that benefit the community and environment.
WHO WE ARE:
Led by Friends of the Earth, the Consortium combines a number of businesses, and is building a strong network of local, regional and state wide expertise and capacity as well as community leadership.
We are supported in our vision of a renewable energy park by Traditional Custodians and other local Aboriginal leaders, local manufacturers who use large quantities of electricity, business groups, a number of industries located in the Point Henry area, Geelong Trades Hall Council, and a number of universities and TAFE.
Our unique vision aims to strengthen the Geelong region: building skills, creating jobs and generating renewable energy through use of the viable local solar and wind levels, connected to all of community.
Our next steps include carrying out feasibility study activities to provide electricity locally to both industry and those often left out of the emerging renewable energy market such as small businesses and lower income households.
We are pleased that following a recent meeting with DELWP, they are supporting our project through a business development approach to -
1. Provide electricity in Geelong
2. Stabilise the electricity grid
We are currently working with our supporters to make a case to the Planning Minister, Richard Wynne, for the government to amend the VC82 Planning law in relation to wind turbines at this location.
The current VC82 planning regulations include a number of 5km ‘no go’ zones, which impacts on our proposed project: "Bellarine Peninsula, being all land in the Queenscliffe Planning Scheme, and that area in the Greater Geelong Planning Scheme east of the Surf Coast Highway and south of the Princes Highway." Plus "designated regional population growth corridors, being land within five kilometres of major regional cities and regional centres specified in the Regional Victoria Settlement Framework Plan in the State Planning Policy Framework (Ararat, Bairnsdale, Ballarat, Benalla, Bendigo, Colac, Echuca, Geelong....).."
For further information please contact Cam Walker via firstname.lastname@example.org