Democracy in action

Last night, I was inspired to write a few letters to my local councillor about the lack of action regarding climate change in our shire, and to our state politicians about renewable energy feed-in tariffs.

Here is the content of the local letter, and it was addressed from all 6 members of our household;

Dear Councillor Rowan,

As our local ward representative, we feel the need to write to you about a very important issue. As we have seen with the recent Federal Election, climate change is an issue many Australians are deeply concerned about and want strong leadership on.

We care about climate change because Australia is a great place to live and we don’t want to ruin it. What concerns me most about this issue is that we only have a short window of time to act.

To reduce our greenhouse pollution, we have personally committed to:

- Switched my household power supply to 100% accredited GreenPower

- Installed a 2.8 kWh solar photovoltaic system

- Installed two water efficient shower heads

- Installed a 2300 litre rainwater tank

- Set my washing machine to wash my clothes in cold water and reuse the greywater.

- Turn off computers and screens overnight at work and home

- Eat two less serves of meat a week

- Checked and installed adequate roof insulation

- Avoided all domestic air flights this year

- Drive 20 kilometres less each week and ride a bicycle

- Reduced my household electricity and gas usage by 75%

- Installed a solar hot water heater

- Grow 50% of my own fruit and vegetables

We want Australia to be a country where we are all doing our bit to look after the environment. To see what we have achieved to date look at http://greeningofgavin.blogspot.com.

Ordinary Australians are doing what we can, but we also need your leadership. We are really pleased that Australia has ratified the Kyoto Protocol and is committed to working towards a new global agreement to tackle climate change. We would like you, as our elected council representative, to step up to the challenge of reducing Melton Shire’s greenhouse pollution. Will you commit to ensuring our pollution levels turn the corner and start to decrease within three years?

We need to do everything in our power to make sure that global warming does not exceed 2°C, otherwise we will see more droughts and bushfires in Victoria. Will you introduce a program of action and awareness regarding climate change in our shire, which all shire residents can be a part of?

Smarter use of energy is the quickest way for Australia to immediately reduce its emissions and will also bring significant economic and productivity benefits. Will you commit to world’s best practice in energy efficiency for the shire’s buildings, cars and appliances and set efficiency target this year? Will you initiate an energy efficiency program that all shire residents can be a part of?

We ask that you raise these important questions with your fellow councillors and let us know the Melton Shire Council’s position on them.

Please acknowledge receipt of our letter. We look forward to receiving a prompt response to our questions.

Sincerely,

Gavin ,

And here is the content of the letter to my local state member regarding feed-in tariffs;

RE: Feed-in Tariffs for renewable energy generation

Dear Mr Nardella,

I welcome the commitment of the Victorian state government to introduce a fair price for solar electricity generated on rooftops and fed into the electricity grid. I believe that a move toward renewable energy is an essential means of addressing climate change, and solar photovoltaic (PV) micro-generation has an important role to play in boosting Victoria’s renewable energy share.

By offering a premium price for electricity generated on rooftops and fed directly into the grid, feed-in tariffs recognise the wealth of benefits which arise from the adoption of this technology. These include: environmental benefits from reduced emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants; network benefits from reduced transmission losses and generation closer to the source of consumption; economic benefits through lowering of peak wholesale electricity prices; and social benefits via diversified electricity generation and job creation.

However, for a feed-in tariff to create the level of take-up required to achieve these benefits, it is essential that it is paid at an adequate rate, for a long enough time, and on the total production of the solar system. I call on the government to mandate a feed-in tariff at:

· 60 cents per kWh;

· for at least 15 years; and

· paid on the entire output of a system via gross production metering

A feed-in tariff set at this level will provide the necessary incentive for individuals to invest their personal finances into solar PV systems, safe in the knowledge that the price paid for electricity generated will adequately pay back this investment over the next 15 years.

Feed-in tariffs have been remarkably successful in over 40 countries internationally, and an adequate feed-in tariff in Victoria has the potential to build an industry in sustainable solutions to climate change, provide an alternative to polluting brown coal, and position the state as a leader in renewable energy in Australia.

Climate change is one of the greatest threats facing Victoria. I trust that you, as my elected representative and Ministers, take this issue seriously and ensure that this policy measure delivers a major expansion of renewable energy leading to real reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.

Yours sincerely,

Gavin

Hopefully, I should get a reply. As I mentioned in a previous post, if I don’t write these letters, who will?

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Comments

  1. Anonymous says

    get stuck into them gav .theve got to pay a decent return or people wont instal solar systems.

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