Nov 25, 2016: Repower Excitement and Episode 6

In last week’s Newsletter I mentioned that Repower‘s fourth investment round was due to open on Monday this week. Well… not only did it open on Monday at 3pm but it was completely filled by Wednesday at 9am. It only took 42 hours to raise the required $139,600 in local, ethical, community investments to fund the three solar power systems included in this round. This is a fantastic result for Repower and goes to show that there is plenty of excitement around community investments in renewable energy.

Repower‘s Solar Mentors are already working on signing up the next group of businesses for Repower 5 so, if you missed out on this week’s investment opportunity, don’t worry… the next one won’t be far away. In fact the best thing to do (if you haven’t already) is to go to, click on ‘Join’, and become a member. That way you’ll receive updates from Repower and notification when the next investment round becomes available. Anyone can join for a $20 donation and you have to be a member to invest.

Meanwhile The Energy Retrofit Continues

In between various renewable energy projects, George and I are continuing to plug away at the energy retrofit of the old fibro cottage next to the Greeny Flat. As you’ll see in the video above, this week we put a new roof on the front porch and we’re gradually working our way around the house installing the metal flashings and cladding on the exterior walls.

Cronulla Leading the Way With Bio-gas

I was happy to learn via this Ecogeneration article that there is work being done in Australia to use methane digesters to generate Bio-gas on a commercial scale. Many years ago I worked on a Permaculture project in Hawaii and one of my responsibilities was to tend to their experimental methane digester. It was a very rudimentary system of 44 gallon drums filled with sugar cane waste and cow’s intestines but it produced a wonderfully clean-burning bio-gas. Periodically a researcher from the University of Hawaii would show up and take samples of the gas for testing and found that it was a potent mix of methane, hydrogen and other stuff. All I know is that I used to use the gas to cook my dinner and it was so clean that I could never tell when the burner was lit until I burned myself.

It has always seemed crazy to me that we treat our waste water in open ponds and don’t capture the methane gas that is produces. Not only is methane a very useful fuel, it is also a very potent greenhouse gas (something like nine times worse than CO2) so it’s much better to capture and use it than to let it escape into the atmosphere.

Cronulla's methane digester plant.

Cronulla’s methane digester plant.

I’m glad to know there is at least one project in Australia where they’re capturing methane gas from a sewage treatment plant and using it to run a generator to power the plant. I wish our local treatment plants would employ the same technology. I was a bit surprised to learn that Cronulla is leading the way with this technology. It’s not a place that’s known for being at the forefront of the clean energy revolution. I find it mildly ironic that  the NSW Environment Minister, Mark Speakman, happens to be the Member for Cronulla but at least he’s walking the talk in his own electorate. Let’s hope he’s equally active in persuading other councils to adopt the same sort of technology.

Thanks for reading. Andy

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