Energy growing for forum – 25 speakers confirmed

This year’s North Coast Energy Forum is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever. According to convenor Mark Byrne, “There are now twenty five speakers confirmed for an action-packed day on 31 May. They include people from the renewable energy industry, local, state and federal politicians, and business and community leaders.”

“As well as a keynote talk from electricity industry guru Chris Dunstan and a plenary session we will have a panel of politicians responding to the priorities for action determined by everyone attending on the day.”

“We will also have six concurrent sessions in two blocks, covering bioenergy; the built environment; options for selling power; using, abusing and defusing the grid; communities generating energy; and opportunities for funding and networking.”

“We are especially impressed by the number of leaders in their fields who are travelling long distances to speak to and learn from us.”

“At this stage, registrations are also way up on previous years.”

Why the increased interest? “It probably reflects both a growing urgency around the need to respond to the role of energy emissions in contributing to climate change, and increased awareness of the potential for the North Coast to grow its own energy — especially bioenergy. Moving to a sustainable energy system will help to create local jobs while helping the region to mitigate and adapt to climate change.”

Solar Australian bike ride spreads sustainable message

[frame src=”” width=”300″ height=”IMAGE_HEIGHT” lightbox=”on” title=”Victorian teenager Sam Mitchell passes through Lismore, NSW, with his solar bike. (Margaret Burin – ABC Local)” align=”left” ]

It may look like a cross between a vintage plane and a tricycle, but Sam Mitchell hopes these wheels will take him right around the country. The Victorian teenager is travelling through the New South Wales north coast as part of an epic journey on his solar-powered bike.

On board a solar-powered bike that he built himself, Sam Mitchell from Orbost in Victoria, hopes to spread a message about renewable energy and sustainable travel.

The three-wheeled bike’s battery is powered by solar panels on its roof.
He’s making his way up to Cape York, from which he plans to head west.
“I’m trying to do the four compass points of the mainland,” he says.

Sam has estimated the journey will be about 25,000km, and so far he’s averaged about 1,000km each week.

Read the rest … by Margaret Burin – ABC North Coast

Support leads to $100k of Solar Systems

[frame src=”” width=”200″ height=”IMAGE_HEIGHT” lightbox=”on” title=”Pictured from left-right some members of the organising committee: Kirsty Howton (SCU) Mark Byrne (EDO) Robyn Fitzroy (RDA) Kim Graham (Community Rep) & Graeme Williams (Byron Shire Council).
Photo (c) RDA-Northern Rivers

” align=”left” ]A grassroots initiative founded in 2010 to help the North Coast to “grow its own” sustainable energy has been influential in instigating and supporting regional initiatives like a “green skills” training report, bioenergy research and the creation of a community local group in Byron Bay which has financed over $100,000 worth of solar systems on commercial buildings.

“This is the tip of the iceberg,” said the North Coast Energy Forum convener Mark Byrne. “We have abundant natural and human resources to create a sustainable energy system, which will strengthen employment and the local economy, help tackle climate change and empower our community.”

“The North Coast region in known to have one of the highest uptakes of rooftop solar systems and also has enormous bioenergy potential utilising waste products from primary industries. We can combine both of these with our mild climate and resourceful population to build housing that helps reduce energy inputs and even be ‘carbon positive’ over their lifecycle.” said Mark.

“Part of the role of the forum is also to create a space where we can relate our local knowledge and experience to what is happening in the broader energy market. We can hear about how viable it is to go off-grid, or what progress is being made to wean ourselves off the centralised, fossil-fueled grid. We also want to broaden awareness of other energy solutions like energy efficiency, which are often the cheapest way to save energy and reduce emissions.”

The North Coast Energy Forum will be held from 9-5 on Friday, 31 May in Lismore. Go to www.faceboook/northcoastenergyforum for more details, and to register. Earlybird prices to 30 April only. For forum enquiries please call Robyn on 0413 698 104. For media and sponsorship enquiries, please call Mark Byrne on 0403070442. This year’s sponsors and partners to date are Lismore City Council, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Total Environment Centre, Starfish Enterprises, Sustain Northern Rivers and Juno Energy.