Page 4074 - Week 13 - Tuesday, 17 November 2015

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Renewable Energy Day

DR BOURKE (Ginninderra) (5.50): On Friday, 30 October I attended the fascinating Renewable Energy Day at the sustainability hub of CIT Bruce campus in my electorate. The day was sponsored by the CIT; Windlab, one of the winners of the ACT’s wind auction; and the SERREE industry cluster. The acronym SERREE stands for the South East Region of Renewable Energy Excellence.

The SERREE industry cluster is a network of over 500 members, including renewable energy businesses, researchers, interested community members, educators and governments, collaborating on renewable energy in our region. It is an initiative of industry partners and Regional Development Australia’s ACT and New South Wales branches.

The ACT government’s commitment to renewable energy is well known. Perhaps in the ACT the importance of the renewable energy industries in our regional economy is less appreciated. With growing numbers of wind farms and commercial and private solar installations in our region, it makes perfect sense.

The SERREE industry cluster is bringing together a diverse range of stakeholders and initiatives through forums and roundtables to discuss the way forward for the industry and our region. The range of exhibitors brought together at the open day was extraordinary, including inventors and start ups; solar installers and designers; the big energy companies; wind farm operators like Windlab and Zhenfar who took part in the wind auctions; companies such SolarHub, Solastor and SolarShare; the ANU Energy Change Institute; and government agencies such as our own Office of the Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment, the New South Wales Office of Environment and Heritage and NICTA.

Appropriately, one of the stars of the day was the CIT sustainability hub itself with a range of operating renewable energy systems incorporated into the building for training purposes. The day included the launch of CIT Bruce’s renewable energy skills centre of excellence. It will provide skills, training and qualifications to meet the needs of the renewable energy industry. Training to operate and maintain wind energy technologies begins in semester 1 next year. The director of CIT technology and design, William Nauenburg, says the centre will provide new and existing learners with the skills and qualifications they need to operate and maintain wind energy technologies for an exciting career in an increasingly significant field.

A collaboration with energy industry companies, including Neoen and the Hornsdale Wind Farm, will give students access to hands-on experience as they study and graduate with industry-relevant qualifications. CIT and Neoen have signed a 25-year funding agreement to support training at the renewable energy skills centre of excellence. CIT also announced that it is planning to equip the centre for training and qualifications in areas of renewable technology such as solar, microgrid and battery technologies.

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