Alan Pears presentation to BBSN 2017 AGM- Australia’s Energy Mess. What can we do?

Click on this link to see Alan’s power point presentation which ranged from energy pricing issues to reducing energy use at home. There are links to very useful websites at the end of the presentation too.  Baw Baw talk Aug 2017

Alan Pears Cropped



Electric vehicle expo report

Les Grosberg discusses the Tesla S with Peter Stansfield of Gippsland Solar

Over 50 people enjoyed a detailed briefing on the present and future of electric vehicles in Warragul recently.

Baw Baw Sustainability Network presented the evening at Warragul RSL and featured vehicles ranging from electric bicycles and motorcycles to the high end BMW and Tesla cars, with presentations from the Alternative Technology Association (ATA) and Gippsland Solar.

Electric vehicles presented a number of advantages with lower fuel costs, much lower maintenance, lower emissions of all sorts and smooth and quiet handling. In many cases electric vehicles now outperformed combustion powered vehicles. Battery life, cost and charging at home and on road had improved markedly in recent times, but different systems used in different vehicles remains a limitation for public charging stations.

Range had been improved with Tesla S achieving 370 – 500 Klms on one charge, depending on driving conditions and style.

Paul Paton from the ATA explained that he had ridden to the talk on his Vectrix motorcycle from Ringwood to Warragul and it would cost him about 90c. He added that the full range of vehicle types were now being produced in electric version, even trucks, which often use hydrogen fuel cells.

“With no gears, clutch, exhaust, or radiator and a brushless motor there is almost nothing to wear out,” he explained, “except maybe some bearings.”

“Range is over 250 klms and torque is nearly double the equivalent combustion engine bike” he said.

“Unlike combustion engine vehicles, electric vehicles have better range in city driving because almost no fuel is used when stationary” said Mr Paton.

Shane Clayton form Gippsland Solar outlined the details of their Tesla S which runs electric motors on front and rear axels giving four wheel drive without drive train limitations, resulting in a very sporty performance.

Sean Holden of Chili Cycles discusses his test ride with Cr Peter Costos


“It included hands free driving, which I must confess I find still a bit disturbing” he said. “It is our standard business car, and is used continually with no problems.”

“We decided to install a Tesla charging station at our Traralgon site, which can charge from empty to full in less than 45 minutes, while guests have a free coffee!” Mr Clayton said. The cost of the power was so low, especially as they have substantial solar panels on their site, that they have offered the service for free. Home charging on off peak rates would cost $15.

“We have found the ongoing cost to us is around $1 per year.”

“We have quite a few weekend tourists coming down to Traralgon to tour around,” Mr Clayton said.

Our future garages will include solar arrays, inverter, batteries and car charging facilities as standard Mr Clayton explained.


American blackberry harvest time.


Late February and March is the time for harvesting our thornless blackberries. I’m unsure of the exact botanical name but we know them as American blackberries. This particular bramble is a prolific grower and will spread by sending roots down from any cane that touches the ground for long enough. I planted about 5 canes 2 years ago and this year we have a large crop. Not having to avoid prickles makes the work much more pleasant. The timing is good too because our other brambles have come and gone already so the work in picking and processing is spread.

At REstore, we have a table of plants for sale/donation as well as some occasional produce. At times we have had these and other brambles available, including raspberries, boysenberries and youngberries. If you’d like to get some of these canes let us know by commenting here or come and browse at our garden. Our gardening group is almost always there on a Wednesday morning.