Narrator: They help save lives on our beaches everyday, but recently surf lifesavers in Tathra have been saving energy as well. Local fundraising efforts and assistance from the Bega Valley Shire Council have resulted in the installation of a 1kW solar PV system and wind turbine atop the Tathra Surf Lifesaving Club. The results have been much-needed cost savings and a strong step forward for a sustainable community.
Jennifer: We are a very, very small community here. There was a strong feeling that we could actually make a difference by just making small changes and all working together as a community.
Tony: Tathra’s always been on the map surf life saving wise because of our age – we’re one of the oldest clubs in New South Wales. But people do know us now throughout the state because we were the first in Australia, in surf life saving, to go for clean energy with regard to the solar and the wind.
Jennifer: You always come across people who are a bit cynical, who think we’ll never get there, who don’t like making changes and I guess you just have to be patient and persevere and show that even just the smallest thing can actually make a difference.
Tony: In the surf club, in such a small town of just over 1600 people, is pretty much the hub of the town. So it was a great place to put clean energy on show.
Jennifer: We can feel proud that we are using renewable energy sources for a lot of our clubs power and that makes me very happy. And the second thing also is that because of the place of the club on the beach, it’s very public and so people are always asking us, “What’s going on?”, “Why do we have these panels up?”, “Why do we have the wind generator on top?”
Tony: We’re quite proud of that with a red and yellow cap on the nose cone of the turbine. What I would advise with regard to any other community would be to go for it. There’s only gain, nothing to loose.
Jennifer: And I just feel that people who come here just for a visit will take away perhaps a taste of the challenge that we have and maybe they’ll be able to start something where they come from as well.
Tony: I’m very passionate about having a cleaner energy future for Australia and our town and for our children.