Our story

We care about achieving a faster and fairer transition to clean energy that benefits all Australians. We work collaboratively with communities, governments, NGOs and corporates to drive this change.

CPA Founding Directors Nicky Ison & Jarra Hicks

WHAT WE DO & WHY

We believe that local, people-powered clean energy projects will bring social, environmental and economic benefits to communities across Australia.

We believe that involving communities in all scales of renewable energy development will make our electricity system better and enable us to act on climate in the timeframes required.

We believe by collaborating we can remove systemic barriers to community energy and clean energy access.

Our approach

Capacity Building

Supporting and building the capacity of community projects through workshops, training, mentoring, research and resource development.

Innovation

Developing and enabling innovative social-impact business models and practices.

Advocacy

Engaging in sector level advocacy, collaboration and policy development.

HISTORY & IMPACT

The Community Power Agency was founded when two people, Nicky Ison and Jarra Hicks, decided to take positive action toward a clean energy future.

After years of passionate and dedicated campaigning against a broken and polluting energy system, Jarra and Nicky turned their efforts towards finding a solution to the energy crisis and building a fairer and cleaner system for all.

In 2010, they visited community energy projects of all shapes and sizes in the UK, Europe, North America and India and were inspired by the great things that local communities had achieved. This energised them to help make community energy a reality in Australia.

In 2011 the Community Power Agency was formed. In 2015 it was incorporated as a not-for-profit workers’ cooperative and has grown to a small but high-impact team.

Now with over 2,000 supporters, the story of our success grows with us…

Community Energy Congress 2014
Launch of the Coalition for Community Energy at the inaugural Congress, 2014.

Community Power Agency acknowledges the First Nations people of Australia. We acknowledge the traditional custodians of the lands on which we work and pay our respects to ancestors and elders, past, present and emerging. Community Power Agency is committed to honouring the unique connection First Nations people have to country and their rich contribution to our society.


Circle of hands at Community Energy Project in NSW

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Since 2011, we have supported more than 50 community energy groups to take the power back and develop and deliver their own clean energy projects
  • We advocated for Regional Community Energy and saw $30 million dedicated to innovative renewable energy projects that benefit NSW communities
  • We collaborated with the Clean Energy Council and the wind power industry to consolidate learnings on how to build a strong social license for wind power
  • In 2017 and 2014, we lead the Community Energy Congress, bringing together more than 600 people from across the community energy sector to collaborate, engage and share their experiences and skills
  • We worked with the Victorian Government to guide how renewable energy developments engage with and benefit their local communities
  • We authored the Homegrown Power Plan, a joint project between GetUp! and Solar Citizens, showing how we can repower the country with renewable energy
  • We participated in the ACT Government’s Renewable Energy Auction, to ensure communities got a good deal from supported projects
  • We authored the first How-To-Guide to Community Renewable Energy, providing communities with the essential decision-making tools to get their projects off the ground

GOVERNANCE

The Community Power Agency is a non-distributing cooperative registered in NSW with the Department of Fair Trading. We are also a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission.

Our members are our staff and volunteers. Our board is made up of members, is elected by members and is working for members. We are dedicated to an equal-pay culture which fosters equality and fairness, recognising that all members contribute valuable skills and perspectives.

Jarra Hicks facilitating a community energy workshop

PARTNERS

At the Community Power Agency, collaboration is integral to our work. By forming partnerships and working together with groups that share a common vision, we are able to strengthen our power to create change.

CPA Directors Elizabeth, Nicky & Jarra at a windfarm

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