Our chance to turbocharge community energy

Right now we have an opportunity for communities across Australia to harness renewable energy to revitalise their communities, increase their energy resilience and share in the benefits of the renewables boom.

We have to ensure that everyone, especially in regional Australia where the investment and construction of renewable energy is happening, sees the long term benefits. The Australian Local Power Agency Bill provides a blueprint to do this.

It is currently being scrutinised by a Federal Parliament Committee and we need to show that regional people and community energy enthusiasts want a community-led renewable energy future. Will you join us and make a submission today?

This Bill, if passed, would establish a $467 million agency to support regional communities to develop and invest in their own renewable energy projects. This would include 50 new Local Power Hubs across regional Australia to help communities develop their own renewable energy projects.

It would also implement a new requirement for all large-scale renewable projects to offer local residents a chance to invest in them, instead of profits draining offshore.

This is our chance to ensure communities are supported to benefit from this clean energy transition. Follow this link to make a submission — it’s easy and will only take a few minutes.

Communities are already leading. I look at towns like Denmark in WA or Yackandandah in VIC and see communities that are getting on with harnessing renewable energy to tackle climate change and revitalise their communities.

This Bill would support communities right across regional Australia to join in. Please make a submission today and let’s repower our communities with renewable energy!

Here’s to a turbo-charged community energy sector.

June Newsletter

Community Batteries Info Session – 30 June

Yarra Energy Foundation’s Chris Wallan and Greg Hannan from Citipower/United Energy will outline this new approach to energy storage that will also help smooth the way to a higher level of clean energy in the grid, including Yarra Energy Foundation and Citipower’s new “shovel ready” community battery initiative.

An in person event for those in Melbourne, otherwise tune into Lighter Footprint’s Facebook live at 7:40pm.


Opportunity for Community Energy in Yea

Community Power Agency and 2030Yea -a budding community energy group from the Hume region in Victoria- recently launched a new report highlighting the local opportunities for community energy. The group has ambitious plans to achieve 100% renewable energy that is more accessible and affordable for their town over the next decade.

They have already begun a solar PV installation at the local recreation reserve and recently partnered with CPA to explore the next steps around community engagement and providing options such as solar bulk buys and energy education to achieve their vision.
You can learn more about 2030Yea and read the report here.

Image: John Anderson, Clare Daly and Elaine Furniss form 2030Yea being interviewed by Win news


Funds to Install Solar for Your Community Group

If you’re a community group (or know of one) that has a rooftop in need of solar panels there’s a number of opportunities to access funds to make it happen.

1. Revolving Funds – these are generally no interest loans to cover the up-front cost of solar installations. There are many groups around Australia offering these programs:

  • CORENA – Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia – any project in Australia can apply.
  • COREM – Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby – for projects around Mullumbimby in the far north coast of NSW.
  • Energy Innovation Co-op– Southern CORE Fund for south eastern Victorian based projects.
  • And a recent addition with the tasty looking partnership between Ben&Jerry’s, 4 Pines Brewery and Enova.

Grant Opportunities

Each newsletter we’ll be featuring a few grant opportunities that could apply for community energy projects. Get in touch if you want to talk through your project idea.  

Here’s the opportunities at the moment in order of due date:

1. Stronger Country Communities Fund
Regional NSW focus, grants up to $1 million. Due 25 June.

2.IMB Bank Community Foundation
NSW & Melbourne specific due 30th June.

3. NSW Infrastructure Grants
Up to $200,000, due 26 July.

4. Tackling Tough Times Together via Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Grants up to $150,000, due 12th August.

5. Powering your community
Australia-wide, $12,000 due 20 September. Get in touch with your MP to be invited to apply.


Donation Portal Launched

Community Power Agency supports the passion and diligence of thousands of community volunteers and enable hundreds of tangible real world projects to emerge in communities across Australia.

We’ve got big plans to make community energy policy and programs more supportive and bigger right around the country. But we need your help to make them happen.

You can donate here via our website.

Donate to power community energy

Until next time 🙂

Community Power Hubs WIN

Huge news for Victoria – Community Power Hubs

A quick email in light of the recent announcement to expand the government funded Community Power Hubs program in Victoria. What a win!

Exciting times are ahead for community energy projects with this boost of funds and capacity potentially across all regions of the state. We are keen to connect with community energy groups and supportive organisations to ensure these hubs are the best they can be.

We have a lot of experience in the governance space and are happy to offer pro bono group facilitation advice and networking to develop successful collaborations to apply for these Victorian Hubs. Next Thursday we are running a free online session about good collaborative governance, email us for the details.

If you’re a community energy group or other organisation that would like to be involved in one of the Hubs – either to be a Lead Partner, offer your organisation’s support or to add your implementation ready project to a Hub application – please get in touch. See other community energy groups on our community energy map here.

For everyone else not in Victoria – join the campaign to Repower Our Communities – to win Community Power Hubs in every state and territory of Australia!

Here’s to taking the power into our own hands,

Kristy

For the whole Community Power Agency team – Kim, Ella, Elizabeth, Fran and Jarra.

https://www.repowerourcommunities.org.au/

Webinar recording: How community energy builds resilience and renewables

It’s been a busy few weeks for our team, with a trip to Parliament House and regional Victoria since this webinar two weeks ago. Apologies for the delay in getting this recording of the webinar out to all of you.

The webinar recording can be found on the Community Power Agency website on our webinars page here: How Community Energy builds resilience and renewables.

For those interested in further resources and guides, there are many options:

  • Community Power Agency resources section
    We offer workshops, training and other services to help you to develop your community energy project in line with the vision and context of your community. We regularly work with councils and non-profits also.
  • Coalition for Community Energy knowledge hub
    The C4CE has good resources for various projects on their website. We encourage community energy groups to become members of C4CE.

Thanks again to those who attended the webinar and our presenters: Taryn, Lawrie and Rob. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you need support or connections for progressing your own energy projects.

Sunny regards,

Kristy for the Community Power Agency team

PS. Check out our latest campaign that we launched in Parliament House last week to ensure the renewables boom benefits everyone and can Repower Our Communities.

Grant op, free webinar and a new campaign

It’s a new year with some exciting opportunities coming our way. I hope you all managed to get a decent break over the holidays to come back rejuvenated for 2021.  

Read on for details of:

  • A new campaign to win national community energy support
  • Our webinar with 3 community energy groups – NEXT WEEK
  • Help regional community orgs access social benefit solar plots
  • Grant opportunity for every Federal electorate

From all of us at Community Power Agency,
Kristy, Kim, Ella, Elizabeth, Fran and Jarra.


Repower Our Communities campaign

This year is shaping up to be an important one. Off the back of Helen Haines’ Local Power Plan we are joining forces with our friends at Farmers for Climate Action to launch a campaign to Repower Our Communities. The goal is to unlock significant national funding and support for community energy groups right across the country.

In a few weeks a group of community energy supporters will head to Parliament House in Canberra for the tabling of the Local Power Plan bill by Independent MP Helen Haines. While we’re there we will meet with key Federal MPs to explain the benefits of community energy and how this legislation will support more projects to flourish.

Sometime in March we will host an online session detailing the plan and how you can add your support. Stay tuned for the details and the campaign website launch. Here’s a sneak preview:


Community Energy Webinar

Next week we’re hosting a panel discussion as part of the National Sustainable Living Festival. We’ll be chatting to three community energy groups:

  • Taryn Lane from Hepburn Wind
  • Lawrence McIntosh from Solar Share
  • Ella Goninan from Community Owned Renewable Energy Mullumbimby (COREM)

Each group will share what their project has achieved and their key learnings from building renewables in their communities.

Register here to get the Zoom link


Social Benefit Solar Plots

Community Power Agency is working with our partners to create Australia’s first large scale solar garden which will finally allow those locked out of owning solar to share in the benefits of solar too. As the project moves towards construction this year we have set our sights on making sure that as many people can have access to this exciting new way of doing solar.

Haystacks is calling out to everyone in a fundraising campaign to raise $21,000 for five 3kW solar garden plots that can be donated to not-for-profit community groups in the Riverina Region – home of the Haystacks Solar Garden. These solar garden plots will reduce the community group’s electricity bill every year and allow them to focus on their great work rather than rising energy costs.

If you’re passionate about helping bring the Haystacks Solar Garden to life and chipping in – head on over to the Haystacks website where you can make a tax deductible donation today.


Federal Funding – Stronger Communities Grants

This grant is for projects that aim to improve local community participation and contribute to vibrant viable communities – which most community energy projects will meet.

The grants are up to $20,000 per project with $150,000 allocated per federal electorate. You must be invited by your MP to apply, so set up a meeting with your local MP as soon as you can to chat about your ideas.

Due on 22 March 2021. Find out all the details on the government webpage here.

Onwards to a vibrant, clean energy future!