Mid-winter Newsletter – Unfurling

We are well and truly in the thick of things, learning, exploring and growing our networks, resources and projects both within Community Power Agency and for all the wonderful groups we have the pleasure of connecting with.

  • Learning – new resources for community energy available, some interesting webinars for North Queenslanders and extending our support for Indigenous communities,
  • Exploring – in the Riverina with face-to-face events for the Haystacks Solar Garden project, facilitating a Community Benefit Sharing Initiative and potential new projects,
  • Growing – a grant opportunity and meet our newest, smallest and cutest Community Power Agency fan!

Read on for all the details,

All the best from all of the team at Community Power Agency

– Kristy, Kim, Ella, Elizabeth, Fran, Tom and Jarra

Community Power Hub Resources

If you have been following the three Community Power Hubs in Victoria you’ll know they produced an amazing amount of achievements including 15 community energy projects financed and commissioned which resulted in 1.35MW of renewable energy capacity installed and savings of $364,000 in electricity bills each year.

In fact within the two-year pilot period the program generated more than $14.5 million of value, creating a 13-1 leverage on the government investment for the program. They have now uploaded many of the resources produced at the Hubs to share the learnings with the whole community energy sector – find all the resources here.

Transition Webinars for North Queensland

Our good friends at The Next Economy are hosting a series of public forums to explore the impact that changes to the energy system are having on regional communities across Queensland.

If you’re connected to communities in Townsville or Cairns join the online webinars to learn about the types of energy projects that are happening locally, and what’s needed to ensure a secure, affordable and accessible energy supply. A mapping exercise will be facilitated through groups in a separate break out session to explore new opportunities for their region. Kristy will be speaking at both events giving an overview of changes to the energy sector.

Building a Stronger Economy for Cairns Forum on Friday 31st July: More details and to register here

Townsville Energy Transition Forum on Friday 7th August: More details and to register here

Black Lives Matter

Spurred by the killing of George Floyd at the hands of US police, the past few months has seen the Black Lives Matter movement build rapidly across the world. This topic is just as relevant in Australia with our own racial injustices and police violence toward the First Nations people of this land.

One way Community Power Agency is standing in solidarity with the First Nations people is by Paying the Rent. For this past year we will donate 1% of our surplus to Indigenous led organisations, moving to 1% of our total income from next year.

There are many ways everyone can show your support and solidarity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islands people – check out the comprehensive resources The Commons Library has pulled together here.

Solar Gardens for all

This week Kristy and Nigel from Pingala are heading to the Riverina for some in-person community meetings and catch ups with folks we’ve only met over the phone for the Haystacks Solar Garden. If you’re near Narrandera or Wagga Wagga come along to have a chat about the project on Saturday 18th July – more details and to register visit the Haystacks website.

We are also excited to share that Pingala, our project partner for the Haystacks project has started developing a future solar gardens project pipeline. If you or your group are interested in participating in a solar garden and you live outside the Riverina area, let them know via the Pingala website here.

A pioneering community benefit sharing initiative!

The 720MW New England Solar Farm grid connection agreement has been finalised!With this news the feasibility and implementation phase of UPC’s Community Benefit Sharing Initiative (CBSI) is now commencing. Upon community request, we were thrilled to be invited back to Uralla in early July to facilitate the first of a series of workshops with the newly established Community Reference Group to deliver this next phase of the CBSI.
Jarra and Fran had a wonderful time supporting the initial development of the CBSI in 2018 which resulted in an options paper outlining the communities recommendations. Now Ella and Fran are continuing this pioneering project, supporting the feasibility and implementation of the CBSI guided by the options paper and the community reference group.

Grant opportunity for bushfire affected communities

The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is offering grants of up to $25,000 to support local not-for-profit organisations and community groups that are delivering locally led projects and activities to assist people in their recovery as a result of the 2019/2020 bushfires. The program seeks to fund projects including:

  • Community infrastructure and equipment that strengthens volunteer community groups and their activities;
  • Emergency equipment and facilities (excludes individual aid);
  • Mental health and wellbeing; and
  • Rebuilding communities – from infrastructure repairs or upgrades, to governance, capacity building or operational support.

Applications close on 5 August 2020 – head to their website for more information

Our newest fan!

We are sending all our best wishes to Jarra and Jai for the most recent addition to their family – Brinawa Allison Hicks.

He is named after a little tributary to the Ellenborough River near to their home.

All three are doing well at home and we look forward to meeting him soon!