The Coalition is yet to take up a golden opportunity to unlock billions of dollars worth of innovative clean energy projects, advocates say.

It comes after the Prime Minister pledged $5 million towards grants to help community organisations install solar or solar battery systems.

Renewable energy advocates say it’s an inadequate commitment and more must be done to empower Australians to take control of their power supply.

“If the Coalition was serious about supporting community organisations to access solar they would remove the main barriers that community groups face: red tape, access to legal expertise and early-stage funding. $5 million won’t deliver any of those things,” Community Power Agency’s Nicky Ison says.

“Modelling shows that spending $140 million will unlock up to $1.5 billion worth of community-owned clean power projects that will deliver financial returns back to the community.

“When it comes to innovation and investment, this government still has a way to go to turn talk into action. In contrast, the Labor Party has committed almost $100 million to kickstart community-owned projects and provide support to the groups developing them.”

There are 70 community groups around the country currently trying to build and run their own clean energy projects, including solar and wind farms.

“Community Power Agency will continue to work with community energy groups – 47 of which are in Coalition-held electorates – to secure the support community energy groups need this election,” Ms Ison said.

Solar Citizens National Director Claire O’Rourke said community energy projects were essential to making the transition to clean, cheap renewable power a reality.

“If the government was serious about supporting communities, it would provide funding that is necessary to get communities connected to clean power that will save on power bills.

“We would expect far more than $5 million to be pledged to community energy initiatives ahead of the July 2 poll.”

Australian Solar Council chief executive John Grimes says the quantum of funding announced by the Prime Minister shows that his heart is really not in it.

“After stripping $1.3 billion worth of funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, Mr Turnbull has announced $5 million in community solar PV funding,” Mr Grimes said.

“Mr Turnbull, where is the other $1.29bn?”

Media inquiries:

The Land – Dairy farmers & solar

When the Land puts it on the front page, every National MP in the country knows about it. Awesome story featuring this campaign, dairy farmers and big solar.

The Land loved this story because it brought together real farmers doing smart things with their community to reduce power bills and run modern agriculture. A story this good is wonderful at any time, but during an election campaign it’s gold – and there’s more where this came from!

Read the full story in the Land – featuring our very our own Nicky Ison

Win News – Repower Shoalhaven

Dairy farmers, big solar, community owned, all in a marginal seat – what’s not to like? Great story on Repower Shoalhaven and their third round of investment and renewable energy.

There’s nothing quite like real projects in real places to get people excited about community renewables. Regional TV are often looking for local stories that have a visual element – even just going to the site of where the renewables are planned is often enough. Contact us if you’d like to have a go at getting some TV media for your project.

A community organisation is combining people power with solar panels, to ease the financial burden on South Coast business operators.'Repower Shoalhaven' is seeking community investment, to fund the third round of its unique community solar project.

Posted by WIN News Illawarra on Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Guardian – Totally Renewable Yackandandah

The fantastic team at Totally Renewable Yackandandah (TRY) got in quickly with this great opinion piece in the Guardian by TRY President Matthew Charles-Jones.

There are so many great aspects of this article, but this quote stood out for us “While policy makers dither and draft lifeless strategies, those outside of the political bubble have no time to waste as they already face the realities of climate change on a daily basis.”

There’s huge power in Community Energy Groups like Totally Renewable Yackandandah sharing their story like this. Of course there’s the readers, but during an election, the local candidates are very much tuned to anything that’s been said by constituents in their electorate.

If you’re a member of a community renewable group, even if you’re just at the start of your journey, consider writing an opinion piece like this for your local paper. When it gets published, send it to all the candidates.

Read the full opinion piece in the Guardian here.

ALP’s climate policy to boost community-led clean energy projects

Community energy group welcome Labor’s Community Power policy.


Federal Labor’s climate policy promises to kick-start clean energy projects and boost community access to renewable energy across Australia, the Community Power Agency says.

The ALP has today announced it will spend $98.7 million over four years to develop a Community Power Network as part of the party’s wider Climate and Energy policy package.

Community Power Hubs will provide legal and technical expertise as well as start-up funding to help communities build and run their own clean energy projects.

The Community Power Agency’s Nicky Ison says there are more than 70 community groups across the country already working to create clean energy projects like Hepburn Wind in Victoria and the Nimbin Community Solar Farm in NSW.

“The combination of 10 Community Power Hubs and competitive grants will support community energy in Australia to follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany, where 47 per cent of all installed renewables is owned by citizens and communities,” Ms Ison said.

“Communities play a hugely important leadership role in the transition to clean energy here and around the world.

“Community energy initiatives also play an important part in overcoming market failures that prevent renters, low-income households and apartment dwellers from accessing the benefits of household solar.”

Ms Ison says regional Australia stands to gain the most if the country embraces the global renewable energy boom.

“This policy is also a huge win for regional Australia, as it will support farmer bioenergy projects and help develop new business models that enable regional communities to invest in and directly benefit from large wind and solar farms. This in turn will ensure a greater share of the renewables investment boom stays circulating in regional and local economies.”

The ALP’s Community Power Network and Regional Hubs policy draws inspiration from the Community Powerhouses policy outlined in GetUp and Solar Citizens’ Homegrown Power Plan, of which Nicky Ison was a co-author.

The Community Powerhouses policy envisages a network of 50 Community Power Hubs, supporting local energy projects across Australia for a decade.

“We look forward to seeing an extension and scale up of the ALP’s Community Power Network after a successful first four years,” Ms Ison said.

For further comment contact:

Nicky Ison on 0402 0345 80 or

Nicky can also provide a list of community clean energy projects already operating as well as connect media to community energy groups such as New England Wind and Totally Renewable Yackandandah (Indi) for an on-the-ground perspective and provide a list of community.

The Community Power Agency is one of the country’s leading community energy organisations. It helps community groups navigate the complex process of setting up a community owned renewable energy project.

Please read ALP’s full Climate Change Action Plan here.