Newsletter – March 2020

Dear Community Energy Enthusiasts,

What an unprecedented year so far.
2020 started with much uncertainty as many people around Australia battled the threat or reality of the bushfires this summer. Then came the floods in many places and now we’re dealing with the global pandemic of COVID-19 that means we need to physically distance ourselves. In these challenging times, we hope you have virtual connections to keep spirits up.

We will be forging ahead with our work to drive a faster and fairer transition to clean energy in Australia (adjusted for the circumstances) for several reasons. Firstly because that is our purpose, but now more than ever because decentralised renewable energy can deliver economic benefits to regional areas, help our communities to be more resilient in times of extreme weather events and ensure we are more in control of our futures.

Read on for four exciting updates.

– Kristy
And all the Community Power Agency team: Fran, Jarra, Tom, Ella, Elizabeth and Kim!

Funding for Solar Gardens project!

We are very excited to announce that Community Power Agency in joint partnership with Pingala and Komo Energy have been awarded grant funding in the NSW Government Regional Community Energy Fund for a solar garden project.

The Haystacks Solar Garden will see the establishment of a 1MW solar array that will allow approximately 300 “locked out” energy users to access the benefits of solar for the first time. A solar garden is like a community garden but instead of growing veggies members get to harvest their own energy. We have progressing the idea of solar gardens in our fairer for all agenda for a few years now so it is gratifying to see this project secure funding.

It will be in the Riverina on the edge of the small town of Grong Grong. In the coming weeks we will be holding community meetings, get in touch if you live in the Riverina and want to get involved or find out more information.

Our New Staff Member – Kim Mallee

We are very pleased to announce that Kim Mallee has joined the CPA team as our Haystacks Project Manager!

Kim will be working closely with our project partners as well as the communities across the Riverina to help make the first community-owned solar garden in Australia a reality.

She brings with her a wealth of experience from local government and the corporate sector, as well as grassroots community engagement. Kim is based in the beautiful Northern Rivers region and is passionate about sustainability and supporting renewable energy projects that create lasting positive change in our communities.
Welcome Kim!

Jarra taking leave

Our final piece of exciting news is that Jarra Hicks will be having a baby in April and will be taking time off to be with her growing family.

We are thrilled to welcome another addition to the expanding CPA family and wish her and her partner all the best in the coming new adventure.

Congratulations to all the RCEF projects

We are amongst great company in our successful grant application through the Regional Community Energy Fund. In total the program awarded funding to seven projects in NSW which will unlock nearly 17.2MW of electricity generation and up to 17.9MW/39.3MWh of energy storage.

It’s encouraging to see community energy expand in NSW. Congratulations to the other projects:

  • Manilla Community Renewable Energy (photo below)
  • Energise Gloucester
  • Community Energy for Goulburn
  • Orange Community Renewables/ ITP-NHT Dev Co
  • Enova Community Energy Ltd
  • Byron Bay Solar Farm Holdings

All the best for the coming weeks as we all navigate the changed way of our world.
– CPA team.

Newsletter – October 2019

Dear Community Energy Enthusiasts,

Letting go, transitioning and celebrating change as the days get longer – we are well and truly amidst the growth of springtime!

  • Letting go – Yes its true and sad and wonderful at the same time… Nicky Ison is moving on from CPA!
  • Transitioning – Welcoming new members and powering on!
  • Celebrating – The potency of people power with this weeks launch of the #SolarforAll Campaign! 
  • Growing – A new community energy group joins our movement!

Read on for more.

From all of us at the (transitioning, growing and celebrating) Community Power Agency team!

Jarra, Nicky, Fran, Tom, Elizabeth, Ella and Kristy!!

Nicky Ison moving on from CPA

It is with sadness that we let you know that one of our founders – Nicky Ison is moving on from Community Power Agency.

However, it is with excitement that we wish her well in her new job with WWF as their new Energy Transition Manager.  Nicky will be leading WWF’s new renewable exports campaign (700% renewables anyone?).

For more than a decade Nicky has worked to grow a vibrant community energy sector.

From five community energy groups when she and Jarra started there are now more than 110 across the country working to democratise our energy system and tell a powerful story of how communities can lead and benefit from acting on climate and shifting to renewables.

We want to thank Nicky for her amazing contribution to Community Power Agency.  Some highlights include:

  • Bringing together 620 people in Melbourne Town Hall for the Community Energy Congress, including 25 Aboriginal leaders to talk about how we drive a faster and fairer transition to clean energy.
  • Writing the Homegrown Power Plan and Repower Australia Plan.
  • Running numerous workshops and speaking at events with communities across the country, including the inaugural events of Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Repower Shoalhaven and most recently Capricorn Coast Community Energy in Yeppoon in Central Queensland.
    Winning community energy policy commitments particularly from the NSW and Victorian Governments. 
  • Pioneering Solar Gardens and launching the Solar for All Campaign this week. 

Check out CPA’s great video for a snapshot of some of the things we’ve achieved over the years.

While Nicky is a big loss, Community Power Agency will continue to kick community energy goals on the ground, with communities, in the media and politically without her.

Should you be interested in energy justice, democratising our energy system, demonstrating how clean energy is the future for communities across this sunburnt country, please get in touch with the CPA team of Jarra, Fran, Tom, Elizabeth, Ella and Kristy.

We’re also pleased that Nicky intends to stay on the board of CPA so is not leaving the community energy movement entirely.

Community Energy Workshop in Yeppoon

Two weeks ago, CPA Director Nicky Ison and Luke Reade from Energetic Communities were invited to Yeppoon to run a community energy workshop by the excellent folks at Central Queensland. 

We are pleased to report that the coast is beautiful and the enthusiasm for community energy is high.  Forty people turned out for our Community Energy workshop, brimming with ideas for community energy projects.  We were excited to find out that Yeppoon already has a tradition of community energy, having run a series of solar bulk buys earlier this decade.

As such its our pleasure to welcome the newest community energy group to our movement – Capricorn Coast Community Energy (name TBC). If you are keen to know more about their plans or to help them please contact Tom Henderson at

Solar for All Campaign Launched

This week Community Power Agency was excited to launch our newest campaign – Solar for All

The campaign which is backed by a growing number of organisations, is calling on sate governments to ensure all Australians can access solar, no matter where they live or how much they earn.
We’d love you to get involved in the campaign by:

You can also check out some of the media from the campaign so far, including a great story on Prime7 and a write-up on One Step off the Grid. Thanks to everyone who has supported the campaign so far.