Opportunities arising in Spring

It’s starting to feel a lot like spring with warmer days, new green leaves sprouting and that lovely time before the end of year rush.

We’re thinking of all our Victorian friends and supporters during their extended lockdown – thanks for helping Australia get on top of COVID-19.

Despite the challenges we are facing, there is much happening in the community energy space. Read on for details about:

  • Solar Garden memberships are open to all of NSW!
  • Regional perspectives on building a stronger economy
  • Fight for Planet A features community energy
  • Community Power Agency in Parliament
  • Grant opportunity – reuse solar panels
  • New research on community energy

Kristy for the Community Power Agency team – Jarra, Fran, Elizabeth, Ella & Kim

Solar Garden open to all NSW residents

We’re excited! The Haystacks Solar Garden project has passed a new milestone in registering the co-operative this week. Kristy and Kim from the Community Power Agency team have been working hard to make this project a reality with more than one major challenge along the way!

Recently the team decided to open up memberships to all of NSW to ensure the project’s success. Right now anyone in NSW can become a member – in fact we need 400 members by the end of October. Then members in the Riverina area will have first option to purchase a solar garden plot, followed by members in the rest of NSW.

Come along to one of the upcoming online info sessions to find out more:

  • Monday 31st August – 6:30pm-7:30pm, NSW wide – Register here
  • Monday 7th September – 5:30pm -6:30pm, NSW wide – Register here
  • Wednesday 9th September – 5:30pm -6:30pm, for Sydney’s Inner West residents – Register here

If you’ve already heard about the project and are ready to become a member, sign up here.

Regional Perspectives on Building a Stronger Economy

Earlier this year Kristy spoke alongside The Next Economy, Farmers for Climate Action and the Transitioning Australia Group at four public forums in regional towns along the Queensland coast.

These community forums along with government and industry roundtables and other consultations were exploring the potential to create new jobs and investment opportunities in a low carbon economy.

They found that regional Queenslanders want to help power the nation’s recovery from the coronavirus catastrophe with new approaches to key industries such as energy, tourism and agriculture.

Read the full report here.

Community Energy featured on ABC Fight for Planet A series

We are delighted that the ABC’s Fight for Planet A series featured community energy in their first episode a few weeks ago. Taryn from Hepburn Wind did us all proud explaining the benefits of community energy and the town of Hepburn’s plan to transition to 100% zero emissions. If you missed them catch up on iView.

Community Power Agency is featured as one of the Community Solutions in the follow-up toolkit and they made a short video about Pingala’s projects and the Haystacks Solar Garden project – have a watch by clicking the image below.

Community Power Agency in Parliament – twice!

We are making waves and being heard at all levels of Government.
At a Federal level Community Power Agency was mentioned in the House of Representatives by Independent MP Zali Steggall in her support of Helen Haines’ motion to support community energy at a national level with the National Community Energy Plan – stay tuned for a campaign we will lead on this in coming months.

In the same week Kristy presented to the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into the Sustainability of energy supply and resources in NSW. She spoke on how community energy offers a compelling model to capture the immense benefits of renewable energy, including jobs and investment for regional communities, congratulated the NSW Government on their three new Renewable Energy Zones and highlighted the need for significant community engagement to ensure the success of these REZ. Also highlighting that barriers facing the community energy sector can be addressed through Government leadership and policy support.

And at a local government level we are working with the Inner West Council to promote the Haystacks Solar Garden project to Sydney residents.

Grant Opportunity: EPA Circular Solar Trial

With solar PV now gracing our rooftops and fields for several decades, many systems are nearing the end of their expected lifespan, potentially creating a new waste stream. The NSW Government is looking to create closed loop systems for PV and batteries by accelerating the development of high-value recycling technologies and reuse systems.

The NSW Government has created a $10 million fund to reduce landfilling of solar panels and battery systems. Find out more about the program, application process and background information on their website.

Applications close 4pm, Thursday 17 September 2020.

New Community Energy research  

While growing a baby CPA’s Jarra Hicks also authored three new pieces of research on community energy coming out of her PhD.

In the Australiasian Journal of Environmental Management:

  • Generating conditions of strong social support for wind power: insights from community-owned wind energy projects – article here

Two chapters in the Handbook of Diverse Economies by J.K. Gibson-Graham & Kelly Dombroski:

  1. Community enterprise: diverse designs for community-owned energy infrastructure – abstract here
  2. Community finance: marshalling investments for community-owned renewable energy enterprises – abstract here

Until next time here’s a funny video of ALDI negotiating with the sun and wind to power all their stores with 100% renewables!