Advocacy & Policy

As we move to an energy system based on clean, renewable energy, the policy and regulatory settings of the past must be updated. That’s why at Community Power Agency, we advocate for policies that make community energy and clean energy access easier.

Through our communications and determined lobbying, we help to make sure community energy voices are heard.

We work closely with governments to develop policies and programs that are both inclusive and sustainable. Our objective is to improve outcomes for all Australians and our environment by participating in setting the agenda and making community energy a priority in the political and social landscape.

With the support of our collaborators, we have made a significant impact on the growth of community energy. When Community Power Agency was formed in 2011 there were a handful of community energy initiatives and today more than 105 groups and 150 projects are operating.

We continue to advance the sector through our projects, our strong media presence and our advocacy achievements. We regularly collaborate with the Coalition for Community Energy, Solar Citizens and the Nature Conservation Council to build powerful advocacy efforts.

Our experience working at the nexus of practical clean energy projects and advocacy, means we are also regularly invited to advise NGOs and governments on policies to support the broader energy transition.

CPA Director Elizabeth Noble with Lawrence McIntosh of Solarshare
Community Energy Congress 2014 at Parliament House, Canberra

 

Current advocacy projects

National Community Energy – Local Power Plan

Imagine a sunbelt of 10,000 locally-owned renewable power stations stretching right across the country, bringing new jobs, new opportunities and an infinite supply of cheap, clean, local power to Australia.

The Local Power Plan sets out a pathway to achieving that vision. But for this to happen, we need the government to act. Here’s where you come in – we need your support.

Solar For All

The Solar For All campaign aims to enable everyone to access the benefits of solar energy, by putting in place state-based Solar For All Packages.

Australians love solar. Unfortunately, 35% of us are still “locked-out”, unable to get the benefits of rooftop solar; because we rent, live in an apartment, have a shady roof or we just can’t afford the upfront cost. The good news is that there is a solution – a Solar Garden.

Research by Community Power Agency and UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures found that Solar Gardens are the way to make sure everyone can access solar – regardless of the barriers they face.

Victoria – Lead on Community Energy

Since 2015, Victoria’s Andrews Government has shown leadership by encouraging community energy projects through a number of initiatives. 

But in the absence of a federal energy policy there are many community energy projects in development that do not have the financial or logistical support needed to reach maturity.

That’s why we have partnered with the Coalition 4 Community Energy (C4CE) and Friends of the Earth Melbourne – Yes2Renewables, as well as several grassroots renewable energy groups to call on the Andrews Government to Lead on Community Energy.

Past advocacy projects

Smart Energy Communities Campaign

The Smart Energy Communities campaign aims to turbo-charge clean energy across Australia, by putting in place a decade-long support program.

In 2016, Community Power Agency developed the Smart Energy Communities policy. Like Landcare for clean energy, this policy would support 50 Community Power Hubs across the country, provide grant funding for community energy groups and fund a capacity building network to ensure communities in Far North Queensland can learn from those in WA and Sydney and vice versa.

Since then we have worked with community energy groups and NGOs across Australia to advocate for the Smart Energy Communities policy. The Victorian and NSW Governments have both adopted versions of our policy, while the federal ALP, Greens and independents have made policy commitments.

Repower Australia Plan

Community Power Agency was proud to launch the Repower Australia Plan in 2018. The plan was launched by CPA’s Founding Director Nicky Ison with world-renowned climate advocate Bill McKibbin and in partnership with some of Australia’s leading climate organisations – 350.org, Australian Conservation Foundation, Environment Victoria, GetUp!, Solar Citizens and the Nature Conservation Council of NSW.

Community Power Agency was the lead author of the Repower Australia Plan and co-author of its predecessor, the Homegrown Power Plan. This latest plan illustrates how Australia can achieve 100% renewable power by 2030 by rebooting our failing electricity system, removing the roadblocks holding us back, and investing in the renewables boom.

Renewables For All

This project aimed to create the policy settings and regulatory and market context that allows all Australians, no matter their income or living arrangements, to be able to directly benefit from clean energy solutions such as solar PV, storage and energy efficiency.

Renewables for All was an initiative of the Coalition for Community Energy, led by the Community Power Agency and funded by Energy Consumer Australia that aimed to significantly increase access to new energy technologies such as solar PV and battery storage to those customer segments that are currently not able to access them.

Specifically, through this project we are calling on governments to develop programs and support innovation in new social enterprise business models that increase access to clean energy for low-income households, renters, apartment dwellers and homeowners without solar access.

Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) and Congress

CPA are pleased to have been the founding C4CE Secretariat and involved in uniting the voices of community energy and advocating for the needs of the sector. We also coordinated the first two Community Energy Congress events, inspiring hundreds of community energy advocates.

Launch of Repower Australia

Circle of hands at Community Energy Project in NSW

ACHIEVEMENTS

  • Between 2016 & 2018, we advocated for community energy in NSW. This saw the NSW Government establish the $30 million Regional Community Energy Program.
  • In 2018 we authored the Repower Australia Plan – a policy blueprint to repower Australia with 100% renewable energy. We were also co-authors on the Homegrown Power Plan.
  • In 2019 we ran a pilot Repower Presenters program training people to tell the story of how we create a faster and fairer transition to clean energy.
  • In 2016 & 2019 we secured community energy and solar access policy commitments from the Federal ALP, the Greens & independents like Helen Haines in Indi.
  • In 2017, we organised the Community Energy Congress, bringing together more than 600 people from across the community energy sector to collaborate, engage and share their experiences and skills.
  • In 2017 the Victorian Government adopted our Smart Energy Communities policy trialling three Community Power Hubs in Bendigo, Ballarat and the Latrobe Valley.
  • In 2016 we participated in the ACT Government’s Renewable Energy Auction, to ensure communities got a good deal from supported projects.
  • In 2014, we worked with a range of stakeholders to pioneer the Coalition for Community Energy which facilitates collaboration amongst its more than 80 member organisations, to grow a vibrant community energy sector in Australia.

We highly recommend Community Power Agency to any other group of community members who are considering establishing a community renewable energy project or who are seeking to improve the capabilities & independence of their existing group.

Pingala
Sydney
CPA Directors Elizabeth, Nicky & Jarra at a windfarm

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