See you later, 2021! What a doozy of a year.
We’re so proud of the way you and the rest of the community energy sector has forged on despite the evolving covid pandemic, displaying resilience and focus on your projects through what were (and continue to be) some really tough times. Following on from 2020, last year demonstrated the immense value of community spirit.
This 2022, we’re hopeful will bring many more opportunities for us all to get together, progress our goals and achieve great things along Australia’s path to a fast and fair energy transition.
Read on for updates, new tools and highlights from last year:
- Repower update
- Power in numbers
- Training socially responsible developers
- New mapping tool
- Welcoming our newest team member – Xavier
- CPA in the media
We hope you all had a renewing holiday break, with the opportunity to catch up with friends and family.
From the whole CPA team at our virtual AGM below (where some of our team could get together in person!) –
Elizabeth, Tom, Kim, Kristy, Jarra, Fran, Nicky, Ella and our newest team member Xavier!
Repower Our Communities update
We’re campaigning to establish 50 Community Power Hubs across regional Australia to provide critical on-the-ground support for locals to develop and invest in their own renewable energy projects, such as solar gardens and community wind farms.
You may remember that in 2021 community energy champion Helen Haines, Independent Member for Indi, included the 50 hubs into her Australian Local Power Agency Bill.
Last year, CPA helped coordinate over 800 submissions to the Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy from 121 (out of 151) electorates, from community groups to companies, individuals with rooftop solar and national peak bodies.
On 27 August, the Committee heard from councils, community leaders and energy experts in a public hearing – including speakers from Farmers for Climate Action and Community Power Agency. The message was overwhelming – people want a greater share of the renewables boom for their communities.
But the Bill’s success in the Parliament is far from secured. We know Community Power Hubs are the next critical step in supporting the growth of the community energy sector – and we think this kind of practical and pragmatic policymaking can appeal to leaders across the spectrum of Australian politics.
Will you support us and make 2022 the year community energy became front and centre in the minds of your local state and federal politicians? With the federal election approaching, now is the perfect time to contact your federal MP and get our plan on their election agenda.
Kristy and Xavier are starting the new year by mobilising community energy groups around the country, building coalitions of support for the campaign, and collecting stories of success to make community energy even more visible to regional leaders and decision makers.
Join us in making Community Power Hubs a key election promise in 2022.
Power in numbers
Do we have your community energy group’s most up-to-date information?
In our 11th year we have big plans to support you and the community energy sector through compelling storytelling and effective lobbying, but we can’t do that without evidence.
Fill out this 60-second form and we’ll get in touch so we can leverage your group’s efforts and work together for better community energy outcomes in 2022.
Training socially responsible RE developers
In December we delivered the final session of ‘Socially Responsible Renewable Energy Development‘, a first-of-its-kind professional development short course in partnership with the Yunus Centre at Griffith University.
20 renewable energy practitioners from a range of backgrounds completed the 8-week course, which featured 11 sector leading guest speakers and practical on-the-ground knowledge and tools about community engagement and benefit sharing models.
“This course is a timely and positive contribution to the industry.”
Andrew Dyer, Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner
Learn more about their experiences and register your interest for the course in 2022.
New rooftop solar tool
We have great news for communities across regional NSW. The Australian Photovoltaic Institute (APVI) has developed a new tool to help Councils and their ratepayers discover the savings they can make with solar power.
SunSPoT is a sophisticated, simple-to-use tool and unlike other online solar calculators, it assesses the angle and orientation of the roof, any shading impacts across the day and through the year, local weather data, as well as energy use and costs in the house or building. It’s reliable, independent and user details are not recorded or shared.
SunSPoT can determine the best positioning of a solar system on the roof, the kW size and expected installed PV system cost, annual savings and emissions avoided.
They have used the SunSPoT tool to map more than 40 local government areas across the state. We think SunSPoT is a great way for budding community energy groups to assess potential sites for roof-top solar projects! Find out more at apvi.org.au/sunspot.
Our newest member Xavier Mayes joined the Community Power Agency team in November. Xavier comes from to CPA from the UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF), and has a background in strategic communications, media relations and community engagement from a professional career spanning the film, university and NGO sectors. He is a founding volunteer director of the Blue Mountains Renewable Energy Cooperative (BMRenew) and holds a Masters of Sustainability and Climate Policy through Curtin University.
“I’m beyond excited to be working with the good folk at CPA. For the best part of a decade I’ve been involved with the community energy sector. I had the good fortune to meet CPA co-founder Nicky Ison in 2012 while running a regional renewable energy roadshow with the Nature Conservation Council of NSW. After her talk, I was hooked!
Xavier is working on the Repower Our Communities campaign alongside Kristy, so look out for an email or phone call from him (or beat him to the punch and get in touch first).
When he’s not working you’ll find him mucking around with his kiddos, baking, gardening, or playing futsal (indoor soccer)!
CPA in the media
Throughout 2021 we were out in the media, helping to reframe the energy debate, showcase community energy projects and advocate for better policies.
Here are some recent highlights.
ABC Science: ‘Community energy’ may be the answer to regional prosperity under ‘net zero’. This town wants to give it a go
Renew Economy: ‘Explainer: Labor plans 85 “solar banks” to open up to renters. What are they?‘
Sydney Morning Herald: ‘Tenants and apartment owners to benefit from new solar power scheme’
ABC: ‘Solar gardens’ may be the answer for renters and apartment-dwellers locked out of renewable energy’
Until next time have a great start to 2022!