Project showcase: Lismore Farming the Sun

Lismore City Council and Farming the Sun have now completed negotiations to build two solar farms at the Goonellabah Sports and Aquatic Centre and East Lismore Sewage Treatment Plant. Farming the Sun are currently working on finalising loan agreements (between the two community companies created and Lismore City Council), establishing administrative and financial systems for the community companies, and launching the Private Investment Offers.

Watch this space for imminent announcements

http://farmingthesun.net/lismore/

Project showcase: Enova

Since their successful fundraising, Enova have been busy preparing the processes and systems that will form the backbone of their business. This process of building the retail company is a major project for Enova and will enable them to start bringing their first customers on-board.

In addition to this, Enova have moved into new premises in Byron Bay in NSW and they have also commenced work on establishing their Not For Profit arm, Enova Community, who will deliver non-financial benefits back into the Northern Rivers community.

The creation of Australia’s first community-owned energy retailer is a very welcome development for the sector and we look forward to tracking their development over the coming months and years.

www.enovaenergy.com.au

Project showcase: CORENA Quick Win projects

 

CORENA leads the way in donation-based community energy, with their unique “Quick Win” revolving fund model that re-uses donated funds for multiple solar projects.

Donated funds are used to provide interest-free loans to community organisations so they can pay for solar installations and energy efficiency measures. These loans are repaid over time out of the savings made on power bills. Repayments then help fund subsequent projects.

Corena are fundraising for their 12th and 13th project and to-date have raised almost $120,000 – all donated by a growing supporter base from across Australia. Projects have been completed in South Australia, Western Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

http://corenafund.org.au/quick-win-projects/

 

Project Showcase: ClearSky Solar Investments

ClearSky are true pioneers in community energy in Australia. Setup in 2013 by the Northern Beaches (Sydney) chapter of Clean Energy for Eternity, the group’s objective was to empower local communities to benefit environmentally and economically from the production of clean energy.

ClearSky Solar Investments launched its first project in 2013 with an installation on a pub in Boggabri NSW. Since then community investors have financed 12 projects across NSW and Victoria with a total capacity of 440 kW. Community investors get a return of between 6 to 9% depending on the terms of the contract. To date ClearSky Solar have raised over $650,000 in capital and have paid out $118,000 in quarterly payments to investors.

Here’s a link to ClearSky’s new video and a map of their operating projects to date.

Project showcase: Pingala Aboriginal Community Solar

Energy affordability is a major issue for many remote communities

Energy affordability is a major issue for many remote communities

With the support of a NSW Growing Community Energy grant, Pingala has been working with three aboriginal communities in North-West NSW. The project is a partnership with The Valley Centre and addresses critical energy affordability issues for households in these communities.

The communities themselves have been at the centre of driving the direction of the project and this has led to the creation of a new energy business model that enables community investment, local community ownership & management of power and local training and employment opportunities.

Pingala will be partnering with indigenous energy corporation, AllGrid Energy, for the implementation phase of the project and a publicity campaign will be launching soon. You can register your interest in the meantime by following this link

September 2015 – Community energy updates and opportunities

See a range of funding, investment and donation opportunities below.  Also checkEnova Energy out the current opportunities to influence policy, upcoming events and recent community energy media.

Investment offers*

Donation opportunities

Funding opportunities

Policy and submissions

Yes to Renewables have a template about the VRET component

Victorian Community Solar Alliance are doing joint submissions – contactLinda Parlane

Events

Please let us know if you have had any media exposure and we’ll broadcast it through the C4CE networks – secretariat@c4ce.net.au

*Disclaimer: C4CE does not endorse or assume any responsibility for members, community groups or their initiatives.

2014 Congress Media

–TV–

New solar energy scheme to be driven by community
ABC1 7pm News Canberra, Mon 16 June
http://ab.co/1i3bhfa

–RADIO–

Live studio interview w/ Nicky Ison
666 ABC Canberra Sunday Brunch program, 10.15am Sun 15 June

Radio newsgrabs

2SM and Mix 106 ACT, 16 June

–PRINT–

The Liberal Party should be community energy’s number one fan (op-ed)
Canberra Times, Weds 18 June
http://bit.ly/1nizZpu

ACT invites mum and dad investors to back grass-roots solar
Canberra Times, Tues 17 June
http://bit.ly/1qmxqYp

–ONLINE–

Community energy in focus at Australian-first congress in Canberra
ABC News Online, Mon 16 June
http://ab.co/1iCAfgn
*Syndicated to Prime 7 and Yahoo!7 News

Community invited to submit proposals for ACT’s new solar energy scheme
ABC News Online, Mon 16 June
http://ab.co/1shxquF

Australia’s power struggle: Old politics vs new energy
RenewEconomy, Tues 17 June
http://bit.ly/1iicHlZ

ACT kicks off 1MW community solar program
RenewEconomy, Mon 16 June
http://bit.ly/U8hvj2

Farmers, activists warn against reducing renewable energy target on Global Wind Energy Day
SMH.com.au, Sun 15 June
http://bit.ly/1i0EcAH

National Community Energy Strategy launches

This week a consortium of organisations, led by ISF, has launched the National Community Energy Strategy for Australia –www.c4ce.net.au/nces.

Over the past 18 months, ISF has been leading the project with the support of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and in partnership with the Alternative Technology Association (ATA), Starfish Initiatives, Community Power Agency, Embark, Total Environment Centre and E2Q.

The Strategy provides a guide for any organisation – government, community sector or private – looking to help grow a vibrant community energy sector in Australia.

But what is community energy? Community energy projects help decarbonise, decentralise and democratise our energy system and demonstrate that a renewable powered future is possible. Practically, they are projects where the community develops, delivers and benefits from sustainable energy. It can involve supply-side projects such as renewable energy installations and storage, and demand-side projects such as energy efficiency and demand management. Great example projects include Hepburn and Denmark community wind farms, RePower Shoalhaven and the CORENA donation based projects.

The National Strategy is just one of many exciting developments within the Australian community energy sector which has now grown to 20 operating community energy projects and over 70 community energy groups across Australia.

As part of the National Strategy project a Baseline Collective Impact Assessment was undertaken. This found that to date the Australian community energy sector, while still new compared to places like Germany, the US and Scotland, has:

  • Contributed over AU$23 million in community funding for energy infrastructure
  • Installed over 9 MW of renewable energy systems
  • Produced over 50,000 MWh of clean energy (as of the end of 2014)
  • Avoided over 43,000 tonnes in carbon emissions
  • Developed a membership and supporter base of over 21,000 people (not including the support base of organisations like ATA, Embark and Community Power Agency that support community energy groups).

Other recent developments include the launch of a Guide to Community Solar. The guide introduces the models of community solar that are viable in the current context and a background as to why these models work and what constrains other options within the current regulatory context.

cost and cost reduction analysis of community energy projects has also been released, which looks into more detail behind the finances and financial viability of community energy project.

C4CE Membership is open

Will your organisation become one of the first members of C4CE?

You are cordially invited to become member of the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE).

After more than 2 years of work by many people and organisations, culminating in the launch of C4CE and the inaugural Community Energy Congress, we are excited to announce that C4CE membership is now open!

Complete the online membership form at http://www.c4ce.net.au/membership-application

C4CE Membership is open to any organisation, group, agency or project which can demonstrate a genuine involvement with community energy and a commitment to growing a vibrant community energy sector in Australia.

Opportunity

We have the opportunity to create an Australia where hundreds of communities benefit from developing, producing, distributing, selling, saving and buying energy assets and their output.  Overseas experience shows we can do this much more effectively if we do this together.

Will you join C4CE today and work collaboratively to make this vision a reality?

C4CE membership benefits:

  • Knowledge-sharing and capacity-building activities for community energy and C4CE facilitated collaboration across the sector
  • Access to the C4CE online community
  • Involvement in C4CE Strategic Initiatives and access to C4CE resources
  • Supporting a growing and coordinated voice to better advocate for the needs of the sector and have greater influence on the development of the sector
  • Participating in C4CE decision-making processes
  • Being eligible to nominate a representative for the Steering Group
  • Utilising C4CE branding (in accordance with the licence agreement)

Join the sector-wide community that is C4CE

Become an official C4CE member today by completing the online membership application.

Complete the online membership form today

We look forward to collaborating with your group or organisation as we make community energy a reality across Australia.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Community energy in focus at Australian-first congress in Canberra

This article was originally published on abc.net.au/news on 16.6.14

By Carl Smith

The growing number of community-led projects that generate their own power through renewable energy is the focus of Australia’s first Community Energy Congress, being held in Canberra this week.

Nicky Ison from the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute of Sustainable Futures said self-sufficient energy projects in towns and small communities were becoming more popular as people looked to transition away from fossil fuels.

“Community energy is fundamentally about community members coming together to develop, deliver and own community energy projects,” she said.

“We now have 50 community energy projects in development across every state and territory in Australia.”

Ms Ison said the projects were environmentally responsible, with social and economic benefits.

“Community energy is the sweet spot,” she said.

“Benefits include lower power bills, regional development opportunities – particularly by bringing new income streams into the community – also increased social capital, and directly acting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s got social benefits, it’s got environmental benefits, people do it for economic reasons, it’s an ethical investment.”

Simon Holmes a Court said the Hepburn Wind Project in Leonards Hill was proof the model works in Australia.

“It’s been generating power into the grid for three years now, we’ve generated more than 31,000 mega-watt hours of energy,” he said.

“We’ve put more power into the grid than our town uses in an average year.”

Hepburn Wind Project ‘widely supported by community’

Mr Holmes a Court said the project was widely supported in the community.

“There’s obviously the environmental concern but a lot of people in our community were really passionate about the social return,” he said.

“Our project is a big supporter of local groups within the community, and a local employer.

“There are about 24 people who have been staff or directors, who now have a great appreciation and a whole new skill-set.”

But organisations attending the Community Energy Congress said they were concerned about reduced Federal Government support for community-led projects.

Mr Holmes a Court said government support would help communities like Leonards Hill to grow.

“In 2008-09 we built our project predicated on strong support for renewable energy and we’re very concerned that the Government is backing away from that,” he said.

“In doing so they’ll damage a significant amount of value: social value and economic value in our area.

“We really hope that the Government takes very seriously the risk they’re putting our community in front of.”

Jarra Hicks from the Community Power Agency agreed that local renewable energy projects stimulated small societies and economies.

“This is a level of engagement with renewable energy that you can’t get any other way,” she said.

“It also builds relationships between people, and it keeps money in the local economy.

“When local shareholders own a portion of a renewable energy facility, that’s a benefit that stays in the community.”

Concerns raised over Renewable Energy Target review

In the lead up to the 2013 federal election, the Coalition promised to support a fixed 41,000 gigawatt-hour (GWh) target, equating to roughly 20 per cent of Australia’s expected energy requirements in 2020.

But a review of the target is underway, headed by self-professed climate change sceptic Dick Warburton.

Ms Ison said she was concerned the Government may wind back the Renewable Energy Target and that it could jeopardise current and future community energy projects.

“The renewable energy target and maintaining, or even expanding it, is crucial to the continued growth of community energy across Australia,” she said.

“All communities across the length and breadth of Australia can benefit from community renewable energy.”