The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) became a key supporter of the emerging Australian community energy sector in November 2013 when it announced substantial funding for the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE), led by UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures, to help catalyse community renewable projects around the country.
The ARENA funding will go to develop a Community Energy Strategy for Australia. The strategy is currently under development. As part of the Strategy development process, the Coalition for Community Energy is organising the inaugural Community Energy Congress, to be held in Canberra from 16 to 17 June, 2014.
ISF project leader Nicky Ison said community renewables encourage regional economic development, create local jobs and represent an opportunity for Australians to play an active role in where their electricity comes from.
“Community-owned renewable energy projects put power in the hands of Australian towns and suburbs, providing an exciting opportunity, particularly for renters, to get involved in Australia’s renewable energy future,” Ms Ison said.
“ARENA’s support will help us develop a strategic approach to take this promising and committed part of the Australian renewable energy sector forward.”
ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said community renewables projects are of national benefit as they encourage community support for renewables, helping the development of other projects across Australia.
ARENA is providing $165,280 for C4CE to investigate funding models, skills and regulatory barriers for community renewable projects through research, workshops and the inaugural Congress,” Mr Frischknecht said.
“This project brings key players in the sector together to investigate the challenges and opportunities of community renewable projects and chart a pathway for the sector to tap into its potential.”