Fund Community Energy Campaign

Fund Community Energy Campaign

Right across Australia local communities are working hard to set up community-owned renewable energy projects to power their towns and buildings. But, like any new industry, they need financial assistance to achieve this. Communities unlike corporations don’t have large reserves of capital to draw on, making access to early stage funding one of the biggest barriers to a vibrant community energy sector in Australia.

Building on successful grant funds for community energy across the world, this campaign is calling on the federal government to establish a $50 million grant program to support the development stage of community renewable energy projects.

Specifically, a new fund would help projects through the difficult early stages – from inception, feasibility studies, planning approval, all the way to becoming investment-ready. Economic modelling has shown support now could kick-start the community-energy sector and unlock over $800 million in community investment.


Status:
 The Fund Community Energy Campaign started in May 2013, it is currently being reviewed for the 2016 federal election.

Initiative lead: Community Power Agency

Initiative funder: Philanthropic donations

Contact details: for more information about the Fund Community Energy Campaign contact Manny Pasqualini on manny@cpagency.org.au.

To find out more and get involved in the campaign go to: www.fundcommunityenergy.org/fund_community_energy

Virtual Net Metering

This Strategic Initiative of the C4CE is a project primarily funded by the Consumer Advocacy Panel, managed by the Total Environment Centre and undertaken by the Institute for Sustainable Futures at UTS. The Steering Group also includes the Alternative Technology Association and Sustainable Regional Australia. The City of Sydney is a key project partner.

Currently community energy projects are only viable if they are large scale and compete on the wholesale market (such as Hepburn Wind), or if they operate ‘behind the meter’ (such as community solar on commercial sites), attracting close to retail value for their generated energy. This restricts projects to specific sites with sufficient available load, and limits the opportunities for CE projects to sell energy to their members.

Virtual Net Metering (VNM) is a proposed arrangement that would overcome this barrier by allowing distributed generators to assign their ‘exported’ electricity generation to other nearby sites. In doing so it would provide distributed community energy projects with a fair price for the energy they generate and export to the grid. The project involves the identification and development of specific methodologies to value the contribution of local exports to the electricity grid, underpinned by the principles of cost and value reflectivity. The ultimate goal of the three-stage project is the development of a Rule Change Proposal to allow VNM on public electricity grids, which would see appropriate charging for local use of the system, and a new business model for electricity networks into the future.

Status: The first two stages of investigating VNM have been completed.  ISF currently has funding from ARENA to undertake further research, including undertaking trials in five locations.  However, this is not a Strategic Initiative of C4CE, though a C4CE representative sits on the reference group.

Initiative lead: Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney

Initiative funder: City of Sydney, Total Environment Centre, Consumer Advocacy Panel

Contact details: for more information contact Edward Langham on Edward.Langham@uts.edu.au, 02 9514 4971.

Renewables for All

The Renewables for All advocacy project was undertaken to help 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.

Specifically, through this project we advocated to 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.

Through a series of discussion papers, state-based workshops in NSW, Qld, Vic, SA and the ACT a series of priority models were identified that show promise for increasing clean energy affordability and accessibility to those who most need it.

This project resulted in six policy briefing papers that set out what governments can do to support renewables for all.

Renewables for All – A Priority Energy Policy Agenda for Australia

Solar Gardens

Rates-based financing and Rent-based financing

Community owned renewable energy 

Mini Grids and embedded networks

Initiative lead: Community Power Agency

Initiative partners: Starfish Initiatives, Solar Share, Energetic Communities, Conservation Council of South Australia

Initiative funder: Energy Consumers Australia

Advocating for Community Energy

Have you ever thought of approaching your local member to support community energy?

The programs that have been delivered by governments, particularly in NSW and Victoria, have grown out of many conversations between community energy advocates, MPs, Ministers and their advisers.

Every conversation counts and helps build an awareness of the benefits community energy. We are local, and we’ve shown our communities what an energy transition can look like in reality. We can take credit for starting important conversations about making our energy future work for everyone.

In Victoria we’ve congratulated the Government on the work they’ve done so far and advocated for:

  • A community energy target
  • A smart energy communities program
  • A solar-for-all program

Read our 2019 C4CE submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Tackling Climate Change in Victorian Communities for more information.

In South Australia we’ve highlighted that the government has only offered minimal support to date and is missing out on unlocking community action. We’ve asked for a deliberate conversation, possibly through a Parliamentary Friends forum, with the view to committing to a longer term community energy program.

Feel free to use our word document (Community Energy for SA support) as a template if you are talking to politicians about community energy.

Join us in 2019

Watch our short video here

Join the Board of the Coalition for Community Energy and make a difference in creating a renewable future. C4CE plays a very important role in growing and strengthening the community energy sector in Australia and the Board is essential to this task. We are looking for people with passion to provide leadership and governance oversight to drive the community energy sector in an exciting time of change.

Fill in the online form or below (Deadline 13th Jan) to nominate for the C4CE Board and you are encouraged to nominate for committees as well or instead

Please read the full PDF (or word) describing us and the role. You can fill in the online form, the form below or the Word version and submit by 13th January 2019  (email to secretariat@c4ce.net.au)

Gavin Ashley – 0405 324 167 or Vikki McLeod – 0427 845 622 would love to chat to you about joining and what’s involved.

You can nominate for any of the following:

  • Board
  • Governance Committee
  • Membership and Communications Committee
  • Research Committee
  • Congress Committee
  • Other volunteering



C4CE and Embark join forces


Over the past three years the Coalition for Community Energy has been hosted by the Alternative Technology Association.  C4CE has grown to now more than 90 member organisations and has held two extremely successful Community Energy Congresses. Read more

Project Showcase: Hepburn Wind releases Community Green offset product

Australia’s flagship community energy project is 5 years old and they continue to innovate (and to pump out clean energy from wind).  “Community Green” is Hepburn Wind’s carbon offset program based on businesses, organisations and individuals purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated by the two wind turbines.  The best bit? – they extinguish the certificates, creating more demand for renewable energy in the energy market.

Find out more https://www.hepburnwind.com.au/community-green-offset/

As mentioned, Hepburn is 5 years old and they tell us they’ve created 50,000,000kWh of clean energy, harvested from the wind just outside Daylesford in Victoria.

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