2.30-4.30pm, Monday 27 February
The Main-Stream: Stories of Success
With over 50 fully operating community energy projects in Australia, it is possible to be inspired by what has already been achieved and is already happening. This is a big picture session which will illustrate the possibilities of community energy and showcase the stories of established community energy projects which are up and running, now generating electricity or very close to it.
This session is especially well suited to community groups, local government and industry stakeholders who are new to community energy or are still on the journey to their first success.
Our presenters will share their first-hand experiences and what their success took in terms of the challenges they faced and overcame, what enthused and sustained them, and the lessons they learnt along the way.
The session is structured in two parts. First, a series of presentations to give us a snapshot of each of these success stories. Second, an interactive format to allow you to ask questions and discuss particular areas most relevant to your own community energy interests and projects.
Growth through partnerships: Working with Renewable Energy Developers
This participatory session brings together experts talking about the mid to large scale renewable projects, what they can mean for communities both in regards to partnerships and local benefits – how can communities partner with developers and how can they get ready for the coming energy transition.
The session is structured in two parts. First, a series of presentations to give us a snapshot of a range of case studies and topics including:
- Learnings from the current research project ‘Enhancing Social Outcomes in Wind Development’
- Learnings from ACT Auction process and innovations in community benefits
- A case study – the CWP Sapphire Wind Farm community investment testing
- Case Study – The Woodend Wind Farm and WestWind community developer partnership
- How we prepare for our coming energy transition and create as much local benefit as possible
Second, an interactive format to allow you to ask questions and discuss particular areas most relevant to your own community energy interests and projects.
Doing it! Community Energy Financing, Legals and Risk
This participatory session brings together experts from the community energy, legal and finance sectors to share their experience and advice in pulling together complex community renewable energy projects and mitigating risk. The session is aimed at community energy project leaders developing their first investment model or making the transition from a donations model, as well as lawyers, finance professionals and others interested in the community energy space. The workshop runs over two hours and will cover :
- Legal structures and agreements required for community energy projects
- An introduction to the Community Energy Finance Toolkit and key financing lessons & tips
- Risk management and assessment tools.
We also aim to undertake a participatory ‘risk assessment mapping’ exercise to identify and rate various forms of risk commonly experienced in community energy projects, and develop mitigation strategies against them.
Energy Justice: Community Energy and Fossil Fuel Affected Communities
Community energy projects are emerging all over the world as people try to find ways to either transition their regional economy away from fossil fuels, or to avoid new projects being established. In this session, local leaders will share how they are working to build new energy systems while strengthening their local economy. Come and hear how these projects got started, the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them.
Skill-up: Grabbing headlines
About to launch your community energy project? Or wish to celebrate a milestone in your venture? This Climate Media Centre workshop will help you maximise publicity by capturing the media’s attention. Grabbing headlines can inspire others to get involved and support your project, or even inspire them to build their own.
Across two hours you will get the insider’s guide to the way the media operates, and how to make your story or launch more attractive so it is reported on. As well as getting practical tips on how to scrap the tech talk for compelling messages, you’ll learn how to pitch to journalists and producers and build relationships to make the most out of your local paper and radio station. Media interviews need to be punchy and to the point. A handy guide to launching events will also be made available to attendees.
The Main-stream: Back to the Future Part I
Growth through partnerships: Working with Network Companies
The transformation of the electricity network is certainly now upon us. Years of environmental advocacy, rapid technology advances and shifts in consumer demand are driving an unprecedented shake up of our century-old supply network. With this change come opportunities (and some risks) to harness the value of renewable energy across the grid as we drive towards zero emissions.
Community renewable projects are often daunted by the myriad of processed to connect to the grid and frustrated when they don’t receive a fair price for their homegrown generation. On the other side of the fence, network operators have been aggrieved by the need to manage the technical impacts of connecting variable generation while traditional business models ‘death spiral’ from lower consumption. New partnerships are emerging with networks, communities and technology providers that are finding value resolving past frustrations and identifying ‘win, win, win’ projects.
Join Bruce Thompson, founding Chair of C4CE and now partnerships manager at Greensync and a panel of representatives from network companies, community energy groups and technology companies to better understand where community energy projects can work with rather than against networks to transform the grid to enable 100% renewables, improve affordability for all whilst maintaining safety and reliability.
Doing it!: Models of Community Solar Training
Developing a community energy project is a complex affair. There are now almost 90 community energy groups in Australia but only a small number of those have successfully completed any projects and even fewer have completed more than one project. Rather than reinventing the wheel, the fastest way for your group to complete a solar project is to adopt and possibly adapt an existing, proven model.
This training session will be spread across two break-out sessions on day two of the Congress. The community members involved with developing the proven models will be there to share their knowledge and expertise with you. There will be learning activities built into the structure of the training to ensure you’ve applied the learnings to your project’s own situation and taken advantage of having direct access to these experts.
After a short overview of the successful models for community solar, the training will break into three focus areas covering the major categories of: donation, investment and multi-household. Each of these areas will explore the “top three” elements that you need to get right if you’re going to be successful in applying the model in your community.
Energy Justice: Aboriginal Renewable Energy
Workshop – Renewable energy in Canadian First Nations; what can we learn for Canada for Aboriginal communities in Australia
Canadian First Nations have been rebuilding their communities over the past 15 years with successful renewable energy projects that are bringing pride and increasing the wellbeing of each community. These successful hydro and solar projects represent not only the critical importance of clean energy, but the central role the natural world plays; a force that has guided and inspired these nations for thousands of years. This connection to the power of the natural systems that govern all life, are at the heart of these projects. It is with this understanding that these communities plan 100 years into the future for their children and their children’s children.
In this workshop you will hear from Chief Gordon Planes and Melina Laboucan-Massimo. They will particularly focus on the possibilities and potential of renewable energy in First Nations communities. What are the ownership models? What technology is most appropriate? How do you ensure tangible outcomes beyond technical installations that bring real solutions for the communities? What are the specific policies that have enabled the success and number of projects to get over the line? In short, what can we learn from Canadian Nation’s success for communities here in Australia.
If you’re working with sustainable projects in communities across Australia, have a particular interest in social justice or know a community that is interested in renewable energy; then come along and hear first hand how it can be done. A hands on, practical, informative, inspirational session on all the possible ways renewable energy can empower, rebuild, upskill, increase resilience in community.
Skill-up: Who’s with you? How to build community and political support for your project
Is building a stronger community of renewable energy supporters an aim of your project? Are you having trouble getting the backing of your local representatives of whatever political stripe? Come join us for this session to explore why it’s so important to build community and political support for your community energy project – and what that looks and feels like.
We’ll be talking about what it takes to get deep community ownership and grow your team from a handful of hardworking legends to a town hall full of people playing a meaningful role in making your project happen. We’ll also talk about what it would take to overcome political barriers that are holding your project back and how you can persuade your councillors, MPs and other gatekeepers to champion your cause – or work around them if they just don’t get it.
We will hear about inspiring real world examples and discuss some techniques and resources to help you take your project to the next level.
Part II of Models of Community Solar Training, How to build community and political support for your project continue as described above in Breakout #2 sessions.
The Main-stream: Back to the Future Part II
Energy Justice: Empowering vulnerable communities
A facilitated panel and participant discussion about the ways in which low income, locked-out and vulnerable Australians are experiencing the energy transition, and key options and examples of solutions to improve their participation in this transition.
Growth through partnerships: Working with Retailers
This session puts innovative energy retailer partnerships sharply in focus, to understand how partnerships between community energy groups / projects and retailers can be created for mutual benefit. We’ll hear from a variety of retailers on the partnership models they are rolling out that have big potential to accelerate community energy and there will be an opportunity to hear from community energy groups on the way they are partnering with retailers.
There are many options available to working with retailers including entering into a power purchase agreement, which reduces the risk of energy market fluctuations for exported energy from community energy projects, providing billing and licensing support and delivering social benefit through a community ownership model.
There’ll be plenty of time for questions and to discuss potential partnership arrangements directly with our panel which includes Congress sponsors Powershop and Energy Locals and community owned retailer Enova!