Did you know that two years ago President Obama set a target of 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar for low and moderate income families by 2020? Energy justice initiatives like this one are a key focus of the 2017 Community Energy Congress.  That is why we’re extremely excited to announce the architect behind Obama’s community solar policies – Senior White House Policy advisor Candace Vahlsing as a keynote speaker at Congress 2017.  

Continuing the theme of energy justice we are also pleased to say that Congress 2017 will see Aboriginal leaders from across Australia come together and tell their story of how clean energy is empowering their communities.

These are just two exciting annoucements in a jam-packed newsletter.
Read on for:

  • SV sponsorship for regional Victorian groups
  • A video from Soren Hermansen talking about why he’s excited to come to Australia for the Community Energy Congress
  • Outlines of 6 breakout sessions
  • Updated discounts and offers
  • And more…

We know with 10 days to go before Christmas you’re really busy with end of year deadlines, parties, family and the list goes on. But February 2017 will be here before you know it and with early bird discounts on offer until Christmas Eve it’s A REALLY GOOD IDEA to register now. It will take you less than 5 minutes – there is no more cost effective way to attend Congress 2017.


To apply for group discounts, please email congress@c4ce.net.au.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Melbourne in February.

Nicky and Steve
Congress 2017 Organising Team

Renewable energy in Aboriginal communities

“Combining the community energy story with Aboriginal community rebuilding, where solar is the catalyst and protecting country is at the core”.

This years Community Energy Congress has an exciting addition to the program, where Aboriginal Leaders from across Australia are being invited to come and share their experiences, visions and plans for renewable energy in their communities. These are compelling and exciting stories, demonstrating the power of locally produced, community energy projects for Nations across the country. Of course, technology is the catalyst, not the end-point; healing and cultural celebration are critical, to enable on the merging of ancient wisdom with contemporary sustainable technologies.

We are also inviting two Leaders from First Nations communities in Canada, where there are over 300 community energy projects run by Aboriginal communities; with many different forms of generation technologies, partnership models, ownership structures, histories and stories. It will be incredibly inspiring to hear what it’s been like for Nations across North America, an amazing opportunity to see what’s possible.

International keynote announcement – Candice Vahlsing!

Candace Vahlsing is the Senior Policy Advisor for Energy and Climate Change at the White House Domestic Policy Council. She oversees a variety of Presidential policy priorities in the energy and climate change portfolio on both domestic and international topics. Prior to this role, she worked at the White House Council on Environmental Policy and for the California Air Resources Board.

Candace has led the White House’s major community energy policy initiatives, including the National Community Solar Partnership and the Clean Energy Savings For All Initiative. These initiatives are to support President Obama’s goal to bring 1 gigawatt (GW) of solar to low and moderate income families by 2020, test new business models that expand solar access, build local capacity to support community-scale solar projects, and establish resources that will aid in expanding solar access to underserved communities. The initiatives also focus on energy efficiency and public housing.

SV sponsorship, fundraising and more!

We’re delighted to announce that our friends at Sustainability Victoria (SV) are offering registration support for regional Victorian groups keen to attend the congress. They have agreed to sponsor a limited number of registrations and we will endeavour to share them fairly and widely across regional Victoria, giving priority to groups that have the furthest to travel.

There are limited places so get in quick! Contact taryn@embark.com.au to show your interest and be provided with further details and a discount code.

Funds an issue?
If fundraising is presenting a problem, please consult our Congress Fundraising Guide for some handy tips. And don’t forget early bird tickets are available until Xmas eve and group discounts apply until 31 Jan 2017.

Future Super
To support this year’s Congress, Future Super is offering a $100 discount off the Congress registration price to Future Super members. Future Super is Australia’s first 100% fossil fuel free super fund and the world’s first carbon neutral pension fund. They invest in positive, profitable and sustainable activities, including Australian renewable energy projects.

Make the switch to Future Super in minutes and claim your Congress discount. Current Future Super members should contact Future Super to receive your discount code.
Remember the most important thing to make the Community Energy Congress a success is you and your community coming and participating. SO REGISTER NOW!

The juice on Congress breakouts

It’s no secret that many of the most progressive and pragmatic ideas at conferences emerge during the breakout sessions. With that in mind, we’re very excited to give you an overview of some of the breakout sessions at Congress 2017. More detailed information on these sessions will be placed here in the coming weeks, but for now here’s just a few:

How to: Models of community solar – the majority of existing community energy groups have not yet completed their first project. This session seeks to build on the capacity for new and existing groups to adopt and adapt the most successful and replicable models for community energy.

Meeting the challenges of the energy transition – this session will showcase what the future is for community and mainstream actors alike, offering up innovative technology, business models, partnerships and inspiration for what the future of our energy system holds.

Working with retailers – innovative energy retailer partnerships will be placed sharply in focus to understand how partnerships between community energy groups / projects and retailers can be created for mutual benefit.

Finance, legals & risk – this participatory workshop brings together experts from the community energy, legal and finance sectors to share their unique experience in managing complex projects and mitigating risk.

Stories of success – this session aims to inspire the possibility of more community energy projects, celebrate achievements, acknowledge challenges and showcase a range of community energy stories of success.

Working with network companies – to achieve 100% renewables we need a grid that is safe, reliable and least cost to generate, transport and store our energy. Join the discussion on how new ways of communities working with network companies is unlocking value for customers, communities and the networks themselves.

For more information check-out the program page of the Congress 2017 website.

Congress Sponsorship

The most important thing to make the Community Energy Congress a success is you and your community coming and participating. So register now!

However, the Congress would not be possible without our sponsors. We would like to thank our Platinum sponsors the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Future Super, City of Melbourne, Energy Locals and Yingli. As well as our Bronze sponsors Powershop and Infigen Energy.

If your organisation would like to find out more about Congress 2017 sponsorship options please get in touch at secretariat@c4ce.net.au.

It is our intention that Congress 2017 will be truly representative of the community energy sector in Australia. To do that we need your help, so we encourage you to continue sharing the congress far and wide. Our E-flyer and Welcome Video provide a great introduction and the new Soren teaser video is great too. You can of course also stay up to date by following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Stay informed.

Join our mailing list and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the congress as it approaches.