With just 5 short weeks before Congress 2017 throws open it’s doors, it’s time to remind friends and colleagues who haven’t yet got their tickets that this watershed moment in the history of Australian community energy is not to be missed!

Those in attendance will tell their grandchildren they were there when Candace Vahlsing ignited the crowd at Melbourne Town Hall with the successes of the Obama administration. And Melina Laboucan-Massimo inspired everyone with her experiences spearheading renewables projects in Canada. And Soren Hermansen, the man who masterminded the world’s first 100% renewable island, provided some remarkable insights on how it was done.

Real stories of real people achieving amazing things through innovation and community action. Did we say not to be missed? 

REGISTER NOW! Still undecided? Our daggy rego video might be just what you need.

However, we know that not everyone on the C4CE mailing list will be able to attend the Congress, that’s why we’ve included a snapshot of how the community energy sector is tracking in Australia up the top of this newsletter.

In this newsletter we cover:

  • Community Energy Status Update
  • Chris Picton MP & Shane Rattenbury MLA confirmed
  • Speaker profiles – Craig Chapelle & Shota Furuya
  • NEW – SA Government sponsorship offer – ends 2 Feb so enquire NOW!
  • Tasmanian Government offer ending in 2 days
  • Last chance for group discounts
  • And more…

**We’re also putting the feelers out for a Volunteer Coordinator (handsomely rewarded). If this is of interest, or if you would like to volunteer at Congress 2017, please email Steve.**

Looking forward to seeing you in Melbourne in February!

Nicky and Steve
Congress 2017 Organising Team

Status of Community Energy in Australia

Australia’s energy system is in the news a lot at the moment. The Australian newspaper seems to be on a rampage with at least two stories each day singing the virtues of fossil fuels. In more promising news, the Australian Energy Market Operator just hired a new CEO – one of the main brains behind New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision. While all this plays out more than 80 communities across Australia getting on with the job of developing community clean energy projects.

In the last six months we’ve seen Pingala, Lismore Farming the Sun and Sydney Renewable Power Company all launch. Clearsky Solar Investments, Repower Shoalhaven and CORENA continue their growing track record of successful community energy projects. And keep your eyes pealed for the launch of a new community solar project in the sunshine state in the next couple of months.

The number of community energy projects now number more than 50. You can check out the latest maps of community energy groups and projects here. If we’ve missed anything or should make a change send Tom an email.

We’ve also seen increased interest from state governments in community energy, particularly in Victoria and NSW.  This has been keeping member groups of C4CE busy submission writing.  We hope we will hear more about the outcomes of these consultations at the Congress.

SA ticket sponsorship!

The Conservation Council SA is partnering with the Government of South Australia to support 10 community members to attend the Community Energy Congress. For your chance to be selected as a participant, please email a short summary explaining what you hope to gain for your organisation by attending to Heather Smith by 2 February 2017, at heather@changingweather.com.au

Volunteering at Congress 2017

For those keen to attend Congress 2017 on a budget, or for those who just love volunteering, we’d like to offer the opportunity to join our vollie team. Numerous enquiries have been coming through, and we’d now like to throw it open to anyone.

We value our volunteers very highly. It is our intention that volunteering at Congress 2017 be a most rewarding experience, one that provides a unique opportunity for professional networking, learning and great satisfaction. If keen to volunteer, to please email Steve for more information.

In addition, we’re looking for a motivated Volunteer Coordinator to help oversee this process and be the onsite go-to person for all Congress volunteers. Handsomely rewarded, this position comes with some very special perks for the right person. Please enquire within.

Political leaders confirmed for Congress 2017 

Chris Picton MP
With South Australia one of the top jurisdictions in the world for renewables, we are pleased to announce that Chris Picton MP, Assistant Minister to the Treasurer (and Energy Minister) of South Australia will be joining us at the Congress for the Unlocking the potential of Community Energy session.  Check out the Congress website for more about Chris.  

Shane Rattenbury MLA
With a commitment to 100% renewables by 2020 and a practical plan to achieve it, we are excited to announce that ACT Energy Minister Shane Rattenbury will be joining us at the Congress.  Shane is a Greens MLA and has been a Member of the ACT Legislative Assembly since 2008. In 2012 Shane negotiated an Agreement that locked in a target of 90% renewable electricity consumption by 2020.   For more on Shane check out the C4CE website. 

Group discounts available til 31 Jan

Group discounts are a great way to save some money on registration costs and attend the event with friends and colleagues. Until 31 January we are offering 5% off for groups of 5 or more, 10% off for 10 or more. Email here for details and to register your interest.

Once you have received your unique ID code, members of your group can register and pay themselves in their own time, no need to register all together. Offer expires 31 Jan – we look forward to seeing you at the Congress!

Tassie offer ends 27 Jan!

The Tasmanian Climate Change Office will cover registration costs for a small number of Tasmanian community group attendees. Details are still being finalised but If you are interested email climatechange@dpac.tas.gov.au (assistance will be still be available if you have already paid your registration).

Places are limited, so be quick! Offer ends 27 January at 3pm.

The most important thing to make the Community Energy Congress a success is you and your community coming and participating. SO REGISTER NOW!

Meet some more of our esteemed presenters…

In the next few weeks we will be announcing the more than 50 speakers, presenters and facilitators in the 12 Congress breakout sessions, but we thought we’d give you a sneak peak of two today…

Dr. Shota Furuya is a researcher at Institute for Sustainable Energy Policies (ISEP) based in Tokyo. He will be joining the Just Transition session at the Congress, to talk about his role in facilitating community energy in Fukushima – a community facing a huge energy transition.  In addition to research and practical support for community based renewable energy development, Shota has actively engaged in editing and publishing a number of pieces on Energy-Democracy.

Craig Chapelle has been a resident of Denmark, WA for 34 years and an active environmentalist for 33.5 of them. He was a shire councillor from 1996 to 2003, and is a founder and director of the Denmark Community Windfarm project. Following two years of research into renewable energy alternatives for the small southern WA coastal town, population 5500, the windfarm project became “official” in 2003.

In 2011, following final planning approval, the founding not-for-profit organisation passed the project to DCW Ltd, a public company owned by 116 shareholders – nearly all of whom are local residents – to build and operate the 1.6MW windfarm. The turbines began to turn in March 2013, and provide around 55% of local domestic energy demand annually.  Craig will be sharing the story of Denmark Community Wind in the Stories of Success breakout session.