Climate change the big motivator behind growing community energy trend

Survey shows communities are stepping up as federal government delays

MEDIA RELEASE: Sunday, 26 February 2017

Australians investing in locally designed, owned and operated renewable energy projects say climate change is the main motivating factor.

A survey released today by the Coalition for Community Energy found more than 80 per cent of respondents said reducing pollution was the key reason for getting involved in community energy.

C4CE Coordinator Nicky Ison said it was clear that people are stepping up where the country’s politicians were falling short.

“The federal government is letting the country down on growing renewable energy, and rather than getting angry this is motivating a growing number of Australians to step up and take action in their local communities.

“Our survey reveals that 78 per cent of people have invested personal time into a community energy project, and about one third (31.5%) have invested their own money,” Ms Ison said.

Another key motivating factor was saving money, with a quarter of respondents saying that community energy could help protect them from increasing power prices.

Other popular reasons cited for getting involved in community energy were: supporting local organisations or community; attracting local jobs or investment; taking back control of their energy; and addressing disadvantage.

Almost all survey respondents were critical of the level of support offered to the burgeoning community energy sector by the federal government with 59% describing the current government as “extremely unsupportive” and a further 46% as “not that supportive”. However, not all governments are seen to be dragging their feet.

“Two thirds of respondents said state and local governments are generally supportive of community energy,” Ms Ison said.

More than 100 attendees were surveyed ahead of the national Community Energy Congress in Melbourne, which begins tomorrow and runs until Tuesday 28 February. Highlights include:

  • Denmark’s Soren Hermansen, who helped to create the world’s first 100% renewable island.
  • Candace Vahlsing, former US President Barack Obama’s energy and environment advisor and key architect of the national Community Solar Partnership.
  • A gathering of Indigenous leaders from Canada and Aboriginal Elders and Leaders from Australia.
  • A speed dating event with community energy experts.

There are limited media passes available for this event.

For full survey results, media pass access to the Congress or more information: Keryn O’Donnell on 0418 603 663 or Dinah Arndt on 0425 791 394 or dinah@climatemediacentre.org.au

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