ALP promises to boost community-led clean energy projects
Community Power Agency welcomes promise to expand support network
Federal Labor’s climate policy promises to kick-start clean energy projects and boost community access to renewable energy across Australia, the Community Power Agency says.
The ALP has today announced it will spend $98.7 million over four years to develop a Community Power Network as part of the party’s wider Climate and Energy policy package.
Community Power Hubs will provide legal and technical expertise as well as start-up funding to help communities build and run their own clean energy projects.
The Community Power Agency’s Nicky Ison says there are more than 70 community groups across the country already working to create clean energy projects like Hepburn Wind in Victoria and the Nimbin Community Solar Farm in NSW.
“The combination of 10 Community Power Hubs and competitive grants will support community energy in Australia to follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany, where 47 per cent of all installed renewables is owned by citizens and communities,” Ms Ison said.
“Communities play a hugely important leadership role in the transition to clean energy here and around the world.
“Community energy initiatives also play an important part in overcoming market failures that prevent renters, low-income households and apartment dwellers from accessing the benefits of household solar.”
Ms Ison says regional Australia stands to gain the most if the country embraces the global renewable energy boom.
“This policy is also a huge win for regional Australia, as it will support farmer bioenergy projects and help develop new business models that enable regional communities to invest in and directly benefit from large wind and solar farms. This in turn will ensure a greater share of the renewables investment boom stays circulating in regional and local economies.”
The ALP’s Community Power Network and Regional Hubs policy draws inspiration from the Community Powerhouses policy outlined in GetUp and Solar Citizens’ Homegrown Power Plan, of which Nicky Ison was a co-author.
The Community Powerhouses policy envisages a network of 50 Community Power Hubs, supporting local energy projects across Australia for a decade.
“We look forward to seeing an extension and scale up of the ALP’s Community Power Network after a successful first four years,” Ms Ison said.
The Community Power Agency is one of the country’s leading community energy organisations. It helps community groups navigate the complex process of setting up a community owned renewable energy.