Returning Power to Communities
Communities are becoming more concerned about the impacts of climate change and with the continual increase in energy prices are looking to be able to take local action to secure their sustainable future. We want to make a difference. Being involved in community energy enables communities. Renewable energy provides an opportunity to bringing power back to communities, with such a large availability of free solar energy from the sun - it is crazy for us to not leverage this important resource.
Over 100 communities across Australia have already begun to understand the many opportunities and benefits of having a reliable decentralised renewable energy power supply; enabling reliable and lower cost energy supply but also bringing communities together!
With the recent empowerment and mobilisation of the younger generations and their interest in climate change action, this is a perfect time to explore community renewable energy projects. Refer to Sienna (aged 10) who highlights the opportunity for community energy!
As communities all over Australia are becoming empowered to mobilise decentralised community energy projects, there are a number of supporting tools and mechanisms now available to assist in fast tracking this process. One such tool is the Community Renewable Energy Financing toolkit which provides information needed for communities to develop a community energy project.
Many case examples are also available, with the Community Energy Financing Toolkit providing helpful hints and advice. One such project was in Pingala NSW, where the community was extremely successfully in coming together to deliver on a solar powered brewery in the heart of Sydney. One of their keys to success was the community engagement process they undertook, which is why the group was successful in raising the funds within 10 minutes of opening the opportunity into the community
Advice to Communities wanting to more community energy in their community:
Review the lessons learnt by other community energy projects and review the Community Renewable Energy Financing Toolkit! You can also:
- Engage with other members of the community to align interested parties including lobbying your local council for investment and support. Check with your council on whether there are local community groups already in your area. - Identify what local skills and experience exists within your local community - Identify sites suitable for community renewable energy - Support by buying green energy from local projects - Obtain a project sponsor to get initial funds to explore community renewable energy possibilities. - If you have a project approach Frontier Impact Group
What can you do if you are an individual and you would like to help:
Reach out to your local council – there are many community energy groups forming as they are a good connect to advise on who you can approach Reach out to Frontier Impact Group
Register for interest in a workshop on the Community Energy Financing Toolkit and providing training and education [refer to link on FIG website and details of training]
Register an interest if you have a renewable energy project and would like help with development or financing [refer to link on FIG website for being able to make comments]. Project types include:
- Solar PV - Solar storage - Micro-grids - Bioenergy - Hydro
How we can we help:
We have developed the Community Renewable Community Energy financing toolkit [add to website] and have trained over 300 people in 15 locations across Australia.
During this time, we have assisted in the development of over 30 pre-feasibilities and would like to assist communities to do more! The workshop success was very high for 99% of the attendees and they got value from a number of areas from project development, reviewing case studies, reviewing financial templates and many others that you can see in the flyer attached.