Report Released: Recommendations for Mobilising Community Energy Projects
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia — Frontier Impact Group (FIG) led the development of the Community Renewable Energy Financing Toolkit which was supported by a series of workshops in fifteen towns and cities across Australia. Workshop participants were provided with advice, mentoring and direct experience, through the use of localised case studies, to refine their own project plans and build capacity in project implementation. As a result, FIG assisted with over 100 feasibilities, many of which have been installed or are progressing, trained 300 people including council members, community energy developers, solar developers and financiers throughout the country, resulting in 320kW of community energy projects being implemented.
Following these trainings and feasability assessments, Frontier Impact Group conducted a community survey of financiers, equity providers and community project developers and found that smaller community projects (between 1 MW to 10 MW) were the most difficult to fund and that a new financial model needed to be established. This report looks at the gaps in funding and proposes solutions.
The key solutions that will provide the capacity to aggregate the smaller scale market are listed below:
Ongoing support for maintenance of the toolkit, as well as new guidebooks and financial templates for other technology types.
A due diligence service comprised of an independent accreditation model. This would particularly help the projects that are in the 1 MW – 10 MW range. FIG could be appointed by an external organisation such as a council, state government, university, investor to undertake an accreditation of the project which will reduce the risk of non-delivery of the project. Where there are gaps found in the accreditation, FIG can provide solutions to address these gaps.
Develop a specialist fund – such a fund would include impact investors, financiers and retailer customers interested in participating and will streamline the investment process for community energy groups. The fund could have access to government funds, and through a mix of government and private sector funding, could achieve more positive investment outcomes than either sector could achieve individually. The key for government involvement is to take the highest risk capital to enable private sector funds to flow into the sector. Funds contributed by the government could be a loan rather than a grant and support an extensive pipeline of renewable energy projects for investment.
Centralised community energy information hub and delivery groups. FIG’s accreditation model and fund would support these groups as part of a capacity building model.
About Frontier Impact Group
Frontier Impact Group is a climate solutions advisory and investment firm, deploying specialist expertise at scale to drive financially viable, planet friendly solutions and accelerate the global race to net zero.
Frontier Impact Group works directly and strategically with future-focused businesses on high impact projects across the globe to deliver exceptional environmental and commercial outcomes. Frontier Impact Group’s key activities focus on the clean energy transition, waste and water management, and carbon project development focused on land protection and regeneration activities.
As pioneers in climate solutions, they use their cutting-edge technology, unique insights, and sophisticated financial models to provide comprehensive climate solutions advisory and project development capability to support the businesses of the future as they shape their climate strategy, business models and financing in the global race to net zero.