Community power potential a vital piece of energy jigsaw
As the government grapples with energy policy, Independent Member for Indi Cathy McGowan has called on it to recognise the potential of community energy projects.
Introducing the Renewable Energy Legislation Amendment (Supporting Renewable Communities) Bill 2017 to the Parliament, Ms McGowan said communities across Indi were “ready to go” with local solutions to tackle rising energy costs and security.
Ms McGowan is proposing a dedicated focus in funding for community energy projects from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
“There are 90 community energy projects across Australia – 75% of them are in regional Australia,” Ms McGowan said.
“As an independent representative I’m asking the government to hear the community’s message that local power generation is a vital piece of a dynamic national approach, together with baseload projects and other initiatives,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan said that communities in North East Victoria were ready to play a role in developing local energy solutions. Examples include Totally Renewable Yackandandah, Winton Wetlands, Wangaratta Sustainability Network, Renewable Albury Wodonga, Benalla Sustainable Future Group, Murrindindi Climate Network, Up2Us Landcare Mansfield and Indigo Council.
“Communities are working in partnership with local and state governments to address supply and demand. They are developing renewable energy installation and storage, energy and efficiency and community education,” Ms McGowan said.
“The piece that is missing is the Commonwealth. The Government knows that the agency best placed to support the community energy sector is ARENA.”