Here are three things I learnt last week at the “Spark!” two-day clean energy conference organised by the Moreland Energy Foundation in Melbourne:
First, community energy is booming. Nine years ago when the Community Power Agency reviewed the state of community energy in Australia there were three groups operating (in Denmark, WA; Bega; and Daylesford, Vic) but no operational energy projects. Today, there are 105 community energy groups (of which Inner West Community Energy, of course, is one) and they’ve delivered 80 community energy projects.
Second, many of us in communities around Australia are mad as hell at the lack of government action on climate, and that’s a major factor driving the growth of community energy. We see the need to shift to renewables and more comfortable, more energy-efficient homes, and away from coal. So we’re simply getting on with the job ourselves. That’s the sentiment from community energy groups everywhere.
Third, many community energy groups understand the need to put the “community” back into the energy sector. Taking action to promote residential solar and community-owned solar, and helping low-income households with their power bills, can all help to strengthen a local community. That’s something everyone wants.
Gavin Gilchrist, 23rd September, 2018 Contact: 0407 663 125