Firing up Port Adelaide Enfield with solar

torrens islandIt was so great to speak at the Port Adelaide Enfield Environment Forum last week. I gave a presentation and they got me thinking about how to crack open the opportunities  in the area.

I was deeply impressed that a small group represent so many activities around the area – History, National Trust, friends of Torrens Island and marine conservation, to name a few. And when it came time to share updates from each group, I was reminded of the Bristol Energy Network meeting I attended on my Churchill Fellowship – another great group in a great city making great progress.

We had a wide-ranging discussion about community energy projects that might suit the Port. It has much new development at the moment – Renewal SA has a major project around Port Adelaide at the moment and another in Kilburn. Step 1 – get introduced to developers.

There have already been some successful Bulk Buy projects and it would be good to see something targeted at folk on low incomes.

I took the opportunity to promote CORENA of course. We should be looking at energy efficiency and solar opportunities for every community building we find.

CORENA have also been exploring Tenant/landlord schemes (given that split incentives is one of the great market failures) and keeping track of Adelaide City Council’s journey with their solar saver scheme.

We talked about under-utilised land and whether solar could be a 5-10 year solution until land becomes used. Personally I prefer to start with opportunities where there is a load to buy the electricity.

And the main theme of the night was finding those partners with some community momentum – existing groups? the 170 households who organised their bulk buy in Semaphore? the owners of roofspace and community housing organisations – plenty to start with there. If you have ideas, please add them to the Document here.

Inspired by this start – I’ve created a Facebook group – Community Energy Action South Australia. I know of a number of projects humming along in development, many from those who attended the Community Energy Congress. And Mark Henley has challenged me to get two projects up and running in the next few years so we have something real to point to. The Group will help us share ideas, inspiration and support for each other’s projects. Please join if you’re interested.

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About Heather

I am an energy and climate change specialist with a background in industrial energy efficiency and climate change policy.
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