A Community Energy Program for Resilient Hills and Coasts

Diagram - transition over timeSix Councils from the Adelaide Hills to Kangaroo Island are calling for ideas for a community energy program. Victor Harbour has already run two community bulk buy programs for solar and is especially interested to see an offering that will scale, to speed the region to a more future proofed energy system.

The region spends around $150m per year on electricity. In a region twice the size, Enova Energy (Australia’s only community-owned electricity retailer) estimated that it could keep $80m in the local economy. This means $40m is the prize for a good community energy program. It is captured by

  • creating savings  for electricity customers that are re-spent locally.
  • Helping everyone to own rooftop solar and profit from their own investments.
  • creating local energy jobs, inside the retail business, in delivering energy projects and also advice and installations to energy customers.
  • developing skills and capacity, ultimately creating products and services that can be exported.
  • Transferring ownership of energy projects to local shareholders and ensuring that the use of local resources produces benefits for these communities.

Tandem Energy has partnered with Enova Energy to tender for the community energy program. We see the program consisting of many local energy projects across the region and we think there are two foundational projects that facilitate everything else:

– a local retailer that can buy and sell local energy, can help customers reduce their energy costs and can provide the contracts that underpin long term investments.

– a local, ‘community-benefit’ organisation (Hills and Coasts Community Energy) that can be the project delivery agent – bringing in external ideas and expertise, designing the approach that will best suit the community and then delivering in ways to localise the benefits and ensuring approaches become community energy projects over time.

Tandem and Enova will be the project delivery agent in the first instance and here are some of the many projects we’d love to get started on. Some of these would rely on grants or Council budget and others are commercial propositions so the project delivery work could be funded once the project proceeds and some profit could be returned to make Hills and Coasts Community Energy self sufficient for funding.

  1. Community owned retailer
  2. Organisation – Hills and Coasts Community Energy
  3. Solar Bulk Buy
  4. Removing barriers for those currently excluded from the market
  5. Micro-grids
  6. Community scale solar and wind
  7. Energy security for emergency and other key community facilities
  8. Energy Education
  9. Energy Opportunities – Master planning, feasibility and analysis
  10. Community Energy Action Planning
  11. Climate Ready Homes
  12. Low Income and Renewables for All Energy program
  13. Regional Energy hubs for economic development
  14. Business Energy Audits and solarisation
  15. Energy Project Community Finance
  16. Energy Project Innovation Lab

You can read all about the ways other regions are delivering these types of projects in this document.

Would your organisation like to partner with us in  delivering any of these projects?

Since I wrote this original blog Tandem Energy and Moreland Energy Foundation were contracted to deliver a report and proposal for this community energy program. We surveyed the community with a teaser of information here. A general summary of what we proposed is here. With the changeover of councils across SA in late 2018, we are still waiting to see if this gets any traction with a new set of councils. In the meantime RH&C won a grant from the Local Government Association to develop legal and governance material.

You can subscribe to our (roughly monthly) community energy news which will report on progress, or you can email me at heather[at]changingweather.com.au

About Heather

I am an energy and climate change specialist with a background in industrial energy efficiency and climate change policy.
This entry was posted in churchill, Community energy, energy transition, Policy Ideas and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to A Community Energy Program for Resilient Hills and Coasts

  1. Pingback: Who supports community energy? | changing weather by Heather Smith

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