Six 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 $300m per year on electricity. In a similar sized region, Enova Energy (Australia’s only community-owned electricity retailer) estimated that it could keep $80m in the local economy. This 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.
- Community owned retailer
- Organisation – Hills and Coasts Community Energy
- Solar Bulk Buy
- Removing barriers for those currently excluded from the market
- Community scale solar and wind
- Energy security for emergency and other key community facilities
- Energy Education
- Energy Opportunities – Master planning, feasibility and analysis
- Community Energy Action Planning
- Climate Ready Homes
- Low Income and Renewables for All Energy program
- Regional Energy hubs for economic development
- Business Energy Audits and solarisation
- Energy Project Community Finance
- 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?
We are looking for organisations that are local to one of the six Councils and can therefore help us demonstrate our commitment to localising the economic benefits over time.
We are also looking to partner with organisations that have a unique community energy offering and we could work together to develop a suitable project in the region.
If that’s you – please get in touch. While we wait to hear about enthusiasm for our tender, we are collecting a list of potential partners and supporters. You can give us your details via this form. 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