Policy & Politics |
Coalition for Community Energy

FIRST AUSTRALIAN COMMUNITY ENERGY CONGRESS GATHERS IN CANBERRA

More than 300 local community members, council and government stakeholders and energy industry representatives will gather in Canberra today for Australia’s first Community Energy Congress.

Community energy is an approach to renewable energy that involves the community in the development and ownership of energy generation.

Nicky Ison, a senior research consultant at the UTS Institute of Sustainable Futures and founding member of the Coalition for Community Energy, said there are already 10 community energy projects established in Australia, with more than 45 more in development.

As fossil fuel prices rise and with good government policy, the sector could grow rapidly in Australia, she said.

“The more than 2 million people with solar panels on their roofs shows Australians love renewable energy,” Ms Ison said today.

“Across the world the way we generate energy is changing. Countries like Germany and the U.S. are finding community energy reduces greenhouse gas pollution, promotes regional development, builds social capital and increases energy security on a local and regional level.

“The growing interest in community energy in Australia shows we’re ready to take it to the next level and transition to a clean, fair and localised energy grid fit for the 21st century,” she said.

Australia’s first Community Energy Congress is an opportunity to assist communities with successful models, technical skills and training plus valuable networking with partners, regulators and suppliers, Adam Blakester of Starfish Initiatives said.

“We’ll hear about the inspirational village of Wildpoldsreid in Germany which is generating 320% of its energy needs by community renewables; and the Japanese prefecture of Fukishima that has turned from energy disaster to a commitment for generating 100% of its energy from clean sources by 2040.

“I hope there’s an Australian town or city willing to take up the challenge of achieving a 100% community-based renewable future,” Mr Blakester said.
Details
What: Community Energy Congress
When: Mon 16 and Tues 17 June
Where: National Library of Australia, Canberra
First day program highlights:
• 9.30am: Keynote addresses by Arno Zengerle (Mayor of Wildpoldsried, Germany), Ivor Frischknecht (ARENA) and Simon Holmes a Court (Hepburn Wind)
• 11.30am: Future of Community Energy Australia panel session, including Australian Greens Leader Christine Milne, ACT Minister for the Environment Simon Corbell and Shadow Minister for Resources Gary Gray
Full program available here: c4ce.net.au/congress/program
Media contacts:
Jane Garcia (EMC) 0434 489 533 or Xavier Mayes (ISF) 0423 030 658


NOTE TO EDITORS:

At the Conference Panel session from 11.30am-12.30am:
• ACT Minister for the Environment, Simon Corbell will make an announcement on a community energy policy. Senator Milne will comment further on plans to bring on a second vote over the repeal of the $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation in the Senate this week, with a potential double dissolution trigger.

Media are welcome to attend.

Media

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