Thursday, 02 June 2016 03:04

Community Power Agency lauds Labor $100m energy sector election promise

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Community Power Agency has come out in support of the Labor Party’s election promise to spend almost $100 million on creating up to 10 Community Power Hubs across Australia.

Welcoming the ALP pledge, Community Power founding director, Nicky Ison, said it was clear the ALP had been listening to the community energy sector, “which is already leading the transition to a clean energy future, with over 70 groups developing innovative local power projects”.

Ison says the Hubs would support the establishment of local renewable programs such as community-owned solar and wind initiatives, helping to turbo-charge innovation across the country.

Community Power describes itself as a social enterprise set up to support the development of a vibrant community energy sector in Australia, and Ison says community power is a win-win-win and “is good for local economies, the environment, and can help address social issues such as energy affordability”.

“The combination of 10 community power hubs and competitive grants will support community energy in Australia to follow in the footsteps of countries like Germany, where 47% of all installed renewables is owned by citizens and communities.”

The agency is leading a new grassroots election campaign, Smart Energy Communities, calling on all political parties to get behind community energy.

The campaign calls on government to kickstart new community energy projects and build a network to offer legal and technical advice.

“It makes good economic sense for all political parties to back community power projects. They help households, small businesses and community services cut their power bills, they help clean up our energy system and they also create much-needed jobs in regional communities,” Ison said.

“With 24 community energy groups in marginal seats like Page, Corangamite, Brisbane and Gilmore, this is a popular policy and a potential vote winner. Marginal electorate MPs have a golden opportunity to boost innovation.”

According to Ison, the ALP’s Community Power Network and Regional Hubs policy draws inspiration from the Community Powerhouses policy outlined in GetUp and Solar Citizens’ Homegrown Power Plan, of which she was a co-author.

Ison says the Community Powerhouses policy envisages a network of 50 Community Power Hubs, supporting local energy projects across Australia for a decade.

“We look forward to seeing an extension and scale up of the ALP’s Community Power Network after a successful first four years.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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