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 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.”