What is Community Energy?
Community-owned renewable energy or community energy (CE) refers to projects where a community group initiates, develops, operates and benefits from a renewable energy resource or energy efficiency initiative. Community groups are formed based on a common interest or geographical region such as a town or suburb.
Image: Geelong Sustainability members tour the Hepburn Community Wind Farm
Community Energy encompasses all the ways a community can benefit from sustainable energy:
- By reducing carbon emissions from project host sites and the wider community,
- By localising our energy supply through community ownership and participation,
- And by providing large scale proof that clean energy technologies work and that a clean, low carbon energy future is possible!
Every CE project is tailored to a particular community’s requirements. CE projects may be developed to:
- Maximise local ownership and decision making,
- Generate jobs,
- Use resources efficiently and sustainably,
- Match energy production to local energy needs and circumstances,
- Help address climate change.
While local communities are where projects are executed, there is also a growing on-line community covering wider, overarching projects that focus on improving processes and infrastructure around Community Energy, for example, the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) or the recently formed faith-based National Energy Efficiency Network (NEEN).
Community buy-in is essential for the success of any project, the more local involvement and investment, the more successful a project will be.
Source: Coalition for Community Energy - National Community Energy Strategy 2015
Victoria State Government - Guide to Community-owned Renewable Energy for Victorians
Why are we doing it?
Because you asked us to!
In 2014 Geelong Sustainability undertook a survey to find out where you, our members, as well as the broader community wanted us to focus our effort. Overwhelmingly, the message received was that you wanted us to work towards a Community Owned Renewable Energy (CORE) project.
We listened! We want to see our beautiful city aglow with renewable energy and we are ready to drive projects to make that happen!
Our CORE Geelong Task Group was formed in April 2015 to:
- Research different models of community owned renewable energy projects,
- Talk at Geelong Sustainability events and develop a 'community engagement plan',
- Attend workshops to learn about legal, finance and governance structures that might apply to future Geelong projects,
- Establish a strong team of local solar providers to explore host sites for community owned solar PV systems,
- Consider opportunities for larger scale community owned renewable energy projects.
The first CORE Geelong task group meeting - April 2015
We love Geelong! We want the wider Geelong Community to access the benefits of clean energy technologies and we want to make it easy for you. We were thrilled in September 2016 to receive a grant through the Victorian Governments New Energy Jobs Fund for $48,000 to conduct a scoping study for the CORE Geelong business case. This grant will enable us to undertake strong and diverse stakeholder engagement, identify potential project host sites around Geelong and develop our community solar financing model.
Want to join the revolution?
We are currently seeking expressions of interest from community investors and potential host sites.