In 2018, a new regional network of community energy groups was established, known as BRACE (Barwon Regional Alliance for Community Energy).
Through cooperation and collaboration BRACE members want to speed up our region’s transition to renewable energy.
Early this year, Labor released its Neighbourhood Renewables Program.The policy promises to invest $100 million to develop a Community Power Network and to establish 10 Community Power Hubs around the country. The Network would facilitate sharing of ideas, models and implementation strategies amongst community energy groups so that renters and low income households could also benefit from cheaper and cleaner renewable energy.
Through grassroots activism, the Barwon/G21 region is a demonstrated hotspot for community energy projects. We have been leading the charge in delivering and advocating for renewable energy throughout our region. BRACE believed the Barwon would be an ideal location for a Community Power Hub. Wasting no time, the alliance drafted a detailed proposal with supporting letters and arranged meetings with local politicians.
On March 18, BRACE was delighted when Mark Butler, the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy and Libby Coker, Candidate for Corangamite pledged that if the Labor was elected a Community Power Hub would be established in the Barwon region.
Adrian Ford, BRACE spokesperson said, "By unlocking the skills and funding needed to set up projects targeted at renters and low-income groups, a community energy hub would ensure that everyone can access cheap, clean energy regardless of living arrangement or income levels”.
Vicki Perrett, President of Geelong Sustainability said, “The Barwon Power Hub would be a game changer for our region enabling everyone to be active participants in the clean energy revolution”.
Karen Weaver from 100% Clean Bellarine, Adrian Ford from the Barwon Region Alliance for Community Energy (BRACE), Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy Mark Butler and Labor candidate for Corangamite Libby Coker in Barwon Heads on Monday. Photo credit: Rebecca Adam, Times News Group
Projects proposed include:
- energy efficiency audits and upgrade services to low-income households
- development of a 2 MW solar garden for low-income renters
- establishment of a peer-to-peer energy trading platform for solar and non-solar households
- community ownership within large-scale renewable energy developments
- plus a range of other projects focused on making our towns 100% renewable.