Community Power Hubs
The Victorian government has announced $1 million to establish a series of community power hubs in regional Victoria. There is $900,000 available for three, two-year pilot Community Power Hubs in Bendigo, Ballarat and the Latrobe Valley.
The community-owned and operated hubs will drive investment into regional Victoria, create jobs and help reduce electricity bills.
The hubs will support the development of renewable energy projects by providing legal and technical expertise, as well as start-up funding. Eligible projects could include 'solar gardens' and community wind farms.
To register your interest or for more information visit Sustainability Victoria
Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy for Victorians
The Guide is a resource for community groups that are either considering a renewable energy project or are already establishing a project.
The guide consolidates existing knowledge and resources and provides links to further information and advice. It also provides practical pointers on critical commercial, technical, governance and regulatory aspects of renewable energy projects, including how to identify an appropriate business model, selecting the most suitable technology, and managing a project.
Community Energy Congress
The Community Energy Congress 2017 was held at Melbourne Town Hall on 27-28 February.
The event brought together over 500 people from community energy groups, renewable energy developers, policy makers, network companies, retailers, councils, NGOs and regulators, lawyers, financiers and more.
For more information on this premier event, visit Community Energy Congress Melbourne 2017.
In 2015, the Victorian Government provided community energy grants to two pioneering communities.
The government awarded a $200,000 grant to Newstead 2021, a local community group, to transition their town to 100 per cent renewable energy. Newstead, near Castlemaine in Central Victoria, has approximately 500 homes and a commercial high street.
The funding will help Newstead 2021 develop and implement a model for supplying the town's homes and businesses with 100 per cent renewable energy from a community-scale grid. The model will incorporate community ownership and balance commercial viability with social equity through low prices and price protections for Newstead residents who are vulnerable to rising energy costs.
The government awarded a $100,000 grant to Macedon Ranges Sustainability Group to build a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at the Black Forest Timber Mill in Woodend. The commissioned system now supplies the Mill's tenants with solar power and a funding stream to support future renewable energy projects in the area.
Lessons learned from the delivery of these projects will be shared with other community groups so that the full benefits of the funding are captured.
Other Government initiatives
The Community Renewables Solar Grants Initiative is a government grant program providing a clean energy future for Victoria’s lifesaving clubs.
The government also provides financial support to community energy projects through the New Energy Jobs Fund.