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  • Writer's picture2022 Global Voices Fellow

Mainstreaming Community Energy in Australia’s Energy Transformation

By Rose Hawkins, The University of Melbourne, UNFCCC, 2020

Rose Hawkins is a University of Melbourne student studying a Master of Environment, Sustainability, and Community Development. Her Policy Paper discusses Mainstreaming Community Energy in Australia’s Energy Transformation.

Executive Summary

The world is in the midst of an energy transition. As economies respond to the increasing impacts of climate change and the imperative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, momentum is gathering for a shift away from reliance on fossil fuels towards renewable energy sources. However, grassroots Community Renewable Energy (CRE) organisations in Australia are yet to be meaningfully included in this process. Their involvement would spur the transformational,systemic change necessary to prevent catastrophic impacts of climate change, while delivering a range of benefits for local economies, communities and the environment. Federal and State Governments must take decisive action to establish CRE as a mainstream component of our energy system, to leverage the multidimensional benefits it promises for all Australians. This can be achieved by:

  1. Amending the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) Act 2012 (Cth) and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) Act 2011 (Cth) to include provisions for CRE;

  2. Expanding the knowledge brokering role of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) to develop a national CRE Community of Practice; and

  3. Establishing Local Power Hubs to drive the development of CRE groups and projects in designated regions, managed and supported by state and territory governments.

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