What I’ve done so far
In September 2020 I published my Local Power Plan – a blueprint to drive investment in locally-owned renewables in regional Australia.
Together with a panel of local experts in community energy, I developed the Local Power Plan through a six-month co-design process, involving 14 workshops and 100 submissions from all over Australia.
The Plan proposes the establishment of a new agency, the Australian Local Power Agency (ALPA), that would drive investments from a new $310 million fund into community-owned renewables, and support regional communities to develop medium and large-scale renewable projects.
The next steps
Early next year, I will publish legislation that would establish the Australian Local Power Agency. Like I do on all important issues, I’ll be working with politicians from across the parliament to make the case for a dedicated focus on regional communities in the renewable transition.
I’ll publish my Bill as an exposure draft for comment early next year, you’ll be able to find it here on my website. I’d love to get your feedback on the draft Bill before I introduce it to Parliament in February of 2021.
Where is the government on this?
The Government has never had a dedicated focus on renewables in regional communities. Their current policy is focussed on developing and commercialising new technologies.
This is critically important and I support the work of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC).
ALPA will sit alongside ARENA and the CEFC, making sure that regional communities share in the benefits of renewables.
The Government has some programs that support community energy projects, like the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund and the Energy Efficient Communities Grants. But these programs are piecemeal and insufficient.
A significant win for locally-owned renewables in Indi was the announcement of $12.9 million from ARENA to develop a marketplace for local energy trading. This type of investment is a recognition of the innovative work our communities have been doing for years on community renewables.
But the consistent message from communities through our co-design process is that we need significantly more funding and local technical support to get community projects off the ground. That’s what ALPA will bring.
What you can do
You can read more about the plan at www.localpowerplan.com
If you want to see your community share in the benefits of locally-owned renewables, write to your MP asking them to support the plan.