Indi leads community energy roll-out

Independent candidate for Indi Helen Haines says clever government policy could cement Indi as a
community energy leader and enable North East Victoria to become regional Australia's model for
the roll-out of community investment in renewable power generation.

Dr Haines was at Old Beechworth Gaol for the launch of Indigo Power, the local community energy retailer, where North East Victoria's first community-owned solar generation was switched on. Dr Haines is a founding board member of Indigo Power.

"For the last six years we’ve had a national electricity policy vacuum, and big electricity companies have been able to push up their prices,” she said.

"It’s been a disaster for households and for renewable energy investment, but there is incredible work being done right here in Indi to address that.

“Community energy keeps electricity dollars right here in our region, rather than going back to shareholders in big cities or overseas. I am incredibly proud to have been a founding board member of Indigo Power, and if elected I’ll be a champion for the community energy sector in Parliament.

“We are doing energy differently here in Indi and providing a model for other communities and regions across Australia.

“This government has stood in the way of renewable energy investment and dismissed projects like what we’re doing in Indi as ‘fantasy’ - but we are proving it works and that the only thing costing us is the Liberal and National parties’ lack of vision.

“The electorate of Indi has 11 community energy groups, the highest of any region in Australia. There are about 100 known community energy groups operating across Australia.

“We now have our very own community-owned energy retailer, which will help customers to share solar power between themselves and assist in the transition to clean energy.

“If elected I will push for a Federal Government-led project to create and fund a nation-wide network of community energy groups. This would facilitate uptake of clean energy technologies, at the same time as unlocking hundreds of millions of dollars of community and commercial investment.

“In the Landcare movement there is a precedent, and a model, for Federal Government support for community-led projects for transformational change.

"With Federal Government support, there is no reason why Australia’s community energy sector cannot be as transformational as the Landcare movement has been.

“I will be a champion for this movement in Parliament and in time we could see Indi at the very forefront of this revolution.”