Today’s announcement of a $13 million investment in Indi to develop Australia’s first marketplace for locally-generated renewables is a huge step forward for our region.

The funding, from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, will set up a digital platform that allows households and businesses to sell electricity services to the national grid.

We know that locally-generated power from small scale sources can build energy security.

When power is cheap and plentiful in the middle of the day, businesses can ramp up their usage, or a household can store that power in a battery – helping balance the system.

With this new marketplace, everyday households and small businesses fitted with solar and batteries can start being paid for providing those services.

When rolled out nationally, this model, developed right here in Indi, will create a whole new income stream potentially worth billions of dollars to regional Australia.

The fact Indi was chosen to host this pioneering trial is no accident – our communities have led the nation in developing locally-owned renewables and with this funding we will continue to lead.

It is welcome that the Government is starting to recognise the immense contributions of community energy and the innovation and ingenuity that our region has shown in recent years.

This investment also shows why my Local Power Plan is so important. Every town in Indi and in regional Australia could be generating its own cheap and reliable power locally. We need to make these investments in regional Australia to build our resilience into the future.

That’s why I’m introducing legislation to parliament to establish an Australian Local Power Agency to drive more investment in local renewables across regional Australia.

I want to see every town in Indi be able to generate its own power in a crisis, be able to save money by using cheap, local electricity, and even start earning money by selling power to the grid.

The Government should step up and help make this happen by funding the Local Power Plan.

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