Community energy the ticket for stable, reliable power

Coalition for Community Energy

Friday, Feb 23. Imagine a reliable, efficient power system that allows Australia’s communities to be more resilient while ensuring investment dollars remain local.

Enter community energy – a model already benefiting communities right across Australia.

The national Community Energy Congress convenes next month to look at how everyday Australians can help with the urgent transition to renewable energy. Held by the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE), the congress brings together leaders from communities, government, infrastructure providers and business to focus on community participation in the energy system.

The congress comes as Victorians await an inquiry into the blackout that left 530,000 homes without power after catastrophic storms destroyed infrastructure and caused the Loy Yang A coal-fired power station to trip.

Topics that will be discussed at the congress include community batteries and microgrids, finance, partnerships, and energy resilience. Rewiring Australia founder Saul Griffiths will deliver the keynote speech.

C4CE chair Heather Smith says the congress comes at an important time for the community energy sector as the transition continues towards decentralised clean energy from large scale polluting fossil fuels.

“Community energy is helping to build a clean energy system that is built directly from neighbourhoods and benefits our communities,” Ms Smith said.

“The ways we use energy inside our homes, businesses and cars is changing. The congress is a fantastic opportunity to network with community energy groups and gain insights into what our future energy system can look like.”

The congress will be held on Wednesday, March 6 and Thursday, March 7 at the International Convention Centre in Sydney.

This will be followed by a tour of Narara Ecovillage on the Central Coast on Friday, March 8. The ecovillage is powered by a smart microgrid and is energy self-sufficient.

Last year, 55 community energy groups raised $74.5m for energy infrastructure, with another $6m in value from in-kind support and volunteer hours.

“We’d like to see consistent support from governments to grow this workhorse of the energy transition. Homes, businesses and whole communities won’t transition to renewable energy without trusted, independent and custom advice and help,” Ms Smith said.

The theme for this year’s congress is Fast, Fair, and Vital, highlighting the speed of transition, the values and outcomes that communities want in the energy transition, and the vital nature of energy to everyday lives and businesses.

Community energy refers to instances when communities are directly involved in developing, producing, distributing, selling and buying energy assets and their output. Projects can take various ownership forms, including full community control or in collaboration with public and private enterprises.

Projects can range from household electrification and efficiency programs, small scale cooperatively owned solar PV installations, a community energy retailer, bioenergy or hydro systems, or a large scale community-owned wind farm. They’re volunteer-run and help support the local community.

Tickets for the Community Energy Congress are available now via Humanitix. The congress is being held on the sidelines of the Smart Energy Expo, so attendees also need to register for the expo to enter the event.

Attendees can also take part in the congress virtually thanks to the support of the Victorian Government.

About us:

About C4CE: The Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE) is the peak body of the growing community energy sector in Australia. Established in 2014, C4CE has now grown to more than 105 member groups across Australia who are keen to transform their communities to zero-net emissions. The Community Energy Congress 2024 is the community partner of the Smart Energy Expo. C4CE gratefully acknowledges the support of Squadron Energy, Reclaim Heat Pumps and the Victorian Government as major sponsors.

/Public Release.