With John Heffernan
A couple of weeks back we suggested that Walcha should decide its own renewable energy future by adopting the concept known as Community Owned Renewable Energy. CORE projects are really catching on big time in Australia. The Community Power Agency (CPA), working with Melbourne and Sydney Universities, has identified at least 120 CORE projects across Australia, targeting community-based renewable energy approaches that seriously question corporate-based works such as big wind farms. Walcha should take a good look at these, and with that in mind – Hey Presto – this article highlights six such CORE projects. In actual fact, most of those 120 CPA projects are worth inspecting. But Advocate space is scarce, so all we can offer is a brief paragraph on each example, along with links so that you can check out details for yourself.
Hepburn Energy, Australia’s first real CORE project, started as a two turbine wind farm in 2009, recently adding solar and battery storage. it’s a classic co-operative with over 2000 shareholders, making 42% of Hepburn Shire’s energy needs.
Yackandanda is a fabulous example of CORE principles, with a 100% volunteer-run community group. Completed in May 2022, the town is already producing almost 70% of its energy, and says it will reach 100% by 2027.
Manilla’s solar farm has the support of over 100 local residents and businesses in a system that turns electricity into a local business instead of an economic leakage. This is a dynamic community really enjoying the fruits of its energy.
Goulburn’s 4000-panel solar farm grew from a local association determined to establish a CORE project. It’s a shareholder-based cooperative, with one vote per member no matter how many shares they own, keeping vested interests at bay.
Lismore’s floating solar farm is just a small part of collaboration between many local councils. Mayor Smith said local councils can “make a huge difference” in how communities use energy.
Indigo Power has partnered with 15 community energy groups across NE Victoria and Southern NSW to create local renewable energy solutions. This is a very community-oriented company really worth looking at.
CORE projects are arguably the best way for regional communities to build strong energy futures. That way it’s in all our hands, not just with a few. We don’t have to start big if our energy future is community based. “Out of little things…” they say. Or as Saul Griffith maintains: “It’s a story of community economic abundance, and a once in a lifetime opportunity for Australia.” To find out more on CORE projects follow this link to the CPA website: https://cpagency.org.au/ It could be the start of a journey that will change not just your life, but those of many others.
Think about it.
Voice for Walcha