Tag Archives: policy

Landmark bill tabled in parliament

People speaking at a press conference
Matthew Charles-Jones speaks at the press conference after the tabling of the Australian Local Power Agency Bill on 22 February. Photo: David Foote, Auspic

TRY was in Australia’s capital on Monday when our independent member for Indi, Dr Helen Haines MP, tabled a new bill to to enact The Local Power Plan. The Plan was the result of over 12 months work of Helen’s office and an expert panel of community organisations, of which TRY was a member, along with almost 100 submissions from around Australia.


logo for The Local Power PlanWith the current boom in small residential rooftop installations and large-scale commercial projects, the bill aims to fill a gap in Australia’s renewable energy landscape by amplifying the work of community-energy groups, so that the benefits of renewable energy can flow directly into rural and regional communities. It encourages community groups to build knowledge, stimulates mid-scale renewable projects and facilitates community investment in large-scale projects.


The bill allows communities to decide their own course and do what best suits their community’s context. With TRY’s foundation of three microgrids, a 200-property minigrid, and installation of a 274 kWh community retail battery with Indigo Power, the mid-scale energy storage and generation projects that are our next step to 100% renewables are exactly what the Local Power Plan is aimed at.


TRY is thrilled to be a part of developing the bill and will continue working towards taking advantage of our unparalleled renewable resources, bringing the benefits, economic opportunities, reliability in energy supply and increased resilience in times of extremes, back to the people in our community.


The bill has now been commended to the House of Representatives for debate and the community groups that participated in its development, along with many others, look forward to seeing the parliament take on board a policy that will give regional Australia a once-in-a-century chance to reinvigorate itself.

 

The significant benefits of the The Local Power Plan have also been taken up by Farmers for Climate Action and the Community Power Agency in their Repower our Communities campaign. Keep an eye out for it and support it where you can!

Two MPs and representatives from community groups standing behind them
Dr Helen Haines MP and Zali Steggall MP stand in front of community group representatives in the Mural Hall at Parliament House on Monday. The group participated in drafting the Local Power Plan with Helen Haines office last year. Photo: David Foote, Auspic.

A Local Power Plan for the regions

TRY has been one of many community groups contributing to a detailed plan for bringing renewable energy benefits to regional and rural areas. The article below appeared in the October/November edition of Yackandandah’s bi-monthly paper, Yackity Yak.Local Power Plan logo

A few months ago in June I described how TRY and other local community energy stakeholders were participating in a community energy co-design process with the office of Dr Helen Haines MP. Over 8 weeks Dr Haines engaged with hundreds of people and received 99 submissions from all over Australia and all types of people and organisations, including farmers, investors, health organisations, training providers and community energy groups.

The purpose of the process was to ensure that regional Australia drives and benefits from the coming boom in renewable energy. As more large-scale solar and wind farms, and eventually storage facilities such as batteries and pumped hydro, pop up around the country, how do we make sure that regional Australia participates in the benefits that flow from them?

And when extreme weather events and bushfire disasters more frequently disrupt power supplies, as they did in Corryong and Walwa last summer, how can we make our towns and regions more resilient? How do we ensure that large (and small) projects are not done to the regions, but with the regions? These were the underlying questions that occupied the expert panel and the many submissions that Dr Haines received.

Over the last 6 years TRY has experienced many of the challenges and benefits of undertaking a 100% renewable energy transition and we are uniquely placed to identify things that would improve and accelerate the journey. We’re proud of our efforts and achievements that show the benefits and possibilities of a renewable energy transformation.

We participated in the consultation process, helping to formulate the discussion paper, and also made our own submission. It and the other 98 submissions were incorporated into the discussion paper and have become the Local Power Plan, a roadmap of initiatives to involve, benefit and empower local communities via renewable energy projects. The Plan suggests different levels of policy that will facilitate community and commercial projects and provide incentives for investment, regional development and resilience.

A screenshot from a Zoom session with TRY members
TRY participated in several Zoom sessions over five months, helping to formulate the discussion paper and giving feedback on successive drafts. Image: Juliette Milbank

Dr Haines commented that “for everyday people in regional Australia, if we do renewables right, it means lower bills, stronger energy security, and new jobs and industries”. Along with reducing emissions, this is what TRY has been working towards since we started our journey, with a focus on making sure that initiatives benefit all levels of the community, not just those that can afford to make changes. It’s about equity, resilience and community.

The Local Power Plan is now complete and was launched online on the 23 September as well as being presented to the energy minister, Angus Taylor MP – you can look at the final version here.

We’re incredibly proud to have been part of this process and we and many others will be watching to see what happens. In the mean time we continue working on a 100% renewable transition for our town, making local power a reality.

                                                                                                                                            –– Juliette Milbank