Community energy will be a hot topic at the Critical Horizons – Powering the Future of WA conference which will be held in Collie on Friday, June 8.
Expert Heather Smith will lead a discussion on the growing trend which looks at different ways people can own, manage and help their communities use and generate energy.
Ms Smith said community energy could play a key role in shaping the energy systems of the future, demanding that they are equitable, efficient and resilient.
“Communities have chosen to do different things and there are a plethora of examples around Australia,” she said.
“What is important in the Australian context is where energy systems and energy activities involved people locally, we are unlocking opportunities bringing thinking back to the local level.”
Ms Smith said in Australia, the Hepburn Wind farm was first community owned renewable power station and the Moreland Energy Foundation had delivered energy services and programs into their community for 20 years.
The foundation formed after the local governmen were forced to privatise their energy company and used the money to deliver energy services in the community.
Ms Smith said community energy also involved climate action planning and a community in Yackandandah in Victoria aimed to be 100 per cent renewable by 2022.
Another small town in Uralla, NSW received funding from their government’s clean energy fund and spent the money on creating an action plan.
They implemented a program which is run by volunteers to help the community reduce their energy costs and improve their energy efficiency.
Ms Smith also volunteers with Citizens Own Renewable Energy Network Australia Inc which helps community groups get renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“These are organisations which do not have a lot of money and what CORENA does is lends them money interest free to do those projects,” she said.
Anyone is welcome to attend the conference. For more information or to register visit criticalhorizons.com.au.
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