The Victorian Government supports community energy projects and is focused on helping communities achieve their energy priorities. The government has funded a range of projects, including the pilot Community Power Hubs; flagship grants for projects such as Newstead’s transition to zero emissions that provides a blueprint for other communities, and the Woodend timber mill solar PV installation; and a pumped hydro pre-feasibility study in Bendigo.
The Community Solar Toolkit project successfully secured a $164,000 grant in 2017 as part of the first round of the Victorian Government’s New Energy Jobs Fund – facilitated by the Department for Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The Toolkit builds on the Victorian Government’s Guide to Community-Owned Renewable Energy and other key initiatives in this new and growing sector in Australia, by providing the practical tools needed to implement community solar projects. The scope of this project was designed to address significant gaps in resources and tools available to help scale the community solar sector at the implementation end – that is, getting community solar projects ‘shovel ready’ and ready for investment.
For a more detailed description of DELWP’s initiatives and support for the community energy sector, visit https://www.energy.vic.gov.au/renewable-energy/community-energy
A recent report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into community energy provides a snapshot of the issues and opportunities facing the sector, and a government response to the recommendations. These reports are available here: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/eejsc/inquiries/article/3079