That’s a question that delegates at Australia’s only conference on community-driven energy projects will discuss next month.
The Community Power Conference in Bendigo on November 14 and 15 will focus entirely on energy projects around Australia being driven by town, area and regional groups working to steel their communities against rising energy prices and to install renewable energy projects.
Some have bought solar panels and hot water systems in bulk, offering them at discounted prices to encourage local-take-up. Others have set up wind farms, biomass plants and co-operatives to supply larger scale energy from renewable sources.
Dean Bridgfoot, who helped steer a national campaign to win $10 billion for renewable energy in the Federal Government’s carbon tax deal, will address the conference.
‘We can’t sit back and say this deal is done and dusted. Community-owned and driven projects must receive their share.’ Mr Bridgfoot said.’
The conference will focus on the business models communities are adopting to establish their projects, the technological options they’re choosing, how they engage their communities and strategies they’re using to overcome barriers.
Conference Convenor Professor John Martin, who heads La Trobe University’s Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities, said it offered a brilliant opportunity for local governments, regional developers, investors and innovators to learn about local energy solutions being developed by towns and communities.
‘These people are taking charge of their energy needs. They are driven by the opportunity renewable energy offers to strengthen their communities, financially and socially. Their work, often unpaid, is truly remarkable.’ Professor Martin said.
The conference is at Bendigo’s magnificent historic Capital Theatre. Fees are $595 for two days including the conference dinner or $250 for one day. Group booking incentives are available. To register, email Conference Manager Pat Ibbotson on firstname.lastname@example.org or download a registration form from the conference website www.centralvictoriasolarcity/communitypower
Professor John Martin, Director, Centre for Sustainable Regional Communities, M 0421 584 313
Zerin Knight, Media Liaison, Ph (03) 5444 7375 F +613 5444 7526 M 0428 463 161 E email@example.com