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ARENA support to 'help put power' in the hands of communities

21 November, 2013

The Australian Renewable Energy Agency has announced funding for a UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures project to catalyse community renewables in Australia following strong interest from the sector.

Project leader at ISF Nicola Ison said community renewables encourage regional economic development, create local jobs and represent an opportunity for Australians to play an active role in where their electricity comes from.

"Community-owned renewable energy projects put power in the hands of Australian towns and suburbs, providing an exciting opportunity, particularly for renters, to get involved in Australia's renewable energy future," Ison said.

"ARENA's support will help us develop a strategic approach to take this promising and committed part of the Australian renewable energy sector forward."

ARENA CEO Ivor Frischknecht said community renewables projects are of national benefit as they encourage community support for renewables, helping the development of other projects across Australia.

"ARENA is providing $165,280 for ISF to investigate funding models, skills and regulatory barriers for community renewable projects through research, workshops and a National Community Energy Congress," Frischknecht said.

"This project brings key players in the sector together to investigate the challenges and opportunities of community renewable projects and chart a pathway for the sector to tap into its potential."

The congress will take place in early 2014 in Canberra and the strategy is due for delivery in mid 2014. UTS's project partners include Starfish Enterprises Network Limited, Backroad Connections Pty Ltd, Alternative Technology Association, Community Power Agency, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, Total Environment Centre, Embark and Sustainable Regional Australia.

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