Proposed New Energy Agency Would Help Regional Australia Benefit from Regional Renewable Energy Projects

A proposed Australian Local Power Agency would help regional Australian communities benefit from new renewable energy projects in their region.

Such an agency would help drive investment in small renewable energy projects, allow the Government to underwrite medium-scale renewable energy projects, and support regional communities to have financial equity in large-scale renewable energy projects in regional Australia, according to the Australia Institute’s submission to the HoR Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy Inquiry into the Bill.

Key Findings:

  • The establishment of an Australian Local Power Agency would drive investment in community energy projects, ensure that regions receive benefit from large-scale renewable energy projects and provide research and information for community energy projects.
    • In short, the proposed Australian Local Power Agency would ensure that regional communities actually benefit from new renewable energy projects in their region.
  • The renewable energy transition is inevitable and has the potential to drive significant jobs creation in regional Australians through investment in utility-scale renewable energy, transmission, storage, community-scale energy and green hydrogen projects.
  • The ongoing transition towards renewable energy will also impact regional Australia, with many projects developed in new Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) across the country.
  • Renewable energy projects driven by the Australian Local Power Agency can support grid security and reliability in the National Electricity Market
    • Renewable energy projects close to communities where the energy is consumed are highly valuable for the energy grid
    • Small, community-scale energy projects can help maintain grid security as coal-fired power stations retire
    • Renewable energy projects across regional Australia can increase grid system resilience by taking advantage of weather diversity in different regions
  • The Australia Institute submission therefore recommends The Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021 be passed.

“Community ownership of renewable energy projects will help regional communities claim their fair share of the economic benefits of the clean energy transition,” said Dan Cass, energy policy and regulatory lead at the Australia Institute.

“Community-scale energy projects help improve the reliability of our energy grid by improving the geographic diversity of generation and helping maintain grid security as coal retires.

“The proposed Australian Local Power Agency would be a valuable complement to Australia’s existing clean energy funding bodies and ensure that community-scale renewables are supported.

“Regional communities should be able to reap the economic benefits of the renewable energy projects developed in their communities, this new agency helps ensure that is the case.”

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