People power: How Tasmania can fast-track community energy

by Dan Cass

The Australia Institute Tasmania has released a new report today which examines a proposal to fast-track the development of community-owned energy generators in Tasmania.

“Community owned renewable energy will deliver financial benefits for Tasmanian communities at the same time as helping improve energy security, ” said Dan Cass, the report’s author.

“Community owned energy is booming around the world, but Australia lags behind.

“Rural electric cooperatives serve an incredible 42 million Americans, with assets worth US$112 billion and employing 70,000 people.

“Sir Edward Davey, the UK’s former Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, has said community ownership will “revolutionise” Britain’s transition out of fossil fuels.” 

The report proposes that Tasmania should consider three easy policies to accelerate this exciting new sector:

• Government contracts with community-owned generators

• Business support to kick-start community-owned energy companies

• Valuing community benefit when assessing major energy project proposals

“The fast-track solution for Tasmania is to help communities achieve co-ownership of commercial wind farms and other large energy assets.

“This means that a community-owned energy company effectively buys a share of a wind-farm that is being built and managed by a commercial developer. This removes the substantial barriers to a community designing, managing and financing a complex infrastructure asset.”

“Community renewable energy means economic justice locally and climate justice globally,” said Mr Cass.

The report was launched at ‘Imagining a Different Future’, an international climate conference in Hobart hosted by the University of Tasmania, University of Utrecht, the Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre and Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science.

Full report