Community power hubs backed by Labor

In the leadup to unveiling Labor’s renewable energy plan, leader Bill Shorten has announced it will help enable more Australian communities to reap the benefits of clean energy.

Saying every Australian deserve the chance to benefit from the rise of renewable energy, Mr Shorten said Labor will create a network of community power hubs that will boost jobs and facilitate the installation of small-scale renewables projects.

“From the cities and suburbs to our regions, Labor is delivering real action on climate change, real jobs and real investment in Australia’s renewable energy future,” Mr Shorten said.

“In the past decade, the number of household installations of solar panels has soared from just over 1000 to 1.5 million today. The take-up rate of rooftop solar has been highest in outer metropolitan and regional areas, contrary to the mistaken idea that it is most popular among inner-city and higher-income households.”

Shadow Environment, Climate Change and Water Minister Mark Butler said it is in everyone’s interest that confidence be restored in the small-scale renewable energy sector.

“Not just so all Australians can have equal access to lower electricity bills, but also to secure jobs and lower carbon emissions for the economy as a whole,” he said.

“Australian households have taken up the opportunity of installing renewable energy systems like rooftop solar panels with enthusiasm, providing a boost for manufacturers and installers across the country.

“However, there remain gaps in the significant proportion of households that have previously found it too difficult to access rooftop solar and other small-scale renewables, including those who live in rental properties, public housing and apartment blocks.”

The Shorten Labor government have promised $98.7 million toward the creation of up to 10 community power hubs in the areas of most need, which would deal with the challenges of implementing renewable energy solutions.

The hubs would work with local communities to support the development of renewable projects, by providing legal and technical expertise as well as start-up funding.

Examples of projects that could be eligible include:

  • “Solar gardens” or shared arrays of solar panels for groups of renters
  • Retrofitting of existing social housing to promote energy efficiency
  • Community wind farms
  • Working with social housing and aged care providers on solar rooftop installations