First Nations clean energy network established

Solar panels are installed in Marlinja, in the Northern Territory's Barkly Tablelands
Solar panels are installed in Marlinja, in the Northern Territory's Barkly Tablelands (Image: First Nations Clean Energy Network)

First Nations groups, unions, industry bodies and academics have launched a new network to build renewable energy projects in Indigenous communities, ABC News reported.

The First Nations Clean Energy Network aims to forge partnerships between communities and industry to develop renewable energy projects on Indigenous land to provide reliable power and end energy insecurity. 

Original Power’s Karrina Nolan said the network’s goal was to bring clean, reliable and affordable power to communities with projects that were community owned with huge potential for solar power—especially in the outback. 

Ms Nolan said there were only a handful of clean energy projects in Indigenous communities, even though they were early adopters of solar through the Bushlight program in remote areas of the Northern Territory, Western Australia and Queensland, which ran between 2002 and 2013. 

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“We’re not seeing enough involvement in medium to large-scale enterprises, certainly the large-scale export projects at the moment,” she told ABC News.

“There’s really only one of those that’s jointly being done with an Aboriginal community.

“But what we’re hoping to see by developing the network is that those companies and businesses get on board and actually do role model best practice on what it could really look like to make sure that benefits are shared by all, and certainly by our communities.”

Nearly a quarter of Australia’s energy generation comes from renewable energy, such as solar and wind power, and the country is expected to surpass the target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030.

Read the full report here.