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Local government encouraging clean energy

Solving energy issues at local meetings and forums 16000646 800516716 0 0 14090903 300

We've all heard about the million rooftop solar panel systems across Australia and how individuals have been taking up the technology at record levels.

But local governments are getting in on the action too, aiming to help residents avoid the sting of high electricity prices.

A forum has been held in Brisbane, and others are to be held in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, where local government will network and trade their insights with energy efficiency and renewable energy providers.

Each forum will discuss possibilities, risks and benefits of clean technologies and energy efficiency for local government, with an aim to clarify any uncertainties and doubt.

There will be case studies that clearly demonstrate the benefits of renewable energy, and how these technologies can help local government to reduce, or even completely offset, their power usage.

At the Brisbane event, the Brisbane Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for Local Government Forum, Byron Shire and Townsville City Councils met to share their ideas. The event was hosted by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) and the federal Department of Industry.

"There is a lot of great work going on at the local government level and this is a great chance to showcase some of the best renewable energy and energy efficiency projects and find out how they were funded and delivered," said CEC Policy Director Russell Marsh.

Clean energy is getting cheaper all the time and can provide big financial benefits for councils that are prepared to invest in energy efficiency, solar power, solar hot water and much more."

Simon Richardson, Byron Shire Mayor, said the council was considering how to proceed with a community ownership model for renewable energy. This would be a significant step up from its initial plans to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent by 2020, primarily through solar power.

"We found we could easily meet our initial target for reducing the emissions of council operations and significantly add to that with the help of the local community," said Mr Richardson.

With a community ownership model, local residents are shareholders and are able to buy and sell shares as they need. This means that any profits go right back to the community, as opposed to a company.

The next forum will take place in Adelaide on November 21.

Posted by Charlie Moore