The Australian Greens are expected to announce new policy that would spend $265 million on helping Australian communities to set up their own clean energy projects, including solar.
The policy, to be released in full on Saturday, is believed to propose tax-free earnings for households and businesses that invest in community-owned renewable energy projects, and the development of a Community Energy Powerhouses Start-Up Fund.
Not unlike federal Labor’s Community Renewable Hubs plan, but with a bigger budget, the proposed Greens $150 million start-up fund would set up 50 Community Energy powerhouses, with up to two years of operational funding.
The Greens policy is also expected to address barriers in the regulatory environment, such as changes to crowd-funding laws.
Community energy is considered to be a key ingredient to the smooth transition of Australia’s energy sector to low-carbon technologies – particularly for how the consumer benefits from it.
Earlier this month, Labor restated its own commitment to developing the sector, with a policy that proposes committing $98.7 million to the creation of up to ten Community Power Hubs in “the areas of most need,” to deal with the challenges of implementing renewable energy solutions.
In a statement on Wednesday, the ALP noted that despite Australia’s world-leading form on rooftop solar installation, a significant proportion of households, including rental properties and public housing, have missed out due to difficulty of access.