Study: Australian community renewable energy “new, but growing”

Renters, low-income households, or people with little knowledge of renewables are increasingly becoming involved in the development of renewable energy projects in Australia. This is one of the findings of a new study published in Energy Research and Social Science.

One of the study’s authors, UQ’s Annie McCabe, said the research brings together community energy concepts and social housing – which are “rarely combined” in research, she notes.

“These community energy groups create environmental and socioeconomic benefits through return on investment and provide a source of economic development, diversification, social capital and autonomy in the local community,” said Annie McCabe, from UQ’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

McCabe specifically pointed to programs such as Brisbane-based Energetic Communities as a way that people can participate in renewable energy development.

“Access to cheap, sustainable forms of energy is a basic right, like water, food and housing,” said McCabe.

As a part of her research. McCabe is looking at five Australian wind or solar power community energy case studies in WA, Victoria and NSW.