A Shorten Labor Government will invest $100 million in a Neighbourhood Renewables Program so that renters and social housing residents can also benefit from cheaper and cleaner renewable energy.
Renewable energy is the cheapest form of new energy, and rooftop solar has slashed energy bills for households around the country. Over the past decade, the installation of rooftop solar has grown dramatically in Australia, from 7,000 in 2007 to around 2 million today. While many Australian families have invested in rooftop solar, access has largely been restricted to owner-occupied, detached or semi-detached homes.
There is currently no national policy aimed at helping communities, renters, social housing residents or other currently excluded groups access small-scale renewable energy and storage. Additional support is required to ensure all Australians can benefit from cheaper, cleaner and more reliable power.
Labor will commit $100 million to develop a Community Power Network that will draw from skills and expertise around the country to deal with the challenges of implementing renewable energy and storage solutions in social and community housing, rental properties and apartment-style living.
The Network will oversee the creation of up to 10 Community Power Hubs that will work in communities to support the development of local projects with start-up funding and legal and technical expertise. The Network will also create an online community to ensure that ideas, models, and implementation strategies are freely available to all Community Power Hubs and other community energy groups.
Projects eligible for funding in communities across Australia could include:
· ‘Solar gardens’ and energy storage solutions for renters.
· Low income energy efficiency (including retrofits of existing social housing stock).
· Solar programs using innovative finance like council rates programs.
· Community wind farms.
· Pilot community solar and storage projects with social housing providers.
· Rates financing for low income pensioners.
We will pay for it by making multinationals pay their fair share and closing tax loopholes used by the top end of town.