Enabling community – owned renewable energy
The Victorian Government has committed to develop community-owned and operated renewable
energy projects in three regional areas across Victoria, one of which is the Latrobe Valley. With the
others in the Ballarat region and in Bendigo, the Community Power Hubs (CPH) program aims to
support Victorian communities with the skills and expertise required to develop and deliver
community-based renewable energy projects. These are characterised by local ownership,
participation and benefit sharing. The power is generated locally, used locally and the savings stay
A community energy project might entail placing solar panels on a local community building. The
power generated would be sold to the building owner at a price lower than the current power bill
with the funds raised going to repay the capital costs of the panels with a fee going to the Hub for
administration and management. This is an example only, power hubs will choose from among the
range of community-level generating technologies available and establish their own financial models
to make generate community power.
The Latrobe Valley Community Power Hub (LVCPH) will be hosted by the Gippsland Climate Change
Network that includes the municipalities of BawBaw, Latrobe and Wellington.
The LVCPH will also include a range of local stakeholders interested in expanding community energy.
Some of these stakeholders represent non-government organisations such as the Baw Baw
Sustainability Network, the Latrobe Valley Sustainability Group and the Wellington Sustainability
Network. The LVCPH will be directly supported by Sustainability Victoria.
What does the Community Power Hub provide?
Capacity building and capability for Community Energy Groups and projects.
Resourcing for project development including feasibility studies such as legal, technical and
Partnerships, networking and peer to peer support.
Communications and engagement.
Evaluation and improvement.
The stages of the LVCPH are as follows:
6-12 months Scoping and planning. Establish the governance of the Hubs and list of respective
potential Community Energy projects.
12-18 months Each Hub identifies a flagship Community Energy project and action plan.
Commence project feasibility work. Work with community groups to identify
18-24 months Flagship project finalises planning and begins raising capital. Scope additional
pipeline projects. Work with community groups to identify projects.
Commence construction/ operation of flagship project. Other projects move into
The LVCPH is now in the scoping and planning stage of development.
When a project has been identified and has met the selection criteria for power generation, financial
viability and community support, the project enters the capital raising phase. Community Groups
with an interest in energy will have the opportunity to connect into the Hub. This will assist them
with facilitation and in the development of high quality feasible projects.
Sustainability Victoria will provide resourcing, facilitation, evaluation and guidance for the two life of
the project. It is planned that the power hubs will have established their ongoing sustainability
beyond this period.