AEF worked with the Centroc group of councils in central NSW on the Council-led Energy Innovation Project. The project developed a process to scope out and assess a range of renewable energy projects identified by the councils in the region. We assisted in the preliminary development of a proposal for a local renewable energy project with potential funding partners.
The project was founded on AEF’s strong understanding of:
- Renewable energy opportunities
- The energy market
- Current and future technology impacts
- Governance arrangements
- Council funding processes
- The ancillary social and economic benefits of locally based renewable energy projects.
Renewable energy opportunities
With AEF as the lead consultant, the Council-led Energy Innovation Project was a collaborative effort between Centroc, Centroc member councils and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage. The Project explored opportunities to increase the level of renewable energy generation capacity on council-owned facilities across the Centroc region, and also sought to identify renewable energy deployment opportunities that might provide a suitable focus for a funding proposal to ARENA (the Australian Renewable Energy Agency).
The project explored opportunities to understand how working collaboratively with regional stakeholders can deliver benefits across the region. It also explored how the participation of industry and community can amplify opportunities in the energy market to procure electricity in a more efficient, equitable and cost-effective way.
Looking to the future
Recognising the likelihood of energy disruption in the next decade, a program of works capitalising on the region’s strengths and points of difference has been identified with a view to optimising the outcomes for the communities of central NSW up to 2036.
The key activities that were undertaken throughout the Project included:
- The preparation of background material to inform project stakeholders about renewable energy deployment and sustainability support generally
- Two full-day workshops to uncover and define preferences and priorities regarding sustainable energy opportunities
- Sustainable energy project development and scoping using a multi-criteria analysis (MCA) decision making tool.
The project culminated in a report to stakeholders, which recommended the most appropriate next steps to get the councils’ renewable energy projects off the drawing board and into reality.
Several case studies on alternative models for funding and governance of renewable energy projects were also explored in detail.
What is Centroc?
“Centroc” is short for “Central Region Of Councils”. It is a voluntary regional collaboration of 15 councils in central NSW. It facilitates co-operation and advocacy on behalf of its member councils. It’s a long way from Brunswick, but when the Centroc councils decided they wanted to boost renewable energy in their region, they came to AEF for advice.
The Centroc region features a diversity of renewable energy resources and a range of opportunities for generating renewable energy locally. The region also has a history and capacity for region-wide collaboration on infrastructure development and delivery, including through Centroc.