Armidale's Starfish Initiative calls for support in new National Energy Guarantee

Starfish Initiative Executive Director Adam Blakester.
Starfish Initiative Executive Director Adam Blakester.

With the Clean Energy Target scrapped, the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) has surged ahead as the country’s new energy policy.

The Turnbull government insists its new model will cut the cost of power bills and has clean energy targets in mind despite NEG requiring more coal and gas-fired power generation.

But Starfish Initiative’s Executive Director Adam Blakester said more support is still needed for local community energy projects.

“There’s no federal government policy that supports community energy, to my knowledge, at all,” he said.

“It’s not on the radar of the federal government at all and Barnaby’s electorate in the New England is one of the most active community energy regions in Australia.

There’s no federal government policy that supports community energy, to my knowledge, at all.

Adam Blakester

“Community energy is obviously only a part of the solution and we’re always going to need utility-scale power systems like the big wind and solar farms.”

Opposition’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler, said the best households can hope for is to see their bills reduced by 50 cents a week with the Coalition’s new policy.

Mr Blakester said LED lights and solar community energy projects can save households and businesses around 10 to 20 per cent a year.

“It’s huge, it really is huge,” he said.

“The Coalition are saying it’s (NEG) going to save money but no one has seen modelling behind that to be able to review it and check it.”

Mr Blakester said Starfish is calling on Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce to support community energy by making it a priority in NEG.

“Community energy is a win for the environment and a win for lowering power bills,” he said.

“International research has shown that community ownership of renewable energy projects significantly increases the local economic benefits and jobs too.”

Fairfax Media contacted Mr Joyce and are awaiting a response.