Australia’s first community-owned electricity supplier launches

A social enterprise formed by local residents of the Northern Rivers region in NSW, has become Australia's first community-owned electricity supplier after raising the $3 million of capital required for it to list on the Australian stock exchange.

Enova Community Energy, a social enterprise formed by local residents of the Northern Rivers region in NSW, has become Australia’s first community-owned electricity supplier after raising the $3 million of capital required for it to list on the Australian stock exchange.

To date, $3,238,000 has been raised by members of the public, enough for the company to commence retail operations. However, it is expected that the final tally will be more than this, once the share offering closes at 5pm on December 17.

Enova estimates that it will begin operating in early 2016, when it will buy renewable energy from the grid and from renewable energy generators (such as community renewable energy projects) to sell to customers.

It aims to eventually compete with large energy companies, such as AGL Energy and Origin Energy, and potentially move into buying, installing and maintaining renewable energy solutions, and set up a not-for-profit that will work to install renewable power on community and social housing.

Enova chair Alison Crook noted that 75 per cent of the total 857 shareholders were Northern Rivers community members, adding that this “indicates the high level of local support from the local community”.

She said that this makes the enterprise “determined to take control of [its][ renewable energy future, providing local jobs, enabling new technologies and community benefit projects across the Northern Rivers region”.

The remaining 25 per cent of share applicants are from “every state and territory in Australia”.

This story was published with permission from The Fifth Estate.

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