New toolkit could open door for more community energy projects

A toolkit that provides information on the financing requirements of community energy projects is expected to help grow the nascent market.

The financial toolkit created by Frontier Energy has been helped by $296,000 in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (the total cost is $493,000), and is expected to assist in the development and delivery of community energy projects.

Managing director of Frontier Energy Jennifer Lauber Patterson said the toolkit would provide easily accessible information on financier requirements, financial models, checklists and case studies, along with a list of key contacts. It would also make project development less expensive for community groups by removing the need to seek external advice in the early stages.

“This will reduce the duplication of efforts, leading to a reduction in project development costs and making community renewables projects more competitive, benefitting Australian communities,” Ms Lauber Patterson said.

“We have seen solar energy grow rapidly over the last 10 years and [it] will continue to grow particularly given that storage systems will become more technically feasible in the near future.”

In the coming months Frontier Energy will consult with a range of key stakeholders in the development of the toolkit including commonwealth and state governments and key community energy groups.

The toolkit is scheduled for release in early 2016.

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