First step to first community renewable energy retailer

THE first step towards the Rainbow Region becoming Australia's first community energy retailer has been taken with Northern Rivers Energy (NRE) being awarded $54,000 to develop a business plan.

Formed by a consortium of environmentally conscious citizens, Northern Rivers Energy NRE was awarded the grant from the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Total Environment Centre.

NRE spokeswoman Alison Crook said the company would encompass energy retailing, generation and asset management, and an educational energy literacy arm.

She said NRE would service the entire Northern Rivers Region, covering the Tweed, Kyogle, Byron, Lismore, Ballina, Richmond Valley and Clarence Valley council areas.

"Here on the Northern Rivers we have all the ingredients necessary to demonstrate that communities can meet their energy needs without relying on fossil fuels and can live in greater harmony with the environment, and still flourish," she said.

"The Northern Rivers already has a high level of take-up of solar PV. We have a community that really understands what it means to be a community and to support each other.

"If any region can show how the renewable industry can both create employment and reduce our impact on the environment, this region can.

"Once the NRE business plan and feasibility study are complete, community consultation will begin."

Northern Rivers Energy aims

  • Provide renewable energy and purchase solar and other renewable energy from residential, commercial and government system owners at fair prices.
  • Facilitate community investment in medium scale renewable energy projects.
  • Provide and maintain renewable energy equipment.
  • Enable purchase of equipment by consumers through lease or finance arrangements.
  • Partner with social housing providers, caravan parks and retirement villages to facilitate access to renewable energy and efficient solutions for people on low incomes.


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