Community Power Hubs Program

Last updated: 12 April 2021

The Community Power Hubs program will fund 3 to 6 organisations to form and operate a Community Power Hub in their respective regions.

The aim of the program is to increase the access to and involvement in community renewable energy throughout Victoria.

This program will support 2 stages of a Community Power Hub project:

  1. The establishment and operation of a Community Power Hub.
  2. The delivery of implementation-ready community energy projects that have gone through feasibility and/or business cases and have obtained approvals.

One eligible organisation will operate a Community Power Hub in metropolitan Melbourne. The remaining Community Power Hubs will be located in the Victorian regions of:

  • Barwon South West
  • Gippsland
  • Grampians
  • Hume
  • Loddon Mallee.

Guidelines

View the Guidelines.

Information bulletin

For our responses to questions not addressed on this page or in the guidelines and a recording of the Information session, view the Information bulletin.

Status: Applications closed
Closing date: Wednesday 31 March 2021, 3:00 pm
Total funding available: $428,500 to $857,000 for the establishment and operation of a Community Power Hub. $800,000 in total shared across all Implementation Ready Projects.
Co-contribution:

$5:$1 (SV:Applicant). Up to 100% of the applicant’s co-contribution can be in-kind.

Available to: Charities, Community groups, Social enterprises, Not-for-profit organisations

Eligible applicants

To apply, you must:

As an applicant you are a Lead Partner Organisation responsible for supporting and collaborating with relevant community energy groups and stakeholders across your region.

Eligible projects

The funding will support 2 stages of projects:

  1. The establishment and operation of a Community Power Hub.
  2. The delivery of implementation-ready community energy projects that have completed all necessary feasibility and/or business cases, and obtained approvals.

Lead Partner Organisations will be responsible for the establishment and operation of the Community Power Hub. If you have an Implementation Ready Project, but don’t have the capacity to establish and operate a CPH, you must connect with a Lead Partner Organisation to include your project in their application.

If you are unsure of who to connect with, the Community Power Agency has a map of community energy groups across Australia. This list is not exhaustive. Councils are also a great source of local information if you are unsure who the community energy groups are in your area.

For the establishment and operation of a Community Power Hub, the funding will support:

  • administration and governance costs directly related to the development of the Community Power Hub and the delivery of its agreed activities
  • coordination and engagement of the Community Power Hub network within the region
  • planning, communication, and community engagement functions
  • community energy project planning and oversight
  • localised network and liaison, including stakeholder relationship management
  • procurement for specific community energy project feasibility services
  • operating costs (e.g. staff costs such as salaries and insurances, and office space lease or rental)
  • permit, licensing and approval costs
  • capital raising activities
  • consultancy costs/project management costs
  • marketing, advertising and promotional costs
  • business case development, feasibility studies, consultancy or contract work
  • leasing or purchasing of equipment
  • travel costs.

For delivery of community energy Implementation Ready Projects, the funding will support:

  • pre-construction (site preparation) for project implementation, such as site clearing, earthworks or site accessibility works
  • operating costs (e.g. staff costs such as salaries and insurances and office space lease/rental)
  • capital purchases (e.g. infrastructure or equipment)
  • consultancy costs/project management costs
  • travel directly attributable to delivering the outcomes of the project
  • costs associated with making the project operational (e.g. electrical inspection, system network connection etc.).

Funding limits

Funding will be broken into 2 streams:

  1. Between $428,500 and $857,000 per applicant for the establishment and operation of a Community Power Hub.
  2. Up to $800,000 in total shared across all Implementation Ready Projects.

If you apply to fund the establishment and operation of a Community Power Hub, you may be eligible for part of the $800,000 to fund the delivery of your project/s. The amount funded for each Implementation Ready Project will depend on the submissions received and results of the assessment process.

Application process

  1. You must read the program guidelines, which contain the assessment criteria and other important information.
  2. Read and accept the Funding Agreement Terms and Conditions (pdf, 325kb).
  3. Read and understand the Terms of Participation in Grant Programs.
  4. To apply you’ll need to register an account with Smarty Grants. Once you’re logged in, click on Community Power Hubs to apply.

Timeline

Timeline dates are subject to change.

Applications open Monday 1 March 2021
Applications close Wednesday 31 March 2021
3
Notification of outcome Friday 30 April 2021
4
Funded project completion for Community Power Hubs Thursday 30 June 2022
5
Implementation Ready Projects must be commissioned and operational Friday 31 December 2021

Background

As Australia moves towards renewable energy, the Victorian Government is committed to creating a renewable, affordable and reliable energy system.

In 2017, the Victorian Government committed funding and support to pilot 3 Community Power Hubs. These power hubs brought local stakeholders together to develop community-based renewable energy projects in and around Ballarat, Bendigo and the Latrobe Valley.

The pilot program:

  • reduced greenhouse gas emissions
  • increased installed renewable energy
  • increased community support for renewable energy and other clean energy initiatives
  • assisted local communities to reduce their energy costs through connecting to localised clean energy initiatives.

As a direct result of the pilot program’s success, this expanded program is being funded as part of the $1.6 billion renewable energy package in the Victorian Budget 2020-2021.

Based on recommendations from the pilot program evaluation, each CPH will have a region wide approach. These larger areas will have the ability to support multiple smaller communities, that are typically not as well-resourced.

In doing so, the Community Power Hubs Program will provide the opportunity for more Victorian communities to be active participants in planning and decisions around the transition to renewable energy.

Read about the Community Power Hubs pilot program.

Contact us

Contact:

Grants Support Representative, Sustainability Victoria grants.enquiries@sustainability.vic.gov.au