Catholic Earthcare Australia and Community Energy

Posted on Mar 14, 2017 in News
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The 2017 Community Energy Congress was held in the Melbourne Town Hall and was attended by some 600 participants including Simon Habel and Philippa Rowland from Catholic Earthcare Australia.

It was organised by the Coalition for Community Energy, and is the premier event on Australia’s community energy calendar.  The Congress brought together around 600 people to strengthen this budding sector, share information, develop skills, foster new networks, celebrate success and plan for action.

The Congress included presentations by the Danish Community Energy Advocate Soren Hermansen who described the process of developing his community’s island into a 100% renewable energy powered entity. His presentation can be found here.

Numerous other presenters described how community energy is evolving in the United States and across Australia and the world. It was clear that a lack of consistent policy by Australian governments and regulators make community energy a challenge compared to the US and Europe but many examples and models were explored and discussed – from small scale donation lead models for rooftop solar through to the development of large scale solar farms and gardens.

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A number of politicians also spoke supportively of community energy including Chris Picton MP (SA), Ben Franklin MLC (NSW) and Shane Rattenbury MLA (ACT) and took questions from the Congress. I think the tone is best summed up by Ben Franklin who said “Community energy means connection, commitment and social responsibility”.

One of the most uplifting portions of the program was the session on Energy Justice that included a panel of Indigenous leaders from across Australia and Canada who spoke of the situation on their country. As an outcome of the Congress an Indigenous Sustainability Alliance was formed to look at ways of developing renewable energy projects on country amongst other initiatives. As Fred Hooper of the Murriwarri nation said “Renewable energies are a start on the path to self-determination and out of poverty”

Catholic Earthcare Australia has been involved in energy related projects for many years, most recently with our National Energy Efficiency Network across Australia. We are now working on community and renewable energy projects across the country. If you are interested in getting involved  please contact Simon Habel, Program Manager at simon.habel@catholicearthcare.org.au

All presentations from the Congress can be found here and are a rick source of ideas and knowledge. Make sure you also look at the photos and the cartoons.

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 (Photos courtesy of c4ce)

 

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Important Announcement

Catholic Earthcare is the part of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference which promotes ecological conversion to achieve a loving and sustainable relationship with the natural world. It uses environmental education, national and international links and advocacy to achieve this goal.

In May 2017, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference decided to incorporate Catholic Earthcare Australia into its sister agency, Caritas Australia. This change was made to strengthen the capacity of Catholic Earthcare Australia, particularly in advocating and educating about the principles of Holy Father’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, and to achieve synergies with Caritas Australia’s extensive education and advocacy work around Australia, including parishes, schools and the wider Catholic community on environmental issues such as climate change.

Caritas Australia is the Church’s international aid and development agency.  As part of the global Caritas confederation operating in 190 countries, it works alongside marginalised communities in many countries and with 11 First Australian agencies here in Australia.  Promoting the principles of Laudato Si is at the centre of the global confederation and of Caritas Australia.

This website is being refined to reflect the new administrative arrangements for Catholic Earthcare Australia. For all enquiries in relation to the work of Catholic Earthcare Australia or to request assistance, please call  1800 024 413 or email CatholicEarthcare@caritas.org.au.

Thank you for your ongoing support of Catholic Earthcare Australia and your commitment to combating climate change and protecting the environment and ecosystems from degradation and pollution.