In 2013 CCCE was one of 9 community groups in NSW awarded a grant by the Office of Environment and Heritage under the Community Renewable Energy Funding Program. CCCE received $55,000 to fund expert legal and financial advice on our project (EOI-24) which was to investigate a new model for partnership between a local council and a community group.
We used as a hypothetical project the installation of solar PV on the roof of the Peninsula Leisure Centre in Woy Woy, a large scale electricity consumer and a building originally built to incorporate solar PV (but which had not had that installed due to budget constraints).
Our vision was that a trading co-operative of Central Coast residents would install a 200kW to 300kW system and enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Gosford Council. To do this without the ordinary tender process, in which a new community enterprise would be disadvantaged compared to corporations, Council legal and administrative staff worked with CCCE committee members to investigate the use of a “cut-down” Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) model. Although the project did not proceed to the development stage, and current issues with investment in renewable energy means the Council is looking at a much smaller system to install now, our research showed that with the support of a Council, a PPP could be developed that was likely to be approved by the Minister for Local Government. This would allow the Council to work with a preferred community renewable energy group, and furthermore, no legal impediment was seen to the Council also becoming a share-holder in the trading co-operative.
see the full report below