Tom Nockolds and Michael Ramsden: Exploring community power for Gloucester.

Tom is a member of the Community Power Agency team, helping communities across Australia develop, own and operate their own sustainable energy projects. He has a strong knowledge of the different business models being adopted or considered by community energy groups in Australia and has helped groups navigate their way through complex technical and regulatory environments. In his spare time Tom also volunteers for Pingala, a community energy group in Sydney who recently installed solar panels on the roof of the Young Henrys brewery in Newtown.

Mike Ramsden is a Community Energy Developer. Mike sees community energy projects as a way of bringing together not only regional communities but also the wider community that supports both the accelerated uptake of renewables and a thriving regional Australia. He believes that Gloucester the ideal place to build a new part of this empowering movement. With over 12 years experience in the New South Wales coal power industry as an electrician and electrical engineer, Mike made the switch to solar as part of the construction team of Moree’s 56MW Solar Farm initially working as a leading hand electrician on farm’s solar field and then moving into the construction supervisor position for the farm’s high voltage substation. Mike is now back in Newcastle NSW working for a local solar & battery storage company as well as continuing his part time electrical engineering studies at Newcastle University of which he has tied into his community energy work.

Workshop brief: Exploring community solar for Gloucester.
This session aims to generate discussion on Community Solar Project for Gloucester. Community Power Agency’s vision is for a fair and sustainable energy sector that provides real benefit for more Australians and our environment. They specialise in supporting community groups to navigate the complex process of setting up a community energy project. They believe that democratically controlled, decentralised renewable energy projects will bring social, environmental and economic benefits to communities across Australia.

The Community Power Agency’s mission is to help grow a vibrant community energy sector in Australia, through building the capacity of communities on the ground and working collaboratively with other organisations to address systemic barriers facing the sector as a whole.  To achieve these goals, they engage in six main areas of work:

1. Supporting and building the capacity of community projects on the ground
2. Developing and implementing new business models
3. Engaging in sector level advocacy, collaboration and coordination
4. Providing energy advice and policy development to support a range of stakeholders
5. Community-Council & Community-Developer partnerships
6. Developing resources and doing research

The Community Power Agency was set up in 2011 by Nicky Ison and Jarra Hicks, after returning from visiting all shapes and sizes of community energy in the UK, Europe, North America and India. Since 2013 three further directors, Franziska Mey and Tom Nockolds (NSW), and Manny Pasqualini (Victoria), have helped develop Community Power Agency into the dynamic organisation it is today, and together work hard to make community energy a reality in Australia.