Community Energy

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The Australian energy sector is in the process of rapid change as it rises to the challenge of reaching 82% renewable energy by 2030 and Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. 

Local communities such as yours are critical in this transition.

What is Community Energy?

Community Energy refers to a diverse range of community-led energy initiatives with local engagement, leadership, community benefit and control at their heart. A growing interest in clean, local power is driving affordable, flexible, and efficient renewable energy projects across Australia. Every project is different and tailored to each community's needs and ambitions. Projects can include solar installations (PV), bioenergy, wind farms or community batteries.

How do I progress my Community Energy project?

Community Energy projects require time and effort from specialist resources and knowing how to navigate this journey is essential to achieving desired outcomes.

There are a number of groups who provide resources such as tools, guides and templates to help support community energy groups deliver their projects. These groups can also provide learnings from previous projects. 

These groups include: 

The Coalition for Community Energy has a Knowledge Hub with lots of tools, templates and guides for community energy groups.

There are also a number of Government websites that provide useful information for community energy groups:

How do I find other community energy groups?

Both the Coalition for Community Energy and Community Power Agency have information on community energy groups across Australia: 

When do I approach Essential Energy?

Before reaching out to us, your group will need to do a lot of the planning required for your project. Please be aware that you often must be flexible in your planning as some of the points below can significantly affect your proposed project, causing changes to your plan.  For instance, a site next to a highly constrained transformer may not be feasible and you may need to look for a new site for your project. 

Items that need to be considered include: 

  • Clearly define your objectives;
  • Establish your project including governance and financing;
  • Engage technical resources/consultants to scope your project, including details such as project size, land requirements, technical considerations, and cost estimates;
  • Consider fundings options (consider your construction costs, operational costs and business model for operating the project);
  • Identify potential sites and investigate site details including:
  • Site ownership;
  • local council zoning of the site (be aware that not all projects are applicable for all zones);
  • Essential Energy infrastructure surrounding the site and any potential network constraints for the site (we have some publicly available datasets that can help with this – see the links to these datasets below) 

It is also a good idea to understand any regulatory requirements that your project is required to meet (National Electricity Rules or NSW Service and Installation Rules) – your technical consultant should be able to help you with this.

The websites noted above include tools, templates and guides to help you navigate these phases of your project. You can also reach out to other community groups who have delivered similar projects to get advice and guidance, including which technical consultants they used to help their project progress.

Once you have a clear project scope and understand where you would like to connect your Community Energy project you will need to submit a connection application to Essential Energy.

Information to help you plan your project

To assist you and your technical consultant with planning your project we have three datasets available that may be of use. They are:

Need to Submit a Connection Enquiry to Essential Energy?

During the initial planning stages of your project, if you and your technical consultant want to understand the suitability of your selected point of connection to our network and would like to receive advice, please complete a connection enquiry.

In order to best serve your request, we require as much information about your project as you can supply – it may be best to have your consultant submit the request to ensure we receive the technical information we require.

Note that we may charge a fee for providing this information – we will notify you of the fee after you submit your request but prior to any work beginning to ensure you are still keen to continue with the request.

Connection Application

Once the preliminary planning stages for your project are complete you will need to submit a connection application to Essential Energy. Your technical consultant will be able to advise you when the right time is to progress to a connection application.

For more information on our connections process please visit:

What are our future energy plans?

The energy industry is transitioning at a rapid pace. Learn more about our future energy plans and projects such as electric vehicles, SAPS and batteries.