Moreland Energy Foundation goes national with its energy transitioning expertise

Australian Energy Foundation

Moreland Energy Foundation is going national. It’s changing its name to the Australian Energy Foundation and has some great ambitions to match. From local councils and their constituents to state led programs and broader policy advocacy on behalf of stakeholders.

According to the chief executive officer Alison Rowe, the goals for the newly named Australian Energy Foundation (AEF) is that in five years’ time it will be a well-established organisation that accelerates the energy transition and empowers communities to take action across Australia.

The plan is for a solid national for-purpose organisation that will scale up and expand existing services while exploring new community energy models with financial support from a revolving fund.

AEF says it won’t shy away from the tough problems facing an equitable and just transition to a low carbon society.

MEFL has helped community members across Victoria and more recently in NSW with everything from “tariff interventions” that help struggling households win better deals on their electricity bills to lobbying the federal government for better energy efficiency measures for new buildings and rentals.

AEF says it won’t shy away from the tough problems facing an equitable and just transition to a low carbon society.

It has decades of experience under its belt

Born in the 90s, MEFL was funded from the proceeds of asset sales from then-Victorian premier Jeff Kennett as part of the privatising of the electricity industry.

The deal was that a tranche of funds would help start a new asset to tackle climate change through renewable energy.

It’s been a fantastic success according to Alison. So successful it’s attracted the attention of other councils in Victoria and interstate, with the group partnering with councils in NSW and South Australia.

There’s already amazing staff in Sydney along with its Melbourne headquarters.

Alison says the organisation’s offerings fall into a few main parts.

Net zero carbon and how communities can get there

The road to net zero carbon communities can be challenging for councils. Fortunately, AEF has already worked with a number of councils, including Moreland City Council, to develop community-wide strategies and action plans. So if you work for a council and need help navigating your journey to net zero, then you’re in luck.

Interested councils can subscribe to a range of services to fast-track their clean energy journeys, including:

  • consultants experienced in designing and delivering community wide zero carbon strategies
  • an energy advice line (there’s customer contact centre inhouse)
  • information sessions for the local community
  • campaigns for trusted procurement processes through its suppliers (who are verified to meet Clean Energy Council certification).
If you are part of a community group, you can take advantage of AEF community energy tools and templates

Inspiring communities

AEF also takes a role in influencing and inspiring communities into action. A big focus for the future is community-owned energy and getting solar installations up and running, supported by a revolving fund.

If you are part of a community group, you can take advantage of AEF community energy tools and templates, which are offered on a consulting fee for service basis.

We’ll be right at the forefront of making sure everyone can get solar, and no one is locked out

Not everyone can get solar on the roof

AEF wants to make sure no one is locked out of the clean energy transition and has worked with energy companies and the community to develop models for solar for apartments, solar for renters and microgrid projects.

“We’ll be right at the forefront of making sure everyone can get solar, and no one is locked out,” Alison says.

“Because if you talk about solar you get people who can’t actually have solar on their roofs which might mean a community energy project like a solar farm is more appropriate.”

Alison says nutting out the right business model is key to solving these tricky problems. For instance, for its Moreland Power project the team is doing a feasibility study that includes options such as donations, investment or a cooperative.

It has also been gifted roof-space so they can generate solar power to benefit vulnerable members of the community.

“gifting” model leaves the owner with an updated asset and social value

Alison says this “gifting” model leaves the owner with an updated asset and social value through helping others in the community.

The Australian Energy Foundation already has amazing staff in Sydney along with its Melbourne headquarters

No energy problem is too big or too small

The organisation is also advising on federal government policies, including pushing for more focus on existing stock as part of the update to the National Construction Code.

rental properties should be a priority, considering 1 in 3 Melbourne properties are rentals

General manager of Zero Carbon Programs Rachel Maddocks says AEF is now part of an NCC update coalition considering policy options such as mandatory disclosure, minimum energy efficiency standards for rentals (which has never been instigated) and using the Victorian Scorecard Assessment tool.

She says rental properties should be a priority, considering 1 in 3 Melbourne properties are rentals.

“We know the vast majority of stock is 1 star or less ratings.”

Australian Energy Foundation will deliver scale through project delivery

For anyone looking to outsource some of its heavy-lifting to a group with know-how, project delivery is a key AEF capability.

For the Victorian government, for example, it’s managing large scale household retrofit programs.

The organisation provides direct assistance for businesses and individuals.

But individuals and small businesses don’t miss out on its services

The organisation provides direct assistance for businesses and individuals.

Struggling households and small business can call up AEF and they will help you understand your electricity bills better. They can even perform a “tariff intervention” to get you a better deal with your retailer.

Struggling households and small business can call up AEF and they will help you understand your electricity bills better

They will help you find the best energy efficiency solutions that have a very quick payback such as reverse cycle air conditioners, hot water heat pumps, draft proofing and insulation.

The industry is changing, and Australian Energy Foundation is at the forefront

Alison says there’s been a collaborative spirit emerging across the energy sector that signals a step change in the way things have been done in the past. The organisation is currently partnering with Powershop, Jemena, CitiPower and many others.

“A few years ago, we didn’t think we’d be partnering with some of these players, but now we are.”

She says this is because there’s an openness and understanding of the need to work together due to the rapidly changing energy system.

Australian Energy Foundation

Consultants | Australia