The journey

Let us take you step by step through the process – from setting objectives through to seeing your energy solution in operation.

Step 1: What are the objectives of your community energy project?

Clearly define and agree on your community energy project’s objectives. For example, you might want:

  • base-level resilience for relief centres and essential services
  • community-wide resilience during extreme weather events
  • totally renewable or net zero carbon ambitions
  • to expand your local economy into renewables
  • to generate additional community revenue by participating and trading in the energy market.

The scale, complexity and cost of your energy solution may change significantly based on your project’s primary energy objective. Make sure you engage broadly within your community to define and agree on your community’s primary energy objective up-front.

Step 2: Establish your project by organising your community’s finance and governance

Before starting your project, carefully consider your source(s) of funding and legal structure – for example, unincorporated, incorporated, cooperative, unlisted public company or social enterprise.

To establish the project, you should:

  • appoint a dedicated project manager
  • agree on how your community energy project will be governed, including the committee, community group members or partners you need to involve, and their responsibilities
  • set up your project with key stakeholders
  • formalise the project by ensuring good project management practices are followed throughout the project’s lifecycle.

Step 3: Gather information and commission a feasibility study

Once your project’s objectives, finance and governance are agreed and the project is formalised:

  • submit a network data request to support the feasibility study
  • conduct a feasibility study to determine the best energy solution and business model for your community.

Decision Point – Is the energy solution feasible for your community?

If yes, continue to point 4.

If no, you may want to investigate a different community solution or stop the project at this point - noting the feasibility study found the project was not feasible.

Step 4: Conduct preliminary works and the grid connection process

You can now start the preliminary works stage. To do this, you’ll need to review and follow the relevant Grid Connection process based on the size of your energy solution. For more information, see Electricity connections.

Step 5: Procure, install and commission the energy solution

Once your preliminary works stage is complete and we have approved your grid connection, you can start procuring, installing and commissioning your energy solution.

Step 6: Operationalise your energy solution

This is the final step. You are now ready to connect your community energy solution. For more information, see Electricity connections.

Make sure there are ongoing operation and maintenance plans in place. Once your energy solution is up and running, we suggest reviewing and evaluating the process you went through and documenting any learnings before planning your next project.

For more information, see our FAQs

Key stages of your project 

To help you through the process, we’ve prepared detailed information about each stage – the feasibility study, preliminary works and implementation works. Note: these are just a guide. Please tailor these stages to suit your community energy project.

Feasibility Study

What is it?

A detailed assessment to determine if the project and energy solution is achievable. It includes:

  • high-level technical designs of the energy solution
  • high-level implementation, operational, maintenance and market revenue costs for the energy solution, including ownership and contracting structure
  • initial community engagement to ensure the design meets your primary community energy objective.

What’s the outcome?

  • To confirm if the community energy solution is technically and commercially achievable.

Preliminary Works

What’s involved?

  • Detailed technical designs for the energy solution.
  • Detailed plan outlining how the energy solution will be funded and owned after the project is completed.
  • Analysis of the energy solution’s values and benefits.
  • Market sounding of the energy solution, including gauging market interest, solution and sizing availability and various market pricing.
  • Expressions of interest from local installers.
  • Detailed community engagement, including site assessments and land lease agreements for the energy solution’s location and ownership.
  • Detailed costings for implementation, ongoing operations, maintenance and market revenue, including ownership and the contracting structure.

What’s the outcome?

  • A project which is ready to be implemented – i.e. shovel ready.

Implementation Works

What’s involved?

  • Detailed community and stakeholder engagement.
  • Purchasing of components.
  • Installing and testing major components and integrating them incrementally to build-up the solution.
  • Commissioning the energy solution within the community, including defining the ongoing operation and maintenance with the solution’s owner(s).

What’s the outcome?

  • An installed and commissioned solution, with operation and maintenance agreements in place.