One of the most important topics for the society of every country is global climate change. Right now, the rise in global average temperatures is having a profound impact on our climate, and in the coming years, these effects will be even more severe. We are witnessing rising sea levels, the depletion of fossil resources, changes in migration flows, high levels of air pollution, and other consequences that negatively affect the state of the planet.
Given the current situation, all global organizations working on climate change are calling on countries to take more active steps to move towards climate neutrality, offer sustainable solutions, and motivate government projects with additional grants. At the same time, each country independently decides how it wants to support climate neutrality and establish this process. Australia, for its part, focuses on the transition to renewable energy sources.
Already today, Australia offers a record-high level of renewable energy. In particular, Violette Mouchaileh, an Aemo executive, noted in The Guardian article: “Potential renewable output hit a record 98.6%, which combines the generation and available wind and solar farms that were bidding above the spot price and therefore not dispatched into the wholesale market.”
Local solar initiatives play an important role in this matter. Therefore, it is worth taking a closer look at their significance for the global process of climate neutrality, as well as assessing the scaling of local successes to the global market.
Grassroots Movements: Powering Communities with the Sun
Grassroots solar companies have an influential impact on community empowerment and their involvement in public life changes. In general, the focus of mass innovations is on solving urgent problems that concern the public. Such projects work according to the system “Closer to the issue – better understanding, finding solutions”. This concept helps to find options that would be more beneficial to society and quickly scale up at the community or national level.
Because grassroots solar campaigns often arise at the level of a specific community, which has its limitations, they can better understand the basic needs of the community and respond qualitatively. Therefore, this practice can be a universal solution for other communities in the country, so such grassroots solar companies can expand their local impact or inspire other grassroots initiatives to use a similar scheme to implement change.
Here are some of the benefits that grassroots solar campaigns can offer to society:
- Smaller coverage area. This factor greatly affects the quality of understanding of the issues of a particular region or city. How accurately the initiative team studies the needs of the region will also impact the outcome of the changes.
- Community empowerment. Sometimes the public sector can recognize the potential of small solar initiatives and offer cooperation or financial support. Thus, the public initiative will reach a new level.
- Active social position. Such projects help to foster a society with an active social position and an immediate response to modern challenges. In particular, this is a very important aspect of the multifaceted development of young people, who can later initiate new projects and offer innovative solutions.
An essential factor is that such bottom-up initiatives do not require large financial expenditures. They are more conducive to immediate changes, as they have a limited area of application. Thanks to this, a team can easily adjust solar activities and change the methods used to get better results.
Global Echoes: How Local Efforts Shape Worldwide Policies
Many small projects or local initiatives have a global influence on international policies. Here are some examples:
- Limondale project. This is a modern example of a solar farm from RWE. It is located near Balranald, New South Wales. Limondale was a pilot project of the company. The farm now consists of 872,000 panels on 770 hectares and has a capacity of 249 MW, which can power more than 105,000 homes. The project has a direct impact on the region and is a shining example of a successful solar farm. RWE is an active participant in the renewable energy sector and enters into power purchase agreements with companies in different countries.
- Darlington Point solar power plant. The project is being implemented by Edify and is located in the Riverina region of NSW, approximately 10 km south of the town of Darlington Point. This project is one of the largest solar power plants implemented and connected to the national electricity market. The farm has a power purchase agreement with Delta Electricity to supply 150 MW of renewable energy. The project contains almost 1 million solar panels and supplies cheap, clean energy to more than 110,000 homes.
Another interesting project is Solar Citizens. This is an independent NGO that works to protect and develop renewable energy and transportation. This community solar program has had a powerful local impact on shaping public opinion in Australia.
Scaling Up: Transforming Local Successes into Global Solutions
Global sustainability depends to a large extent on local initiatives and grassroots solar companies. After all, it is on these small projects that stakeholders can quickly improve the system of operations to offer a truly effective solution. One that can be replicated around the world.
The above-mentioned community initiatives and solar projects offer to utilize their potential not only within a specific region but throughout Australia. Some representatives are ready to enter into green energy purchase agreements with foreign representatives.
Foreign parties are involved in the development of some projects. For example, Green Hydrogen is being developed in cooperation with Siemens Energy and thanks to grant funding from the Australian-German HyGATE initiative. This is one of the methods of international cooperation used for scaling solar solutions, further exchange of experience, and development of innovative solutions that can be distributed to the global market.
Australia’s local initiatives are open to cooperation both in the public sector and at the level of international research. Interested foreign parties can also request that an Australian local initiative in project replication in their country to learn from the experience and replicate the desired results.