Energy and utilities

Offer greener energy

Energy co-ops are interested in delivering value to customers. This means they invest in products such as renewable energy which may provide less income to the co-op but will deliver better long-term value to the member.

Spread benefits widely

A co-operatively-owned wind farm, for example, allows local community members to have a stake in the business, spreading its benefits widely.

Deliver a social license to operate

Local ownership of energy assets such as wind farms has been shown to mean fewer objections from the local community.

Mutually owned utilities …

  • Create collective purchasing power which can lower costs
  • Put customers at the centre of the business
  • Reinvest locally and benefit rural Australia
  • Focus on the long-term

Create collective purchasing power which can lower costs

The collective purchasing power created by individuals coming together through an energy co-operative returns control back to people and can help to drive down costs.

Put customers at the centre of the business

Customers are put at the centre of the business and help take decisions about how energy is provided in their town or locality. For example, groups of individuals can decide to collectively own and control a solar array or wind turbine.

Reinvest locally and benefit rural Australia

Any surplus is made locally and can be retained locally. That surplus can be redirected back to the community that owns it. There is a rational economic reason to join the co-operative and this can help give people a stake in the renewable energy transition.

Focus on the long-term

Like other types of co-operative, energy and utility co-operatives can concentrate on the long-term, without the need to focus on short-term results. This is particularly important in a sector such as energy where a consistent energy supply and a sustainable approach to the provision of electricity is essential.

Energy and utilities examples

Americas Electric Co-operatives Logo

America’s Electric Co-operatives

From booming suburbs to remote rural communities, America’s electric cooperatives are energy providers and engines of economic development. Electric cooperatives play a vital role in transforming communities.
Established Year: 1937
Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Logo

Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited (CICL)

CICL is a member owned co-operative, supplying irrigation and corporate services to its members and customers. Its irrigation delivery is via gravity through open earthen channels.
Established Year: 1997
CoPower logo

CoPower

Provides energy services to customer members. Takes action against the climate crisis, build community and tackle poverty.
Established Year: 2017
Harvey Water Logo

Harvey Water

Delivers non-potable water to members and customer base, located in the premium south west growing districts, 100km south of Perth.
Established Year: 1999

Haystacks Solar Garden

Haystacks Solar Garden is Australia’s first large-scale solar garden, allowing hundreds of people locked out of rooftop solar to access to the benefits of solar.
Established Year: 2020
Hepburn Energy

Hepburn Energy

Hepburn Energy owns and operates Australia’s first community owned wind farm, leading the transition to a clean energy future.
Established Year: 2007

Energy and utilities submissions

Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism extension

BCCM submission to the consultation on extending the Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism.
Jurisdiction: Commonwealth
Committee: Department of Industry, Science and Resources
Submission Date: 19 Jul 2022

Australian Local Power Agency Bill 2021

BCCM submitted in favour of the formation of an Australian Local Power Agency.
Jurisdiction: Commonwealth
Committee: House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy
Submission Date: 09 Jul 2021

Inquiry into Modernising Australia’s Electricity Grid

The BCCM highlighted the potential for co-operative ownership of electricity infrastructure.
Jurisdiction: Commonwealth
Committee: House of Representatives Standing Committee on the Environment and Energy
Submission Date: 28 Apr 2017