Enova game changer for community-owned electricity supply

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Enova founding partners Alison Crook, Steve Harris, Melissa MacCourt, and Patrick Halliday

Enova founding partners Alison Crook, Steve Harris, Melissa MacCourt, and Patrick Halliday

Enova Community Energy Ltd has become Australia’s first community-owned electricity supplier.

On 22 December 2015, the company announced a highly successful near $3.8 million result for its capital raise (Offer closed 17 December), supporting a solid platform from which to launch Australia’s first community owned renewable energy retailer. On Friday 16 October, the Australian Energy Regulator approved Enova’s application for a retail licence, subject to completion of Enova’s current capital raising. Shares were offered from $1000 and closed on 27th November 2015.  Although Enova shares will not be listed on the ASX or other securities exchange after the offer, this shows that community social enterprises can compete with big business in the electricity market.

“The people have spoken” said Enova Chair, Alison Crook. “The Northern Rivers community has shown that it really wants to own its own power company and to influence the renewable debate in Australia. And it has been supported in that by people from every state and territory in Australia who appreciate the significance of Enova’s goals,” said Ms Crook.

“We have almost 1,100 investors, with 75% of voting shares held in the region, and an average holding of $3,000. This is a huge effort from the community and we certainly feel inspired by all the encouraging calls, emails and social media, the common theme being we must make this happen,” said Ms Crook.

“We had an enormous rush of support in the last weeks following months of thinking we may just raise enough to establish, so we are thrilled with the result which is well above the minimum $3 million required, and just shy of the maximum $4 million target we set ourselves,” continued Ms Crook.

“We are deeply committed to our investors and supporters to make Enova Energy the successful community enterprise that we have all planned,” said Ms Crook.

Enova Energy has a renewable energy priority, a social and community focus with high ambitions as well as an innovative structure and approach. “The timing of the Paris Climate talks has raised the awareness that it is up to us on the ground to make change happen and to demonstrate the innovation that our politicians are at last starting to talk about,” said Ms Crook.

Enova will provide the missing piece of the puzzle that will allow many more community renewable generation projects to get off the ground. “We can purchase their energy and make it available in the community and be the key ingredient in a replicable model for community energy,” explains Ms Crook.

Enova has already attracted considerable interest from other communities outside the Northern Rivers area and wants to demonstrate the viability of its alternative energy mode for replication across Australia.

“We are delighted that 25% of voting shares are distributed around every state and territory in Australia, which we believe demonstrates that the national significance of Enova is well understood,” said Ms Crook.

Enova is serious about its goal of reducing carbon emissions. “Others have this as part of their offer, at a cost, says CEO, Steve Harris, but we intend to offer 100% new renewable as our lead offer – i.e., not relying on overseas carbon credits or old hydro – and we plan to offer it at a price considerably lower than that offered by the large companies.”

2016 will see Enova establishing offices, systems and operations. Its energy technology advice and installation business will go into operation immediately and the Not For Profit arm will also commence work from early January. The retail arm will be preparing for commencement of customer services as soon as systems are fully established and tested.

For more information visit http://www.enovaenergy.com.au/

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