Enova Energy is set to make history as Australia’s first community-owned energy company – an initiative that has largely been funded by members of ecologically-minded Byron Bay.
Enova Energy focuses on renewable energy technologies, and having been granted a retail license by the Australian Energy Regulator, it will supply electricity to customers in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, as well as install solar systems and batteries.
Enova says its central focus is giving back to the community by providing a flexible, nimble and loyal retail service that customers can count on. Enova’s website claims that it plans to reinvest its profits back into the community, and has established a separate ‘not-for-profit’ branch of the company to sponsor community events and engage in green-energy education programs.
Enova’s shareholder prospectus estimates that up to $80 million in energy profits flows out of the region each year. Chair of Enova, Allison Crook, said: “Our aim is to capture as much of this as possible for the region. Returns will be made through a combination of dividends and social benefit projects, as well as direct and indirect job opportunities within the region.”
Enova says that once it is operational, it will offer the most generous Feed-in-Tariff rate and the best 100% GreenPower offer in the area.
Community owned energy companies are quite common in other parts of the world, yet have remained unheard of in Australia until now. While Enova’s services will initially be restricted to the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, the company’s performance will be closely monitored by communities across the country. Some speculate that if Enova performs well, it may encourage other regions to follow suit.
At the time of writing, Enova Energy is in the final stages of launch preparations after surpassing its fundraising goal and receiving its retail licence in late 2015. Enova expects that customers can start the switching process in April 2016.