Energy plan to keep cash in Geraldton

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Geoff VivianGeraldton Guardian
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Geraldton Community Energy acting chief executive Rod Littlejohn.
Camera IconGeraldton Community Energy acting chief executive Rod Littlejohn. Credit: Geoff Vivian

Geraldton residents and businesses are invited to join a new community electricity venture.

Geraldton Community Energy acting chief executive Rod Littlejohn said those who signed on to the scheme would be able to both generate and buy electricity.

“If you are going to be a customer we have to understand what your useage is and we need to do a structural assessment on your house,” he said.

“We then come along and put a solar generator and battery in to your house at no cost to you.

“Ultimately then you’re buying your electricity from Geraldton Community Energy that you consume.”

Mr Littlejohn said the group preferred to install surplus generating capacity into each home and sell the extra power to businesses that did not have enough generating capacity.

He said the not-for-profit venture aimed to make the community “energy-independent” so it no longer relied on inefficient supplies of electricity from southern WA at a cost of about $70 million a year to Geraldton.

“Instead of that leaving the Geraldton community to go elsewhere that money gets trapped in Geraldton and starts to get recycled through the Geraldton economy,” Mr Littlejohn said.

The chief executive said cheaper electricity would hopefully attract new businesses and industries to Geraldton.

He said the group needed at least one business that spent “a good chunk of money” on power to make community energy viable.

“There is a user in Geraldton that we are in negotiations with and we are hoping to close those by March,” Mr Littlejohn said.

“If we get that customer locked away we will be actively looking for ‘mums and dads’ to come on board.”

He said they would begin by using a mix of solar, wind and possibly gas-generated power, and Western Power would continue to own the poles and wires.

Mr Littlejohn said the group was incorporated as a Public Company Limited by Guarantee, which gave it a high standard of corporate governance.

Interested people are invited to register an interest via the Facebook group Geraldton Community Energy or phone 0407 579 663.

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