Community renewable energy is something we will hopefully be hearing a lot more about in the future. The idea, which is popular overseas, is for members of a local community to get together, combine their money and build a much larger renewable energy "power station" than they could individually afford. The proceeds from selling the electricity created then provide a return on investment.
The classic example of this in Australia is Hepburn Wind in Victoria where roughly 2000 people got together and installed a ~4MW wind farm. Recently another project has been announced for Sydney where a community scheme will put 400 kW of solar panels on the roof of the new convention centre in Darling Harbour. Helping drive this (and many other proposed projects) is Embark a not for profit group aiming to spur along community renewable energy by providing know-how and also seed funding.
Although community owned renewables are unlikely to generate a large percentage of the electricity we produce any time soon, they provide an opportunity for people who can't otherwise create their own electricity (renters, people living in apartments, home owners whose roof isn't suitable for solar panels etc etc) to get involved. Importantly they also allow the local community to own and benefit from their local renewable energy resource (whatever that might be) and for people to make money out of being green.
For a more detailed look at community renewable energy and it's benefits and possibilies, see this article in Renew Economy.
So what about in QLD? Well, recently Energetic Communities, which aims to develop community renewable energy in SEQ got up and running. Hopefully I'll have more to say about them in the near future.