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Byron Shire
May 19, 2021

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Paul Bibby

Local community-owned energy company Enova is expanding into Sydney, Newcastle, the Central Coast and Wollongong – going online in the new markets today.

While Enova retails electricity to more than 6,500 households and businesses throughout regional NSW, the majority of its customers and 1,600 shareholders are currently based in the Northern Rivers.

The company hopes all that will change as it attempts to move into some of the country’s biggest markets which are already crowded with energy retailers.

‘This is a crucial step for Enova to enable us to continue to scale up and deliver on our social objectives of reinvesting into local community energy projects,’ Felicity Stening, Enova CEO said.

‘Our vision is to make renewable energy affordable and accessible to everyone, with 50 per cent of our profits reinvested back into the community via projects focused on energy efficiency, education and community owned renewable energy,’ she said.

Enova’s model is focused on localising energy to progressively increase the amount of locally generated, renewable energy.

The expansion will enable it to market this model to an additional 3.5 million additional potential customers across all of NSW.

Whether this can be achieved in a major metropolitan area like Sydney remains to be seen.

Enova Community Energy Chair and Founder, Alison Crook AO said there was a ‘genuine opportunity and a real feeling these days, that we have to make things work at the local level’.

‘There’s a strength in community, a strength in local, and there’s an opportunity to show a whole new way of doing things.’

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  1. Enova is a reason why living in the Northern Rivers is such good value. Another is how we top the state in the quality of service we receive at our hospitals. It all comes down to one thing – the community mindedness of our locals over generations. .

  2. As Enova is a retailer of electricity, the first relevant question is: from what source do they acquire the electricity which they then sell? These days, the answer is likely to be: “From a coal-powered generating facility”. More of the same.

    The next relevant question is with respect to “their profits”. This sounds nice, but if Enova shows no profits (and we all know that accountants can do magical things), then 50% of nothing will be … nothing but adept marketing. Been there, done that.

  3. Hi Chris, Thanks for your comment. Enova really is a different sort of energy company. We are actually owned by local community level shareholders – 1600 of them. More than 70% of our shareholders are based in the Northern Rivers, the rest in every state and territory in Australia. All have invested in Enova because they want to see our very different model for doing energy succeed.

    Around 50% of the energy we supply to our customers comes from our own solar customers’ roof tops. We’re effectively circulating solar energy. We do not invest in any fossil fuel projects, we offset energy purchases we make from the grid and we plan to be 100% renewable by 2020. We’ll be sourcing as much energy as possible from community-owned local renewable energy initiatives. Our aim is to make it possible for communities to be self-sustaining and for everyone in the community to shift to renewables over time. More details at https://enovaenergy.com.au/about-us/our-energy-sources/

    As a social enterprise we’ll direct half our profits back into community energy projects when we reach profitability. We’re already investing in Australia’s first solar gardens and a local microgrid. Announcements about these projects will be made in the coming few months.

    We’re focused on supporting as much locally owned and generated renewable energy as possible in a region, and enabling localised energy sharing. This keeps both money and electricity circulating in the region.

    We hope this helps answer your queries. Thanks for your comment. All the best, Team Enova.


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