- Jarra Hicks
B Development Studies (Hons I)
Jarra came to a PhD after several years working in the community renewable energy sector, with a professional background spaning community development, campaigning and renewable energy. Jarra spent two years as the Project Coordinator of Mount Alexander Community Wind in Central Victoria as well as working for a range of community organisations and social enterprises, from food to energy, advocacy to banking. Motivated by the power that everyday people are engaging to make real contributions to the sustainability of their communities, she co-founded the Community Power Agency in 2011. The Agency supports local groups to establish renewable energy projects and performs networking and advocacy at a sector level. In 2010 and again in 2012 Jarra completed study tours of community renewable energy initiatives in North America and Europe and spent time as a volunteer renewable energy policy advisor in Delhi, India.
Jarra studied Development Studies at the University of Newcastle and in 2009 completed Honors research that focused on grassroots renewable energy projects as effective responses to climate change using innovative economic practices. Her PhD extends this research, to better understand the potential for community energy projects to contribute positive social, economic and environmental outcomes for regional communities in Australia. Her research focuses on the community engagement, social enterprise models and diverse economic arrangements that community energy projects engage.
Jarra has successfully published a number of journal articles and a book chapter. She is also an experienced public speaker and lecturer in both professional and popular contexts.
Areas of expertise
Sustainability, climate change, community development, renewable energy, cooperatives, social enterprise, regional development.
Community Power: Understandings of the contribution of community-owned renewable energy to regional development and resilience in the face of climate change.
Jarra’s thesis will examine the social, economic and environmental outcomes of established community-owned renewable energy projects and use the understandings gained to analyse the potential for community-owned renewable energy to contribute resilience and vitality to regional communities. She uses qualitative methods to draw attention to the relationships between choices project proponents make about community engagement, legal structures and economic arrangements, and the multiple outcomes realised through the project. Different outcomes offer different opportunities to regional communities. It is hoped that this research will help to inform both practice and policy in the field of community-owned renewable energy and regional development by better understanding the multiple factors, and their interactions, which lead to positive outcomes.
Professor Bronwen Morgan, Associate Professor Susan Thompson