A PROJECT boosting clean energy in Bendigo will either have to scale back or stop without further government support, its project manager says.
Bendigo's Community Power Hub has less than $50,000 to last it the rest of the financial year.
It has been seeking $350,000 from the state government since March, to last it through to 2021.
"If funding is not provided then ultimately the Community Power Hub will not be able to continue and money will continue to flow out of Bendigo and head overseas," project manager Chris Corr said.
"We might be able to continue in a much reduced capacity reliant on volunteers but we will not be able to scale up to deliver the significant benefits desired."
The hub has delivered 15 community energy projects in the past two years.
These projects generate about 1705 megawatt hours of renewable energy a year, saving about $364,000 in bills.
Mr Corr said further funding would enable the hub to deliver more and higher capacity projects, generating more benefit to the community over many years.
Victorian Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D'Ambrosio said Community Power Hubs were essential in demonstrating what could be done on a local level in the renewable energy space.
"The Bendigo Community Power Hub is funded until June 2020 and the government is currently considering funding opportunities beyond this," Ms D'Ambrosio said
Bendigo was one of three regional Victorian areas to share in $900,000 from the state government in 2017 for a Community Power Hub pilot.
Others included Ballarat and Latrobe Valley.
The three sites are understood to have received an additional $150,000 to help progress existing projects until June 2020.
Mr Corr said the combined Community Power Hubs had been discussing the need for ongoing and future funding with Sustainability Victoria throughout the two years of the pilot.
He said the funding the Bendigo hub was seeking would not only have the benefit of enabling more projects, but providing for those involved to be properly paid.
"During the last two years the key people involved spent 4713 hours working on the hub governance and projects but were only paid for on average 31 per cent of their time," Mr Corr said.
"This is not sustainable or fair on those involved."
- More news: Federal police, NDIA raid Bendigo home
Asked how self-sustainable the initiative was, Mr Corr said: "A key driver of the CPH program is that they can move themselves to be both financially and resource sustainable.
"Income can be derived from some projects and over time as the number of projects and their scale grows it will enable funding of the magnitude to cover the costs of operating the hub and delivering projects for community benefit."
The 15 existing community energy projects are expected to generate $9.1-million in bill savings over a 25-year life cycle.
Those involved in Bendigo's Community Power Hub have deemed the preliminary outcomes of the pilot program extraordinary.
The completed projects are expected to decrease carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1800 tonnes a year.
"The leverage achieved on the government investment has been 13 to one, with that rising to a staggering 72 to one if all current pipeline projects are delivered," Mr Corr said.
"More than 20,000 connections were made in community over the two year period."
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.