Hello sunshine: musicians strike a chord with solar

Some of the biggest names in Australian music are helping to build renewable energy projects through a newly launched investment fund.

Midnight Oil, Cloud Control, the Jezabels, Regurgitator and Vance Joy are amongst the first to invest in the newly-announced Future Energy Artists (FEAT) project, which describes itself as a world-first initiative for artists to take ownership over accelerating our clean energy future.

Founded by Cloud Control keyboard player Heidi Lenffer, Future Energy Artists has been developed in partnership with fossil fuel free superannuation fund Future Super and the Impact Investment Group.

As reported in the Guardian Australia, the concept for the project came about following Lenffer’s growing concerns about the environmental impact of touring.

The project has been created as a way to go beyond just offsetting emissions from flights and other travel for bands and audiences, which has historically been the only option for performers that want to take their music to the world.

In a blog post, Lenffer says that FEAT has been designed for musicians because “touring is super important for artists, but it has an enormous impact on the planet due to the extensive flights and freight involved.”

“Offsetting won’t get us out of this mess; we needed a complete overhaul of our entire energy system, and a rapid transition to solar and wind-powered energy sources,” she said.

The first solar project to be supported by the fund is under construction near Pittsworth on Queensland’s Darling Downs. The 34.5 MW Brigalow Solar Farm will be operational in 2020 and have enough electricity output to supply more than 11,000 homes.

Midnight Oil frontman and former federal environment minister Peter Garrett is on board, saying “at last a project that takes the great passion many artists have for a healthy world powered by renewable energy, and makes it doable. A stunning, much-needed initiative.”

FEAT isn’t the only example of Australian musicians providing leadership on the big environmental issues.

Green Music Australia was founded in 2013 to improve the sustainability of the broader music industry.

They have vowed to help music venues and festivals work towards eliminating plastic waste, support venues to put solar panels on their rooftops and use energy more efficiently, as well as switch to sustainable investment funds.

Supported by Australian music heavyweights like Missy Higgins, Paul Kelly and Wally de Backer, Green Music Australia’s campaigns are building momentum with some of Australia’s biggest festivals recently pledging to phase out plastic bottles and cups.