CEC Guide to Benefit Sharing Options for Renewable Energy Projects

Donna Luckman • 13 May 2020

This guide developed by the Clean Energy Council with support from ARENA, to share examples of leading practice and help proponents expand the options available to them so that we can maximise the positive local impacts for host communities.

As the renewable energy industry matures, community benefit sharing is becoming increasingly commonplace as a means to integrate renewable energy developments into local communities in ways that are positive, rewarding and beneficial for both project proponents and local communities.

This guide includes strategies and case studies on different forms of benefit sharing, including:

  • neighbourhood benefit programs
  • the creation of grant funds
  • innovative financing methods that enable community co-investment or community co-ownership.

It also discusses benefit sharing strategies that go beyond making cash-based contributions, such as:

  • creating impact through regional economic development approaches (e.g. local jobs and contracting)
  • in-kind contributions (e.g. employee volunteerism)
  • partnership benefits (e.g. industry capability networks and education opportunities).

The guide is intended as a practical tool to assist project proponents, financiers, policy  makers and communities in understanding the range of benefit sharing methods available.

It presents the key principles underpinning an effective benefit sharing strategy and looks at current benchmarks for benefit sharing in Australia across different projects and technology types.

The document emphasises the importance of integrating benefit sharing with robust community engagement processes and includes details to assist practitioners and advocates to develop benefit sharing strategies that are tailored to local context.

Some forms of benefit sharing are more established than others in Australia, and different forms will suit different situations. This guide aims to share knowledge about leading practice and extend the repertoire of benefit sharing practice in Australia. The guide outlines examples of effective benefit sharing strategies being deployed overseas, particularly where it has become commonplace due to policy frameworks.

The guide also outlines methods for developing a benefit sharing strategy and working in partnership with local communities. It outlines ways to:

  • calculate a benefit sharing budget
  • develop a theory of change to deliver the desired impact
  • ¬†undertake social feasibility to refine and test the strategy in the community
  • implement, monitor and evaluate the project in the community