The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner is leading a Community Engagement Review. The review will recommend community engagement improvements for renewable energy infrastructure projects.
Have your say to the review by Sunday 1 October 2023
Community support and social licence
We’re working to improve community support and social licence for renewable energy.
‘Social licence’ is about landholders and communities supporting energy infrastructure affecting their lives.
Our traditional energy assets are ageing. That’s why we need to invest in new renewable energy projects and upgrades to transmission lines.
This investment will:
- maintain energy security
- produce renewable, reliable and affordable energy.
Improving community engagement
We’re working with energy businesses and state and territory governments to improve community engagement for energy infrastructure projects.
Australia’s energy and climate change ministers established the National Energy Transformation Partnership.
The partnership aims to address factors that can speed up project delivery. This includes addressing community needs.
This will lead to:
- better guidance for landholders and communities about their rights and entitlements
- reforms for earlier and better community engagement
- proper handling of community concerns
- national social licence guidelines for transmission infrastructure.
First Nations Clean Energy and Emissions Reduction Advisory Committee
The committee advises on First Nations perspectives about clean energy and climate change.
Committee members are eminent First Nations Australians who are experts in:
- Indigenous Affairs
- climate changes
- social and legal services.
The non-statutory committee was established on 30 April 2023.
It does not replace consultation with First Nations communities about clean energy.
First Nations Clean Energy Strategy
We’re developing the First Nations Clean Energy Strategy. The strategy is a commitment of Commonwealth and state and territory governments. It is a key priority under the National Energy Transformation Partnership.
The strategy aims to understand First Nation perspectives on renewable energy policies and programs. This should make sure First Nations communities share in the benefits of the energy transformation.
To develop the strategy, we’re collaborating with:
- the First Nations Clean Energy Network
- the First Nations Clean Energy and Emissions Reduction Advisory Committee
- the National Indigenous Australians Agency
- First Nations communities and organisations.
There are stakeholder engagements and roundtables in each jurisdiction.
Landholder and community support
The Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner offers support to landholders and communities.
The Commissioner helps community members with concerns about:
- wind farms
- large-scale solar farms
- energy storage facilities, such as large-scale batteries and pumped hydro
- new major transmission projects.
The Commissioner’s office can help communities with referrals and resolving complaints.
Landholders can read the AEIC guideline to review commercial agreements for energy projects.
The office gives energy business best practice advice to plan, develop and run energy projects. This includes standards, complaint handling and community engagement. The office also promotes greater transparency about energy projects.
The AEIC 2022 Annual Report has best practice community engagement recommendations. This includes advice for transmission businesses. It discusses how landholders can plan, construct and run energy infrastructure.
Contact the Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner
Phone 1800 656 395 or email email@example.com.
Regulation of transmission networks include:
- the National Electricity Law
- the National Electricity Rules
- state and territory legislation.
The National Electricity Rules:
- set out how businesses operate transmission networks
- detail requirements for improving and building new parts of the electricity grid
- ensure consumers are fairly charged for approved developments.
We’re making changes to the Rules to improve community consultation. This will ensure community engagement begins during project planning.
Transmission Planning and Investment Review
The Australian Energy Market Commission’s led the Transmission Planning and Investment Review.
The review explored how to develop transmission networks to benefit consumers. It has recommended changes to the National Electricity Rules.
The Minister for Climate Change and Energy submitted the rule change requests to the Commission.
The commission invite the public to have their say on these changes to the Rules.
The improvements will engage communities early during project planning to:
- identify better transmission line routes
- discuss landholder concerns
- improve transparency.
Changes for transmission developers
Developers need to consult with interested parties when planning new projects. This includes consulting on:
- the Regulatory Investment Test for Transmission (RIT-T)
- other economic assessment processes.
Developers also need to follow community engagement expectations.
The Australian Energy Regulator guides transmission businesses on:
- cost recovery for engagement activities
- stakeholder engagement expectations.
Have your say on the rules
Find out how to give feedback on the changes to the rules.
Enhancing community engagement rule change
This rule change will introduce community engagement expectations for transmission businesses. Submissions to the consultation will stay open until 28 September 2023.
Financeability rule change
This rule change aims to deliver timely transmission infrastructure to consumers. Submissions closed on 3 August 2023. A second consultation will open after the release of the draft determination in October.
Concessional finance rule change
This rule change aims to ensure the benefits of concessional finance are passed onto affected people. This includes all consumers, stakeholders and communities affected by transmission projects. Submissions closed on 14 July 2023. A second consultation will open after the release of the draft determination in October.
Feedback loop rule change
This rule change aims to protect consumers from unnecessary transmission project costs. A consultation window will open by the end of 2023 about this rule.
State and territory actions
New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania and Victoria have plans and policies to improve:
- community engagement
- benefit sharing.
State guides and payment schemes
State and territory governments have guidelines to help landholders and communities. These guidelines include payment schemes for landholders that host new transmission infrastructure.
- NSW First Nation Guidelines under the NSW Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap
- NSW landholder payment scheme
- Qld proposed Regional Energy Transformation Partnerships Framework under the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan
- Qld Powerlink’s landholder payment scheme
- Victorian Transmission Investment Framework
- Vic landholder payment scheme
- Tas Guideline for Community Engagement, Benefit Sharing and Local Procurement