The First Nations Clean Energy Network is excited to launch our First Nations clean energy project tracker today which highlights the transformative potential of a First Nations-led clean energy transition.
Our First Nations project tracker shows 14 significant clean energy announcements and MoUs with meaningful equity participation and/or benefit sharing arrangements with First Nations groups across the country, including in Queensland, Northern Territory, Western Australia and South Australia.
The projects include the development of mid-large scale solar and wind, hydro and green hydrogen, battery storage and microgrids.
Federal Climate and Energy Minister The Hon Chris Bowen MP told the Lowy Institute last week he is considering how the energy transition can close the gap of Indigenous disadvantage and provide a way forward for reconciliation in Australia, reflecting on Canada which has around 20% of renewable energy initiatives with a strong element of Indigenous ownership, providing income and employment for Canadian First Peoples.
While Indigenous people of Canada are the second largest asset owners of clean energy infrastructure, with nearly 200 significant clean energy projects with Indigenous involvement in operation or the final stages of planning or construction, Australia has none. All projects announced on our tracker are yet to be operational, with six undertaking project feasibility.
Karrina Nolan, co-Chair of the First Nations Clean Energy Network says the First Nations project tracker highlights a new momentum in Australia.
“First Nations communities are increasingly interested in being equity owners in projects impacting their land.
“Our First Nations project tracker shows the clean energy industry is starting to get the message that commercial outcomes from projects are improved with First Nations involvement.
“Creating meaningful equity partnerships and benefit sharing arrangements with First Nations groups de-risks projects across the project pipeline, enables free prior and informed consent, and creates additional benefits in terms of local employment and intergenerational wealth.
Chris Croker, co-Chair of the First Nations Clean Energy Network says First Nations groups keep telling us they don’t want a repeat of the mining industry legacy, where there were lots of promises but no real outcomes.
“Most First Nations people are still living with expensive power bills, irregular power supply and all too regular disconnections.
“First Nations communities have decided they will no longer be passive hosts or merely stakeholders of energy projects. First Nations voices, interests and rights on their land can no longer be ignored.
“That means companies, governments, and investors’ terms of development on First Nations lands must change.
“First Nations people aim to proactively exercise First Nations rights, protect community interests, ensure control and a board room role in decision-making, and to share in resource development planning and the economic benefits derived from a project through mechanisms including preferential contract bidding, co-ownership, equity stakes, and revenue sharing.
“The projects on our tracker will generate jobs and capacity-development opportunities for community members, and a revenue stream for years to come.”
The significant clean energy projects highlighted on our First Nations project tracker include:
Cheeditha Solar Farm
Desert Springs Octopus
East Kimberley Clean Energy Project
Junja Solar Farm
Marlinja Community Solar
Ngardara ‘Sun’ Project
Thargomindah Station Regeneration Project
Tjiwarl Katu Power
Western Green Energy Hub
Yoorndoo Ilga Sola
First Nations groups that have successfully initiated equity and participation involvement in these projects include: Gidarjil Development Corporation; Gurang and Gooreng Gooreng people; First Nations Greentime Energy Group; Tjiwarl Aboriginal Corporation; Kullilli Bulloo River Aboriginal Corporation (KBRAC); Jinparinya Community; Ngarla People (Wanparta Aboriginal Corporation); Larrakia Nation; Jawoyn Association; Marlinja Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, and Taribelang Bunda people; Bailai, Gurang, Gooreng Gooreng, Taribelang Bunda Peoples Aboriginal Corporation; Mirning Traditional Lands Aboriginal Corporation; Mirning Green Energy Limited; Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation; Yanyuwa, Marra, Garrwa, Gudanji and Binbingka people; Barngarla People Determination Aboriginal Corporation (BDAC); Larrakia Development Corporation; Larrakia Energy; Cheeditha Group Aboriginal Corporation (CGAC); Balanggarra Ventures Corporation; MG Corporation; and Kimberley Land Council.
Companies and investor groups that have successfully initiated partnership and equity arrangements with First Nations groups on these projects include: Sunshine Hydro, Energy Estate, Burnett Mary Regional Group, Zenith Energy, Climate Friendly, Pilbara Solar, Desert Springs Octopus, Octopus Investment Australia, Northern Territory Indigenous Business Network, Original Power, Hydrogen Utility® (H2U), InterContinental Energy, CWP Global, KEPCO, ACEN, Progressive Green Solutions; KOMIPO; Progressive Green Solutions; Pilbara Solar; Rio Tinto; and Pollination.