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First Nations equity mandated? The design of the Capacity Investment Scheme could be stronger

Australia’s Capacity Investment Scheme, rolling out from April 2024, has room to echo significant First Nations equity participation requirements currently being spelt out in Canada.

There, BC Hydro in conjunction with British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, is issuing a call for power for new sources of renewable, emission-free electricity in April 2024 (known as the Call for Power).

The Call for Power includes a requirement for at least 25% Indigenous equity participation in proposed projects, and that an accepted project may be subject to consent-based assessment processes.

In Australia, the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water's latest consultation on the design of its Capacity Investment Scheme talks about 'approach and quality of engagement’ with communities and First Nations in its Implementation Design Paper.

Recent international research provides evidence that community support, which can be demonstrated through ownership, of renewable energy projects is an important driver of long-term success as it reduces the risk of project abandonment, lowers investment risk, and produces three times higher economic benefits.

The design of Australia's Capacity Investment Scheme provides a unique opportunity for the department, and State and Territory governments with the 'flexibility to create local requirements for community and First Nations engagement through regulation or legislation’, to go many steps further than just 'understanding options to support greater participation’ by mandating the need for a significant percentage of First Nations equity participation and benefit sharing.

Submissions to the Department’s design of the Capacity Investment Scheme are due 25 March 2024. 

Thanks for use of the photo Kshithij Chandrashekar.