Energy Grid Alliance was established with the purpose of engaging with electricity transmission companies, industry regulators, market operators, relevant peak bodies, government and communities to establish best planning practices for new electricity transmission projects and to advocate the critical importance of policy, planning and engaging with communities early to acquire and maintain social licence.
We will work to ensure:
- Network operators are aware of their obligations for the protection of the environment and net benefit to all stakeholders, not just energy consumers
- Lessons from other industries and early adopters of modern technology are shared with industry and key stakeholders to enable best design practices
- Proponents from the transmission sector participating in REZs understand that community engagement is key to the success of any major infrastructure project and is most successful when it establishes and delivers on clear expectations and provides communities the opportunity to influence decisions.
Energy Grid Alliance has the knowledge and understanding to navigate the expectations, interests and concerns of transmission companies and other energy sector stakeholders. Using strategic insight, we will advocate, educate and organise to ensure the transmission industry takes positive action to engage with communities so projects meet the needs and expectations of local communities.
We will achieve this by:
- Building and maintaining productive partnerships with transmission industry stakeholders, including Transmission Network Service Providers (TNSPs), peak body, Energy Networks Australia, and others across multiple states
- Applying a mix of research, education, and internal and external levers to influence transmission industry behaviour towards developing and implementing community-led plans to deliver local benefits from industry activities
- Working directly with the transmission industry to improve its community engagement practices including preparing stakeholders for community engagement by building capability, knowledge and analysis of risks and benefits
- Contribute to building community capacity to ensure accountability of the transmission industry to their communities, focusing on developing and delivering resources to meet the information needs of community partners about the transmission industry and renewable energy sector
- Identifying and pursuing openings in regulatory systems and processes to support or drive improved engagement and benefit sharing as standard practice in the transmission and renewable energy sector
- Maintaining a professional awareness of developments in the renewable energy and transmission industries particularly associated with the Integrated System Plan (ISP) of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and its implementation; and using this to provide advice and analysis of emerging issues and opportunities for partner organisations to achieve organisational goals
- Contributing to the preparation of papers, reports and documentation to ensure strong advocacy, planning and policy outcomes
The bid to find the best and most economically feasible solution to accommodate multiple major new renewable energy projects while considering competing values and trade-offs should be a major focus for the future of Renewable Energy Zones and interconnectors, both state and national, now and into the future.
Energy Grid Alliance sees this as an opportunity to establish best planning practices to ensure new transmission line projects are subject to strict setback requirements via the planning permit assessment process, which will in turn deliver planning outcomes which better respond to environment and landscape contexts and community needs.