We, as a society, are choosing to transition to renewable energy. How this transition impacts our communities is in our hands.
At Mycelia, we believe all people have the right to access renewable energy and share in the widespread benefits that are now flowing through the renewable energy boom. We also know more strategic benefits can be derived when communities co-design local and regional benefit sharing schemes.
What is community benefit sharing?
Community benefit sharing has become a growing feature of many renewable energy developments and looks to remain that way as the transition to renewables continues.
The industry recognises that each community plays a critical role in the shape and operation of these developments, and these schemes are aimed to ensure that communities, as a whole, benefit from them.
We can think about communities at the scale of neighbourhoods, close geographic communities and larger regions. Community benefit schemes can be designed to benefit at any or all of these scales, but arguably the schemes should use a strategic approach.
Historically, community benefit sharing schemes have often been delivered as annual grants programs, delivering positive but limited outcomes for local communities. Rather than using grants programs to define and shape what community benefits look like, we believe starting with a community-centred development strategy and tailoring the scheme to enable this strategy will deliver more sustained benefits. We call this model Community-Centred Benefit Sharing.
Our Pilot – Community-Centred Benefit Sharing
We are currently co-designing a Community-Centred Benefit Sharing approach to with Spiegel Energy and Radial Timbers, both based in Yarram, Victoria. Through their energy development at Radial timbers, Spiegel Energy is committing funds into a benefit scheme. Together, our pilot will support the Yarram and District to develop a community-led strategy to determine how these funds will be spent. We also aim to leverage additional funds.
This approach is designed to create greater social, cultural, economic and environmental value for the people of Yarram and Districts. Working together on common community interests supports greater collaboration, and builds knowledge, skills and co-design mindsets.
The impact of communities leading their own change cannot be underestimated. Couple this with the vision held by our partners of how to strategically use the funds to leverage action and additional resourcing, this Community-Centred Benefit Sharing model promises to be a game changer for Yarram and Districts. Once we trial and refine our model, we hope to share it with other communities.
If you like the sound of our Community-Centred Benefit Sharing model and wish to support this pilot project, you can make a donation with the link below. (Please write ‘Community-Centred Benefit Sharing’ in the additional comments box so we know where to apply your donation.)