Landholders have say on transmission, renewable energy and community benefits

The Victorian Government has announced strategic benefits for transmission hosts (200k per kilometre of asset). They are also looking at how communities should benefit from renewable energy projects in their area.

They have released a draft community benefits plan.

The VFF has heard from our members that they do not believe the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act will compensate them for losses on production year on year. They fear that the community benefit payment is one tenth of what they would earn if they were to host wind or solar and therefore is not a fair representation of the business impacts of being forced to host this infrastructure.

Some members have stated that there is little benefit for their communities from renewable energy and transmission as it does nothing to improve energy reliability, price, and availability issues in the existing distribution network.

The VFF is concerned that the draft community benefits program is focused on supporting renewable energy development in a very large region rather than focusing on supporting communities that are in energy poverty and bearing direct impacts from the energy transition.

Topics that we urged members to speak to included:

  • the need for community benefits scheme to be applied in communities that are directly impacted by renewable energy zones and transmission.
  • The need for community benefits to ensure that all farming communities are lifted out of energy poverty by investment in distribution network infrastructure;
  • To express concern that landholder payments under the plan will not properly compensate for ongoing impacts on farming operations, with compensation being largely focussed on the easement acquisition and construction phases;
  • The need for the expansion of the scheme so that landholders receive and annual host payment that gives a payment for impacts on annual production (by commodity type).
  • The need for neighbour payments to also include compensation for impacts of renewable energy generation or transmission on their farm operations.