Electrical, Sustainability, Tasmania

We can learn a lot from Tasmania’s Renewable Energy Zone planning process, says Re-Alliance

RE-Alliance says other states and territories could learn a lot from the consultation process surrounding a proposed Renewable Energy Zone (REZ) in the northwest of the state.

RE-Alliance works with regional communities as they work through the rollout of new renewable energy.

RE-Alliance National Director Andrew Bray said it was the first example he has seen of a state or territory government putting community engagement at the beginning of a REZ process.

Bray believes it should become the model for REZ development on the mainland.

“It’s the first proposed REZ in the country that wasn’t put forward until an open, community-focussed process of consultation was completed.

“This means that the lines on a map weren’t drawn until locals had shared where they would be happy for renewables to go and where they weren’t,” said Bray.

Tasmania’s Renewables, Climate and Future Industries Tasmania department deployed an Australian-first ‘mapping important places’ platform which gathered community views on the places that are important to them.

This valuable information was then considered alongside the technical, environmental and land use information.

Bray said that the government has already called for expressions of interest for locals to co-design how a community benefit scheme should look.

“To do this at the front end of a REZ development process is exactly when it should be happening, and setting up a Community Advisory Board sends entirely the right message.”

Now the proposed REZ has been announced, a new round of consultation has kicked off.

“Now, the government needs to keep up the good work and build the capacity of regional communities in Tasmania to become active participants in the renewable energy rollout.

“One way of doing this is by recognising the crucial role that Local Councils play as critical stakeholders to support their communities. Local Councils need to be resourced appropriately to engage with Renewable Energy Zones when they’re located within one,” said Bray.

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