Our commitment to local communities: creating positive outcomes for decades to come.
Our projects become part of the communities in which they are built. We respect and value the stakeholders in these communities and seek to build partnerships with them.
As a long-term developer, owner and operator of renewable energy projects, that relationship will run for the full lifecycle of our projects.
That is why for us at Spark Renewables, it's about more than just initial engagement with our communities. It is about building relationships that last.
Our commitment is to be open and honest always, and to operate with transparency, whilst delivering renewables energy projects that provide real benefits to our communities, now and for decades to come.
COMMUNITY BENEFIT-SHARING: OUR IMPACT
Committed community funding
At our operating Bomen Solar Farm in Wagga Wagga NSW we run, in partnership with Westpac, the largest* community fund of any solar farm development in Australia. The $1 million Bomen Solar Farm Community Fund is being distributed over 10 years to support better social, economic and environmental outcomes for the local community.
* At the time of commencement of operations
We want to share the benefits our developments create. To do this, for each of our projects we create a community benefit-sharing program to deliver long-lasting social, economic and environmental benefits to the local communities we become a part of.
We recognise that every local community is different, which is why we take a location-based approach, working with each community to co-design a community benefit-sharing scheme that meets the unique needs of that community.
Projects we have supported so far have focused on:
- Upgrading community amenities
- Promoting biodiversity and greening
- Contributing to the local fire brigade
- Youth education and engagement
- Skills and training opportunities
- Assisting with the living expenses of those living with a disability
We also work with customers who purchase the electricity and green rights that our projects generate, such as Westpac at our Bomen Solar Farm, to amplify the benefits that can be provided to the local community. Our partnership with Westpac has not only allowed us to deliver the largest* community benefit fund in Australia for a solar project, but also create a long-lasting legacy of positive impact through creating a program that will support the community for at least a decade to come. Read more here.
If you are a part of a community we operate in, and want to know about community sponsorship and benefit-sharing opportunities, please get in touch with the Spark Renewables team – contact us.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND CONSULTATION
Honesty, transparency and integrity are just some of our key values at Spark Renewables, and these guide our approach to community engagement.
From the beginning of the development process on all of our projects, we undertake extensive community consultation.
We focus on engaging openly and honestly and we are committed to engaging fairly and equitably with all community stakeholders. This includes our commitment to engage with First Nations' community members and businesses throughout all phases of the project.
We strongly encourage local community members to participate in community consultation where they can.
We believe this approach empowers communities to work in partnership with us so that we can deliver better projects, with better outcomes for all stakeholders.
We welcome questions and feedback about any of our projects. You can get in touch with us.
EMPLOYMENT AND TRAINING
On our Bomen Solar Farm near Wagga Wagga, NSW, 78% of the 157 strong mechanical team were locally engaged employees, with 25% identifying as Aboriginal.
Our commitment to communities is about more than just engaging on the project development, or providing a community benefit-sharing fund.
We also understand our unique position within the community and the ability we have to make further positive impacts by providing employment and skills development and training opportunities to members of the local community, helping kickstart them into a career in renewables.
The skill-sets developed by the local workforce have long-term value to the individuals engaged and the broader community, for the long term.
That is why, for each of our projects, we are committed to engaging local workers and suppliers wherever possible.
We support efforts to combat traditional barriers to roles in the industry for those typically underrepresented.
During the construction of our Bomen Solar Farm, we supported our construction partner, Beon Energy Solutions, a fellow Spark Infrastructure portfolio company and Bomen Solar Farm’s EPC Contractor, in running a ‘Women in Solar’ pilot project. As a part of this program, 12 local women from a range of diverse backgrounds undertook a four-week electrical training course, finishing the program qualified to install solar panels.
The program targeted those facing known barriers to employment including lack of formal education, or sole child-caring responsibilities. The majority of participants continue to work for the company or in the wider solar industry and Beon is continuing its community employment program.