PARTNERSHIP WITH LANDOWNERS
Landowners make our projects possible. Without land there is no project.
We partner with landowners at every stage of a project, from early investigation, through project development, construction, and during operations. Our goal is to own the renewable energy assets that we develop right into their operational phase and our long-term partnerships with our host landowners are of critical importance.
We are committed to fair and transparent dealings with our landowners, recognising that hosting a renewable energy project is a long-term commitment, and that change is a part of hosting a project. We work with our landowners to ensure that this change is understood and to ensure that existing land uses can continue wherever possible.
Currently, we have relationships with landowners spanning thousands of hectares of land. We work closely with these landowners to understand their priorities and work to position our projects well to integrate with existing agricultural operations, neighbours and the wider community.
Want to know more about being a landowner? Get in touch at email@example.com.
What makes land suitable for a renewable energy project?
Spark Renewables identifies land that is suitable for a renewable energy project based on a number of factors, such as:
- Proximity to a high-voltage powerline or substation, or location within a designated renewable energy zone.
- Suitability of roads for movement of large vehicles including trucks and cranes.
- For wind farms, being within a high-wind area with good separation to neighbouring dwellings.
- For solar farms, good irradiance (i.e. solar resource) and generally flat land that is predominantly cleared or is of low agricultural and/or is not of high environmental value.
- Insignificant exposure to impacts from extreme weather events such as cyclones or flooding.
Agriculture and renewables co-exist successfully
We are committed to designing our projects to allow renewables and agriculture to co-exist successfully.
We work in partnership with our landowners to develop project layout designs, and construction and operational practices to accommodate ongoing agricultural activity on the land to the extent possible during each phase.
For solar farms, this may take the form of sheep-grazing within the fenced solar farm site once operational, while pre-existing agricultural activity can continue outside the site. In this respect, we have successfully integrated sheep-grazing at Bomen Solar Farm since 2021, over which time the number of sheep on site has grown five-fold.
We are pursuing a research trial with Charles Sturt University, supported by Westpac (who purchases power from Bomen Solar Farm), to investigate ways in which 'solar grazing' productivity can be enhanced further.
For wind farms, grazing of cattle and sheep can continue at the same scale as prior to wind farm construction once a wind farm is operational, since wind turbines typically only occupy up to 2% of the land area. The construction of additional all-weather roads, which are required to service a wind farm may also provide operational benefit to existing agricultural operations.
Why host a renewable energy project?
Agreements for successful projects provide a revenue stream for landowners and neighbours for ~30 years.
The renewables industry is focussed on understanding how it can work with farmers and Traditional Custodians of the land to support food and fibre growing activities and biodiversity outcomes.
Hosting a renewable energy project can generate substantial, long-term economic and social benefits for landowners, their neighbours and the surrounding communities.
For landowners, leasing land to a renewable energy project offers stability and a long-term, diversified income stream to support broader agricultural operations and operational goals, with the peace of mind that the rental income stream derived from hosting a renewable energy project will not be impacted by factors outside of a landowner’s control, including adverse weather events, low market pricing and inflation. In this way, the rental stream mitigates risk for the landowner and provides significant financial security both in the short term and in decades to come, insulating landowners from many of the variables inherent in traditional agricultural operations.
Quality, Health and Safety and Environmental Management is managed on our renewable energy project sites via a suite of management plans prepared prior to construction and operation. These cover matters such as sediment and erosion control, flora and fauna management, weeds and pest management, fire risk, traffic and transport, noise, construction management and a range of other issues. We select industry-leading advisors and contractors to ensure projects are delivered to the highest standards.
At Spark Renewables we are proud of the long-term commitments we make to the communities that our projects become a part of. All communities surrounding our renewable energy projects are intended to benefit from substantial community investment to support local social and environmental initiatives. Our projects also stimulate local economic benefits via employment and skills training opportunities, and the use of local contractors and suppliers for materials and labour during the construction and operational phases of our projects.
We are acutely aware of concerns from our host landowners relating to biosecurity, and we actively consult with landowners to document protocols to minimise risks, consistent with the legislative requirements of the relevant jurisdiction. Our team is experienced in this respect, and will only engage reputable contractors familiar with biosecurity considerations and requirements when conducting activities on landholders’ land.