The massive and rapid expansion of renewable energy is needed to limit global warming, so its social acceptance must be assured. While not a silver bullet, well-designed and governed benefit-sharing arrangements can lead to beneficial outcomes in ways that speak to affected communities’ needs and interests.
In partnership with the Green Hydrogen Organization and to support the efforts of the Planning for Climate Commission, this report offers high-level guidance to governments that seek to ramp up the development of renewable energy projects, including power generation and grid infrastructure. The report emphasizes that governments need a strong and coherent policy approach addressing the rights, expectations, and perspectives of project-affected communities. Direct community benefits can be vital in ensuring communities are treated fairly, while simultaneously building support that can bolster project development. Examples of ways in which governments can ensure the fair treatment and integration of project-affected communities include:
- Encouraging and ideally mandating community consultation or co-design of benefit-sharing arrangements.
- Ensuring that communities have access to effective and accessible grievance mechanisms that empower them to bring forward complaints regarding the operation of community benefit-sharing arrangements.
- Enabling shared community ownership, where communities receive a fair distribution of benefits from renewables projects if the community is adequately supported in their decision to enter into it, and in their ongoing efforts to manage the projects.
- Designing benefit-sharing arrangements in a way that considers what happens when a renewable project reaches the end of its initial lifespan.
Perrine Toledano, Chris Albin-Lackey, Maria Diez Andres, and Martin Dietrich Brauch, Benefit Sharing and Renewable Energy and Green Hydrogen Projects: Policy Guidance for Governments (New York: CCSI, September 2023), https://ccsi.columbia.edu/content/benefit-sharing-policy-guidance-renewables-hydrogen
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sustainable_investment/22