Australia, Policy, Projects, Renewables, Solar

Indigenous renewable energy project secured in WA

In a major milestone for Indigenous-led renewable energy development, the Yindjibarndi people have secured the registration of an Indigenous Land Use Agreement (ILUA) for the Yindjibarndi Renewable Energy Project (YREP) in Western Australia’s Pilbara region.

The YREP ILUA, registered with the National Native Title Tribunal, provides the necessary native title consents for the development of large-scale renewable energy projects on Yindjibarndi country.

This follows a two-year process involving the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation (YAC), Yindjibarndi Ngurra Aboriginal Corporation (YNAC), and the ACEN Corporation, Yindjibarndi’s strategic renewable energy partner.

Under the agreement, any renewable energy projects on Yindjibarndi land must be socially, culturally and environmentally appropriate, and will be subject to strict heritage protections.

The projects will be developed through a partnership called the Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation (YEC), which will see Yindjibarndi hold a minimum 25 per cent equity stake, and up to 50 per cent in individual projects.

YAC Chief Executive Michael Woodley said the ILUA places the Yindjibarndi people as leaders in the Pilbara’s transition to clean energy, allowing them to control development on their country.

“Large-scale renewable energy is aligned with Yindjibarndi’s vision to create community-owned commercial businesses that protect our land, build a stronger community and respect our culture,” he said.

YEC has plans to develop up to 3 gigawatt of wind, solar and battery storage projects over the coming years, with the first 750 megawatt solar and battery storage project expected to reach final investment decision in late 2024.

ACEN Australia Managing Director David Pollington said the partnership is “aligned on so many levels” and they are grateful for the trust placed in them by the Yindjibarndi people.

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