Powerlink has announced a new compensation framework for landowners hosting new transmission infrastructure, including new landowner payments for those adjacent to infrastructure.
Powerlink’s new SuperGrid Landholder Payment Framework will be the first transmission company in Australia to offer payments to landholders with properties adjacent to new transmission infrastructure. The increase in payments is based on property-specific values and impacts, as opposed to using only a flat rate. The new payment option for landholders within, or partially within, a 1km radius of a final transmission easement.
The new payment framework will apply to all current and future transmission connection greenfield projects where landholder payment negotiations have not commenced.
It will also see an increase in flexibility around the timing of payments, offering an annual payment option, and giving payment estimates to landholders much earlier in the process.
The new payments framework was guided by a dedicated stakeholder reference group including Queensland Farmers Federation, LGAQ, RE-Alliance and Energy Users Association of Australia.
The review of payments approach was commenced by Powerlink in October 2022 in response to rising community expectations and the release of the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan. Independent modelling estimates the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan will deliver 64,000 jobs in clean energy infrastructure including new skilled direct jobs to build the Queensland SuperGrid.
The Queensland SuperGrid encompasses various components of the electricity system, such as transmission infrastructure, renewable energy sources like solar and wind, energy storage systems (including Pumped Hydro Energy Storage or PHES), and low to zero emission gas technology.
Queensland Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen, Mick de Brenni, said the new payment framework will see landholders receive a fair payment to recognise the important role they have in allowing the State Government to deliver Queensland’s SuperGrid.
“We’re building the Queensland SuperGrid, the nation’s largest, to transport cheap, clean, and secure renewable energy from across the state, to power more homes and support new industries and job opportunities,” Mr de Brenni said.
“Powerlink is now in a position to offer higher payments for the majority of Queensland landholders hosting transmission infrastructure compared to arrangements in place prior to the Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan.”
Powerlink Chief Executive, Paul Simshauser, said, “The new framework was guided by a dedicated reference group of stakeholders including representatives from a broad cross-section of interests, from councils and agricultural groups to large energy user advocates and consumer groups.
“Providing landholders with greater flexibility around the timing of payments, with both up front and annual payment options now available, was important – along with ensuring the new framework considered the variance in property values across different regions, rather than applying a blanket approach,” Mr Simshauser said.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) CEO, Jo Sheppard, said the QFF has been pleased to be able to contribute to ongoing detailed discussions through the Powerlink reference group in relation to the proposed new payment framework that will now see landholders receive payments that are more reflective of the use of their land.
“It is important that a process is in place to represent the interests of those who will be directly impacted by transmission lines and that the needs of landholders and the broader agriculture sector are considered as the complexities of integrating grid infrastructure are navigated,” Ms Sheppard said.
“QFF will continue to work with Powerlink to support landholders to ensure the interests of farmers are represented and minimal impacts to agricultural land occur during the renewable energy rollout to protect the future viability of our valuable food, fibre and foliage production systems.”