Clean energy

Chalk & Behrendt firm brings a unique skillset to the development of clean energy projects, precincts and policy.

We have four areas of focus in the sector.

Clean energy projects

Advising clean energy companies on native title law, Aboriginal land rights, Aboriginal cultural heritage and related legal issues. We are sought out by companies who are genuinely seeking to earn and maintain a social licence to operate their project. Our experience in working with Local Aboriginal Land Councils, native title claim groups and native title prescribed bodies corporate gives us strong insight into best practice engagement and creating agreements that will have impact.

Our lawyers have advised companies of all sizes on solar and wind farm projects across the east coast of Australia. In addition to direct client engagements, we are regularly engaged by lawyers acting for clean energy companies to provide advice on discrete legal issues.

Clean energy precincts and microgrids

Advising on clean energy generation and storage solutions for precincts and new developments. Some of the key challenges in the development of clean energy precincts and microgrids are the legal, regulatory and governance frameworks. In many of our engagements, there are no straightforward answers. We draw on our experience in property, corporate governance, urban development and clean energy law together with our study of models around Australia and the United States and our relationships with experienced co-advisors like Alinga Energy and Grids to provide practical advice.

Our lawyers have experience in working closely with developer clients on subdivision projects in New South Wales and our client base includes some of the biggest landowners in New South Wales who engage us for our judgment and frank advice. We are engaged from the earliest stage in the design process and work with our clients’ other co-advisors including town planners, financiers, project managers, engineers and ecologists to find a multidisciplinary solution that meets our mutual clients’ strategic goals.

Advising traditional owners and Local Aboriginal Land Councils

From hydrogen hubs to pumped hydro projects to community solar, we represent native title claim groups, PBCs and LALCs in relation to agreements with clean energy companies or in developing their own clean energy projects.

When negotiating agreements, we draw on our deep understanding of clean energy projects as well as our experience in acting for native title claim groups and PBCs in negotiations for major infrastructure projects across Australia. We are experienced in supporting Boards, CEOs and Applicants in the negotiation process and in engaging with their members. We work closely with our client’s co-advisors and regularly collaborate with other industry experts to ensure our clients are equipped with as much information as possible to consider proposals on their lands.

For clients interested in developing their own clean energy strategy, we bring an understanding of the various community energy models that are in use in Australia and abroad. We then work with clients and their engineers to adapt a solution to meet their needs as well as the regulatory requirements.

Clean energy policy and strategy

Working in several states and territories across Australia in clean energy, native title and Aboriginal land gives us a great insight into the hurdles and opportunities in the development of government and industry policy aimed at ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities can fully engage in the clean energy transition. As our lawyers were involved in the development of the native title and Aboriginal land rights legal frameworks, we understand how these frameworks have operated in relation to other industries, particularly the mining sector. We have presented previously on how policymakers could learn from this experience and are regularly invited to advise, comment or present on this and related issues.