As a First Nations-led renewables profit-for-purpose company, Pilbara Solar has done the hard yards working its way from medium- to large-scale renewable energy development in Western Australia.
Managing director Kylie Chalmers presented at Pilbara 2023 on 9 October in the “First Nations and Traditional Owner Engagement” segment of the summit to attendees from various industries, government agencies, Prescribed Bodies Corporate (PBCs), and energy companies—the common message of the summit was everyone’s contribution to Australia’s carbon neutral 2030 goal.
At the end of her speech, Chalmers shared a powerful message.
“The way forward is for everyone to work collaboratively together to share the big ideas and share the learnings because we don’t really have the time to not get it right, we need to get it right for the First Nations partners and for the world if we are going to make a real difference by 2030,” she said.
Chalmers mentioned the enormous economic opportunity for Western Australia and for First Nations people but to move quickly to meet the 2030 target, businesses must partner with First Nations people.
“Having walked the walk, there is so much to learn and there are so many complexities, if anyone can learn from the process that we (Pilbara Solar), have already been on, we are happy to share it,” she said.
Pilbara Solar works with First Nations people to develop projects to an “investment-ready” stage and services industry to support development work with the expertise of land studies, First Nations engagement, project ownership models strategic development pathways, native title, and more, under their belt. This puts Pilbara Solar in the unique position to support industry to develop renewables and to support First Nations people to lead renewable projects on their Country.
Chalmers highlighted the numerous benefits First Nation communities receive when they get the opportunity to lead renewable projects.
“The benefits are huge because the wealth generated stays local and gives back to the communities creating more jobs, training, and more business opportunities. The best land in Australia for large projects is mostly Native Title land. Rapid large-scale rollout of projects, which are also socially sustainable, can only be achieved in partnership with First Nations people so it is in everyone’s best interest to enable First Nations partnerships,” she said.
It’s a busy future for Pilbara Solar servicing both industry and First Nations people with several projects in construction and development next year. At the summit, Chalmers spoke of the 10MW Junja Solar Farm, which is a demonstration project that supports a new industry standard that is Aboriginal led with commercial partnerships—a first utility scale solar farm and Independent Power Producer on the North West Interconnected System (NWIS).
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With a number of projects in the pipeline supporting First Nations and industries working together, and Pilbara Solar as developer or providing services, Pilbara Solar is leading the way assisting First Nations people and industry to develop renewable projects together that is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.