Sharing the Costs and Benefits of Energy and Resources Activity

A new phase is emerging in the relationship between energy and resource activities and the communities that are affected by them. Any energy or resource project, a mine, a wind farm, a dam for hydroelectricity, or a shale gas development will involve a mix of impacts and benefits for communities. Law for many years has mediated impacts on communities through compensation regimes, assigned risk and liability, and provided legal measures for the distribution of financial benefits. Now, there is growing awareness of the need to consider not only a wider range of costs and benefits for communities from energy and resource projects, but also the effects on communities at multiple scales and in complex ways. Effects on local communities now may cover a spectrum from negative consequences such as environmental damage, loss of amenity, social and cultural dislocation, and economic disruption, to more positive outcomes such as benefit packages promoting health, education and cultural outcomes, revenue flows, and jobs. The effects can also be more far-reaching than impacts around the immediate site of the project as regional, national, and transnational tensions may play out against the backdrop of energy and resource projects expanding the scale at which the impacts and benefits on communities need to be considered. It is also important to consider when and how such costs and benefits may arise in the course of energy and resource activity from funding to long-term impacts.

Many of these changes can be captured under the concept of sharing the costs and benefits of energy and resource activity, although ‘sharing’ may be contested. Indigenous peoples, and local communities faced with new technologies, for example, now seek active engagement in determining how the costs and benefits of energy and resource development are to be ‘shared’. Communities may also be conceived as ‘communities of interest’ with energy communities giving tangible shape to these linkages.


9:15 - 9:45 am: Registration and welcome

9:45 - 11 am: Panel 1: Themes and Legal Frameworks

  • Barry Barton (University of Waikato, New Zealand), Community and Sharing
  • Hanri Mostert (University of Capetown, South Africa), Corporate Social Responsibility in the Mining Industries of Namibia, South Africa, and Zambia: Choices and Consequences          
  • Don Smith (University of Denver, USA), Social License to Operate in the Unconventional Oil and Gas Development Sector: The Colorado Experience

Discussion (25 minutes)

11 - 11:15 am: Break

11:15 am - 12:45 pm: Panel 2: Legal Measures and Mechanisms to Distribute Costs and Benefits

  • Martha Roggenkamp (University of Groningen, the Netherlands), The Position of Citizens in Energy Production in the Netherlands: Is a New Approach Emerging?
  • Jose Juan Gonzalez Márquez (Metropolitan Autonomous University, Mexico), Social and Environmental Liability of Private Companies in the Energy Sector and the Mexican Energy Reform
  • Anita Rønne (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), Opposition to Wind Farms and the Possible Response of the Legal System
  • Yinka Omerogbe (Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, Nigeria), Resource Control and benefit Sharing in Nigeria
  • Lee Paddock (The George Washington University Law School, USA, Community Benefit Agreements for Wind Farms in Context

Discussion (20 minutes)

12:45 pm - 1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30 - 2:40 pm: Panel 3: Participatory Rights and Public Engagement

  • Aileen McHarg (University of Strathclyde, Scotland), Community Benefit through Community Ownership of Renewable Generation in Scotland: Power to the People?
  • Alastair Lucas (University of Calgary, Canada), Participatory Rights and Strategic Litigation: Benefits Forcing and Endowment protection in Canadian Natural Resources Development
  • Milton Fernando Montoya (Universidad Externado, Columbia), Participation of Territorial Authorities in Mining Activities in Columbia

Discussion (20 minutes)

2:40 - 3:30 pm: Concluding roundtable discussion on lessons learned