Is Your Bet Worth the Hand?
Updated: Jun 8, 2021
The success of any project depends on several factors including the economic climate, resources, access to markets and capital, and overall management. But what about the physical location of the project itself? If you’re in oil and gas, you’re looking at the reserves, the geology, and the potential to drill a productive well. If you’re considering a solar project, a wind farm, a transmission line, or a geothermal well you’re looking at similar technical factors that determine where in the province or country you’re able to develop. Once you've narrowed down potential locations and you’re ready to commit to a project site, have you considered all of the non-technical risks as well? These "non-technical risks" include the intricacies working with the public, stakeholders, land access, and regulatory frameworks. Non-technical risks are the #1 hurdle facing projects today.
People. Land. Compliance.
Land ownership and land access risks, compliance and permitting requirements, and environmental factors can all impact a project. And regardless of where you locate your project, you will have impacted stakeholders which creates social risk (and opportunity!). All are important and need to be considered.
Identifying setbacks and restrictions upfront can help you make informed location comparisons by considering impacts such as: buffers to populated areas, visual constraints, noise setbacks, known historical, cultural or archaeological resources, airports, military bases, and other telecom and related infrastructure requiring setbacks. Environmental factors can also pose major hurdles to projects and include topography, soil erosion, sensitive species at risk habitat areas, important and migratory bird areas, riparian area set-backs, wetlands, fish-bearing streams, parks and protected areas, and those areas that have been previously impacted or are contaminated. Often contaminated site impacts are not as straightforward as they would seem because spills and releases can migrate from off-site wells, facilities, or roads.
Do you understand the regulatory landscape you will need to comply with? The requirements and timing of applications, permits and approvals, can vary drastically across jurisdictions. Have you considered the reporting requirements the regulator may require?
Beyond these impacts, consider the human element. A social assessment can reveal influential or high-risk stakeholders in the area, local or regional government bylaws, policies or plans that may pose delays or hurdles, and the general receptiveness of local landowners and residents. This knowledge resource comes with hands-on experience in the region, and an overall understanding of stakeholder engagement. It is not uncommon for public and stakeholder engagement to delay or shut down a project entirely because the proponent was not prepared for the concerns or level of concerns presented.
What type of assessment do you need?
When it comes to development projects, human, land, environmental and compliance factors all play a role and need consideration when pre-planning. Prior to committing to a specific project site, a Desktop Risk & Impact Assessment can very quickly and cost-effectively illuminate potential hurdles. Spending a little up front to assess the risks to your potential project will help you select the best possible location. Your investment will pay off in many ways such as bypassing sensitive species management plans, avoiding costly environmental plans, and paving the way for more successful public engagement and acceptance.
Once non-technical risks are understood, a plan can be developed to address and mitigate potential risks, turning these into opportunities getting a project across the finish line achieving compliance and acceptance.
Reach out to BRITT RADIUS’ team to learn how an easy and cost effective Desktop Risk & Impact Assessment can positively impact your project. Because we have the best specialists in Land, Environment, Compliance, and Engagement we are able to compile all important risk factors into a simple and effective assessment report. Ultimately, bringing clarity and foresight to your project. Once you know the risks, we can help turn those risks into opportunities.
For more information on how we can help you, please fill out our Needs Assessment!