On Saturday, I visited the Hepburn Community Wind Farm at Leonards Hill near Daylesford as a member of a tour organised by Mount Alexander Shire Council.
It was a perfect, sunny, warm day with NO WIND so Gale and Gusto were having the day off.
I was keen to join the tour as I had read and heard about the criticisms of wind farms so this was an opportunity to get up close and personal with a wind turbine. Taryn Lane, representing Hepburn Wind, was kept busy explaining the history of the project, how local community support was harnessed, how the community co-operative worked, the benefits of the wind farm for the environment and for the community, and countering the criticisms.
Hepburn Wind Community Energy is the owner and operator of Australia’s first community owned wind farm. The 4.1 MW wind farm produces enough clean energy for over 2,000 homes and delivers a range of benefits to the local area including grants and sponsorships for local projects through the Hepburn Wind Community Fund.
The wind farm project began in September 2004 and began generating power in June 2011.
Another community owned wind farm, Denmark Community Windfarm Ltd. now operates in Denmark, Western Australia.
In recent years, state and federal governments have been anti-wind (anti-renewable energy in general) making it more difficult for other community owned wind farm projects to proceed. With a new Victorian government which is more positive about wind generated electricity, there are hopes there will be active support for new and fledgling community wind farm projects. Woodend Integrated Sustainable Energy (WISE) has been developing a community wind farm project for 4 years with the aim of creating a wind park hosting 3 turbines in a nearby pine forest in the Shire of Macedon Ranges.
This is Gale, http://tmblr.co/ZBdCmk1iuUtz- , and…….
This is Gusto.
My thanks to my niece, Gemma, for the photographs in which I am featured.