Gale and Gusto


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, , and…….



This is Gusto.


My thanks to my niece, Gemma, for the photographs in which I am featured.


7 Responses

  1. Hi Margaret,
    Thank you for introducing us to Gale and Gusto! 🙂 It was also lovely to see you in a picture. I am a supporter of clean renewable energy production too. While some may say they are ugly, I’ve seen some much uglier and dirty coal mines in Queensland. It sounds like community wind farms are a great way to get things started! 🙂

    • Jane, Here’s hoping more of these small scale projects get off the ground in the next few years.
      I agree wind farms are not as ugly as some of the alternatives. Standing under Gale and Gusto, I was impressed by their sculptural beauty.

  2. It was reading about this project years ago that got me excited about wind power….. then I became disenchanted with the industry as more information came to me. Watching the spread of giant ‘farms’ across the country with no tangible benefits to the communities e.g. lower power prices, further increased my disquiet. But small community owned operations still get my vote. I spent a number of years living completely off the grid and from that experience, and seeing how many electricial appliances are kept in homes these days, I maintain the belief that people need to revise and reduce their overall consumption of power i.e change their thinking completely.
    Thanks for the chance to have a rant Margaret 🙂

    • No worries, Enevea. One of the founders of Hepburn Wind was a man from Denmark who knew that community owned wind farms was the norm in that country. He was able to convince enough people in the Daylesford area that community owned wind farms was the way forward for the project to get off the ground.

  3. I am all in favour of alternative energy, thoroughly disappointed with our current government so glad things are moving in Victoria at least.

    • Renewable energy is a bit of a political football here, falling in and out of favour depending on the politics of the moment. Because of Australia’s large reserves of coal and the clout the coal industry wields, Australia has been slower on the uptake compared with other countries in the world.
      However, it is pleasing to see the increasing number of rooftops sporting solar panels as the cost of panels becomes more affordable. I recently added a solar system to the roof of my home through a community bulk buy scheme.

      • What an excellent idea, well done.

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