AWA’s NSW regional coordinator, Charlie Prell, attended the launch of the new Gullen Solar Farm at Bannaby, just south of Crookwell in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. The project is co-located with the Gullen Range Wind Farm, and gives us a glimpse of the potential benefits that co-location of renewable energy projects can deliver. If we embrace the benefits and possibilities of renewable energy co-location regional Australia could have a very bright future ahead.
Ah the joys of travel! And what could be more enjoyable than a tour through the wind farms of Western Victoria on a classic early summer day. Well, someone’s gotta do it...
A fuller version of this story is available at reneweconomy.com.au
A community investment plan at Sapphire Wind Farm could be the turning point the wind industry has needed for years.
While community ownership of roof-top solar has snowballed, public investment in larger solar farms, such as Canberra’s Solar Share, has been growing steadily as well. Lower upfront capital costs and relatively simple design requirements have been putting solar projects within reach of community based organisations for a number of years.
This year could see community investment take a huge leap forward.
This year, wind energy in Australia turns 30, and boy, has it come a long way. From the first large scale wind farm (well, it was large-scale in those days), near Esperance Western Australia, this year saw construction of more than seven seriously large-scale wind farms, with more to come next year.
We thought now would be perfect time to take a look at just what wind energy could do in the years to come.
What better way to bolster the economic fortunes of a regional community than hosting a wind or a solar farm?
And what better way to entice people out from their homes on a Thursday night than some spot-on information and a top-notch, home-cooked supper at the Kentucky Memorial Hall!
A crowd of seventy farmers from the Kentucky, Bendemeer, Woolbrook and Walcha communities gathered to hear speakers on community involvement in wind farms and large scale solar projects. Presented by the Australian Wind Alliance, the forum put the focus on local communities - how they can secure financial benefits from the renewable energy boom that is occurring in the New England.
The Great Dividing Range that runs from Western Victoria all the way up to North Queensland is one of Australia’s windiest areas. All along the range, there are high-altitude areas where the wind blows strongly and dependably. While some of those regions, like Western Victoria and NSW’s Southern Tablelands, have been harnessing those resources with wind farms for years, new regions are now opening to wind turbines for the first time.
The Bodangora Wind Farm near Wellington in NSW’s Central Tablelands will be the first wind farm in that area. Consisting of 33 GE turbines, it will generate 113 megawatts and power approximately 64,000 homes.
If you’re interested in wind power, Victoria is a great place to be right now. The state government has just legislated a VRET - 40% renewable energy by 2025 - and the first auction for 650 megawatts of new wind and solar projects will be opened before the end of the year.
What does this mean for local communities in the state’s wind districts? What changes can we expect to see in our energy market and how would this be impacted if government were to change at the next election?
What can we say. We’d be shocked if we hadn’t been hearing the same ideological spin for so long.
Having commissioned the exhaustive Finkel review that identified more renewables as the solution to our energy woes, the Prime Minister has trashed 12 months of work and consultation and dumped its central recommendation - a Clean Energy Target. In it’s place is a plan that does two things - firstly, it removes incentives for investment in renewable energy and secondly, it throws a lifeline to dirty, unreliable coal plants that need to be closed.
When the Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, recommended the government adopt a Clean Energy Target the cry went up from coal-lovers in their party - give us more coal!
That’s why the Australian Wind Alliance joined with 13 other environmental and social justice organisations to call on Minister Frydenberg to stand up to those dinosaurs and make sure there was no room for new coal in their Clean Energy Target.
The Australian Wind Alliance visited the New England Region in June to find out how things are progressing with the White Rock and Sapphire Wind Farms.
We met with lots of people and talked farms, communities and wind energy - making the mix work.