Australian Wind Alliance

From wind and coal: wind is now the goal

Blair DonaldsonBlair Donaldson grew up around windmills that pumped water on his parent’s farm in the La Trobe Valley, Victoria’s coal-fired power plant hub.

He realized early on that harnessing the wind could generate something of real value – in this case, the cattle had water to drink and a storage tank of water available.

What wasn’t so great about farm life?

Wiping the clothesline before she hung the clothes out was also a routine for his mother.

“It would have dust from the coal burning on it, and you wouldn’t leave your clothes on the line for a few days; they would get black spots on them,” he said.

“They have cleaned it up a lot more now, but I do remember getting grit in my eyes as a kid, too.”

In his adult life he became a vocal proponent for wind energy from his home in South Gippsland, 60 kilometres away from the La Trobe Valley.

He wrote letters to the media and started a website with other community activists hoping to promote the science behind wind power technology. 

Then he decided to put his money where his mouth was and become a shareholder in Hepburn Wind, Australia's first community run wind farm, and sign up to VicWind as a member.

“I support wind energy because I like the idea of a clean, renewable source of energy and because we cannot go on using polluting, non-renewable energy sources. I think we should live within our planetary means and leave something good and tangible for generations to come.

Blair hopes more people in his area can come on board to show how much they appreciate wind energy, too.

“Community support for wind energy in South Gippsland is reasonably high, although proponents are not usually vocal. The presence of the Toora and Wonthaggi wind farms has done a lot to demonstrate how effective and how benign wind energy is,” he said.

“Now I’m looking forward to the completion of the Bald Hills wind farm.”

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