Distributed renewable energy projects connected to local communities is the future of energy generation in Australia, and together we’re making it happen.
AWA's latest report Building Stronger Communities: Wind’s growing role in regional Australia looks at the many ways wind farms are connecting with communities through benefit sharing. Making sure the benefits of wind farms stay local means wind energy can build relationships and make a positive contribution to the social fabric of rural and regional Australia.
The report investigates how income and investment from wind farms flows to local communities in the windiest parts of Australia (see image), from payments to landowners and sponsorship through to community co-ownership and co-investment.
The report also takes a deeper look at Community Enhancement Funds, and the hundreds of projects they support around Australia.
Country Fire Services, Country Women’s Associations, Landcare groups, golf and bowling clubs, men’s sheds and progress associations are just some of the many organisations that have run projects, built community infrastructure and supported their communities through CEF grants. Wind farm community enhancement funds have supported community projects ranging from indigenous and community gardens, workshops for resilient living and health initiatives, food coops, local tourism marketing materials and upgrades to community facilities such as maternity and children’s rooms, playgrounds and sporting clubs. Rural Fire Services, Surf Lifesaving Clubs, native plant groups, theatres, public schools, libraries, kindergartens and community support services have all purchased or upgraded vital equipment.
You name it, somewhere, a local community has found a way to fix it, upgrade it or make it happen with the support of wind farm CEF funding.
AWA is working with communities and the renewable energy industry to make sure wind farms continue to generate and deliver benefits locally and nationally, making the transitions to 100% renewables work for all of us.
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- commented 2018-05-18 06:22:50 +1000I found that to be a very interesting publication. It showed that many wind farm operators were generous, some (like AGL) stingy, and some weren’t on the list of providers of money for their local community at all. (I sent two emails to Meridian Energy, no reply. I strongly suspect they give nothing.).
I’m inclined to think that there should be a mandatory minimum level of community support.