The past two years of wind industry development have been nothing short of a boom.
Wind farm jobs have tripled, the funds which wind farms contribute to host-communities has more than doubled, and wind energy is poised to soon overtake brown coal in energy generation.
AWA's second edition report, Building Stronger Communities: Wind’s growing role in regional Australia tracks this boom and 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 strengthen communities and make a positive contribution to the social fabric of rural and regional Australia.
The report investigates how income and investment from wind farms flow to local communities in the windiest parts of Australia, 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.
A school community garden in Far North QLD funded by Mt Emerald Wind Farm
A slew of local community projects have been funded by wind farms in the past two years alone.
Country Fire Services, Country Women’s Associations, Landcare groups, golf and bowling clubs, men’s sheds, local schools, mental health clinics 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.