Sunday, 13 November 2011

760 celebrate launch of Australia’s first community wind farm
10 Nov, 2011

THE Hepburn Community Wind Park was declared officially open on Saturday, November 5. The ribbon was cut by 10-year-old Neve Bosher of St Augustine's School in Creswick, who won the competition to name the turbines. Her winning names are Gale and Gusto.

As part of her prize, Neve was given a small parcel of shares, joining 1900 others who jointly own Australia's first community-owned wind farm, 10 km south of Daylesford, in Central Victoria. The wind farm has been built by a community that decided six years ago to begin taking responsibility for their energy needs. The two turbines are projected to produce more energy than the houses in Daylesford use each year.

Per Bernard, founder of Hepburn Wind said: "In Denmark, where I was born, most wind farms are owned by communities. I am so proud that the Hepburn community has come together to benefit from renewable energy". The success of the 'Hepburn Model' has inspired communities across the nation to build similar projects, including the neighbouring communities of Woodend and Castlemaine.

Initiated with the support of Sustainability Victoria, the project recently received a prestigious Banksia Environment Award as well as the Victorian Premier's Sustainability Award. David Karoly, one of Australia's leading climate scientists, said: "This project demonstrates that there's a viable business plan for communities to build wind farms on a small scale all around Australia in rural and regional areas and it will generate income and jobs".

Simon Holmes a Court, Chairman of Hepburn Wind said: "Australians love renewable energy. With the passage of the carbon legislation this week, many other regional communities will benefit from the transformation of our energy sector". The wind farm is located on the property of long time Leonard's Hill farmers, the Liversidge family, who, as well as growing potatoes and cattle, are now wind farmers.