Australian news, and some related international items

Australia’s energy generation – community-owned renewable projects are the way forward.

The Hepburn Community Wind Farm consists of two turbines built by the community, after locals decided nearly seven years ago to take responsibility for their own energy needs.

Citizen-owned energy is way of the future.  Power Engineering, 17 June 12,  AUSTRALIA’S carbon tax is just two weeks away. The cost of electricity is set to rise from July 1, with a national renewable energy target of 20 per cent by 2020.
Large-scale wind farms are increasing, solar energy is booming and hydro schemes are being adopted across the country.

But the real future of energy generation is in community- owned renewable energy projects, according to one of the men involved in setting up Australia’s first citizen-owned wind farm. Now he has his sights set on Tasmania.
Victoria’s Jack Gilding was in the state last week to talk to locals
about the viability of renewable energy projects in communities and
their financial benefits.
The Hepburn Community Wind Farm consists of two turbines built by the
community, after locals decided nearly seven years ago to take
responsibility for their own energy needs.
“We get million or so income per year and $30,000 of that goes into
community projects,” Mr Gilding said.
“And that will go up. The project has created local jobs and raised
the skill level of locals.
“It created more local employment and more money stays in the
community through smaller projects like this, as opposed to big scale
wind farms.”
A group of about 1900 people raised $9.7 million for the Hepburn
project and entered into wholesale and retail arrangements with
electricity company Red Energy.
“Most community energy projects commit a specific proportion of
profits to the community as financial support,” community energy lobby
group Embark Australia said.
The Hepburn Community Wind Farm was officially opened in November last year.
“This is how so much of our energy is going to be generated in the
future _ not in far off power stations but in local communities,
capturing the power nature gives us through the wind and the sun,”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said at the time.
Mr Gilding believes Tasmania is a perfect place to begin investing in
community- owned turbines…….
Sassafras chicken farmer Rob Nichols agrees with him.
He installed mainland Tasmania’s first privately owned turbine at his
farm four years ago. It produces 50 per cent of his electricity.
Mr Nichols believes community ownership could provide enormous social,
environmental and economic benefits to regional areas……. Mr
Nichols believes there is room for farmers to diversify into clean
energy industries including wind power, as they are doing in many
countries across Europe. “It’s given us the opportunity to get
involved in a new and promising dynamic business, which is renewable

June 18, 2012 - Posted by | Tasmania, Victoria, wind |

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