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With four wind farms approved in the Yass Valley region in NSW, the area is set to become a renewable energy superpower, exporting clean energy to the rest of the state, and bringing in new investment, jobs and community benefits.
So, many locals were surprised to hear that the Yass Valley Council decided to call a halt to future wind farms, despite stating support for renewable energy in general. Council’s decision, made last night, is a minor walk-back from a decision at their previous meeting to ban all wind farms.
Bango Wind Farm in the Southern Tablelands has been approved following a lively discussion about the project at the Independent Planning Commission (IPC) hearing in March. Local supporters worked hard to see the project through the final steps of its approval which has followed years of work by CWP Renewables in the area developing the project.
Liberal MP, Richard Riordan’s electorate of Polwarth enjoys some of the best wind resources in the developed world so it’s no wonder there are companies knocking down the door to harness this resource.
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 key to the long term future of wind in regional Australia is strong community engagement. For companies planning a wind farm, this means getting out into the community early, being open and transparent, promoting the project through local media, meeting with the local community groups, councils and anyone who has a stake in the future of the area where you want to build the wind farm. Over the years, we've seen industry improve markedly in the way it engages with the community but from time to time the standard is not upheld by all developers.
Wind energy in Australia has just hit a historic milestone, demonstrating for the first time that it can provide system services that stabilise the grid.
A trial at Neoen Australia’s Hornsdale Wind Farm, supported by ARENA, AEMO and turbine manufacturer, Siemens-Gamesa, successfully demonstrated that wind can enhance grid safety, security and reliability in a way that has until now been the preserve of coal, gas and hydro plants. In fact, the trial showed that wind farms were able to respond to grid frequency needs with greater precision than conventional generators. While wind farms in other parts of the world, including in Germany, UK, Ireland and Texas, have been required to provide frequency control for many years, this is the first demonstration of this capability in Australia.
As you drive from Crookwell to Taralga you can’t miss the large turbines that gradually appear on the horizon to the east of the village. The prospect of these turbines created a bit of anxiety for local residents before they were constructed, but they are now being welcomed as an important part of the landscape and community. Three years into its operation, the wind farm is an active and supportive part of the local community. In the last year alone, the wind farm has contributed $124,000 to important local organisations and events.
I recently joined around 30 people at the Masonic Hall in Taralga to get an update on the contributions Taralga Wind Farm is making to the town and surrounds.
AWA’s NSW regional coordinator, Charlie Prell, attended the launch of the new Gullen Solar Farm at Bannaby, just south of Crookwell in the Southern Tablelands of NSW. The project is co-located with the Gullen Range Wind Farm, and gives us a glimpse of the potential benefits that co-location of renewable energy projects can deliver. If we embrace the benefits and possibilities of renewable energy co-location regional Australia could have a very bright future ahead.
Ah the joys of travel! And what could be more enjoyable than a tour through the wind farms of Western Victoria on a classic early summer day. Well, someone’s gotta do it...