A NEW wind farm is no different from any major development. Some people will like it, others may not, while most won’t be fussed either way.
But one thing we’ve seen over and over again is that where all the financial benefits are seen to accrue to just a handful of landowners, people living nearby become justifiably annoyed.
That’s why the Australian Wind Alliance has campaigned for many years for wind farms to adopt a more equitable distribution of benefits.
It’s more common now for immediate neighbours to receive either cash or in-kind payments.
By and large that’s what we’re starting to see now across the industry.
Benefit sharing takes a variety of forms. It’s more common now for immediate neighbours to receive either cash or in-kind payments.
Community Enhancement Funds deliver a large pool of grants to community groups every year for the wind farm’s 25 year life.
These grants help groups carry on their important work and take away some of the pressure to fundraise.
In other towns, we’ve seen major projects such as new community buildings funded on the back of this secure pipeline of grants.
Another exciting development is the opportunity for the community to invest and earn a return from a wind farm.
Residents in the New England electorate are able to invest in the Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell and $7.5 million has already been pledged.
We have put together a report outlining this in further detail, which is available at www.windalliance.org.au.
Denis Gregory may not be a fan of wind farms but he should take another look at the different ways hosting a wind farm can benefit the community that hosts it.
Andrew Bray, national coordinator, Australian Wind Alliance
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