Wind farms deliver $4b boost to regional communities

Gunning Wind Farm
Gunning Wind Farm

Wind farm construction has delivered an economic boost of almost $4 billion to regional Australia, according to a new report by the Australian Wind Alliance (AWA).

The report, Building Stronger Communities: Wind’s growing role in regional Australia, details the direct and indirect financial and social benefits to Australia’s regional communities from wind power, and shows the complete list of wind farm Community Enhancement Funds across Australia for the first time.

The Australian Wind Alliance estimates $10.5 billion could be delivered to host communities across the 25-year life span of Australia’s existing wind farms and wind farms under construction.

“Australia’s 82 operational wind farms are delivering significant financial and social benefits to their host communities,” AWA national coordinator Andrew Bray said.

“Wind power is making a long-lasting, positive contribution to rural Australia’s social fabric.

“With COAG due to consider the national energy guarantee (NEG) later this week, it’s crucial states insist on the right policy settings to make sure this boom continues and delivers even greater benefits for rural communities.”

As Australia builds enough new wind power to meet the 2020 Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the cost of wind energy continues to fall rapidly driving further installations, regional Australia will continue to benefit.

Charlie Prell is the NSW organiser for the AWA and a sheep farmer from Crookwell. Part of the Crookwell II Wind Farm is currently being constructed on his farm.

“I decided to construct wind turbines on my own property all the way back in 2001,” Mr Prell said.

“This helped me stave off bankruptcy when increasing droughts caused by climate change threatened to make my farm financially unsustainable.

“The wind turbines mean my family now has a future but it also means a better future for my local community too because the money I make from hosting them on my land is spent at local businesses.

“Sharing benefits equitably and effectively with local communities ensures these projects generate not just much-needed clean energy, but also strengthen the social and economic health of regional Australia.”