<img class="img-responsive" src="/fileadmin/_processed_/c/2/csm_HepWindLaunch_MG_3166_47x31cm_header_no_elsa_85599b8263.jpg" width="1140" height="500" alt="Building community support in Australia" title="Building community support in Australia" />

Building community support in Australia

Senvion Australia is committed to ensuring local communities are engaged at every stage of a wind energy project. In particular, Senvion Australia is working hard to maximise the local benefits of wind farms.

Senvion Australia recognises that effective community engagement is essential to building support for wind energy.

As a founding sponsor of the Clean Energy Council’s Community Engagement Guidelines, we firmly believe that our industry has a critical role to play in ensuring that local people are involved in every stage of a project’s life.

Our service technicians live and work in towns across Victoria and New South Wales to maintain 216 turbines. This close and long-term connection to wind farm communities means that we are well positioned to understand local challenges and opportunities. As a company we are constantly looking at how to leverage this understanding to maximise the local benefits of our activities.

For example, through our local networks we made a connection to the supportive "Men’s Sheds" in the Victorian towns of Dereel and Buninyong. These groups have been using leftover timber packaging crates from the Mt Mercer Wind Farm to make planter boxes and garden furniture to sell. Not only does this help members build their carpentry skills, it also provides a much needed income stream to ensure these important groups keep operating in their communities.

We also regularly run wind farm tours and participate in community events. We recently participated in Australia’s National Wind Farm Open Day, running tours of the 6-turbine Wonthaggi Wind Farm in Gippsland. Working closely with the local Rotary Club, and community organisations such as the Australian Wind Alliance and Yes2Renewables we set up a stand in the centre of town to provide information about wind energy as well as a range of activities for kids. To ensure the information we provide to communities is useful, our technicians developed a brochure of Frequently Asked Questions based on all the things that people ask them about wind energy.

Senvion is now recognised as a preferred partner on community-scale wind farms. We built and now operate Australia’s first community owned wind farm in Hepburn in Victoria. This 2-turbine project has won a suite of awards including a World Wind Energy Award in 2012. In what we understand to be a world first, a local artist has painted murals on both turbines, and "Gale" and "Gusto" now symbolise a community that is keen to celebrate clean energy.

As the imperative to move to a low carbon economy grows even stronger, the wind industry will need to work hard to maintain a social license to build more wind farms. Senvion Australia aims to do its best to enhance the reputation of the wind industry in every community it works in.

 

Further information:

Clean Energy Council’s Community Engagement Guidelines: www.cleanenergycouncil.org.au

Australian Wind Alliance: www.windalliance.org.au

Yes2Renewables: www.yes2renewables.org

Hepburn Wind Farm: www.hepburnwind.com.au