The Central NSW Renewable Energy Cooperative Ltd (CENREC) has been formed to support the uptake of renewable energy in central NSW. A significant aspect of this mission is the intention to purchase a wind turbine in the Flyers Creek Wind Farm, once approved by the Planning Assessment Commission. This means members of the co-op own the turbine, so local people will have a financial stake and the profits stay in the region. This benefits local businesses and local investment.
The purchase will allow $340,000 in dividends and community grants to flow into the local economy every year, once the turbine is commissioned.
In addition, 100 full-time equivalent jobs will be created during the construction phase, five full-time equivalent jobs will be ongoing when the farm is operational, the landholders will receive substantial lease payments, and hundreds of thousands of dollars will be paid to Blayney Shire Council for road maintenance and the like.
This is of clear economic benefit for the local community. We invite you to be a part of it.
Additionally, a community energy project allows the people to secure their own energy future and drive greater efficiency and reliability.
It also offers people the chance to make a meaningful, collective contribution to mitigating climate change, materially more than they can ever achieve with purchasing appliances, light bulbs, improving insulation, using public transport or other noble energy saving measures.
We know there are still considerable misconceptions about wind farms and other renewable technologies and a lack of education as to their benefits. Community projects will have a role in allowing local people to see for themselves how they work and the benefits they offer.
And as such they will create interest in renewable energy as well as being a tourist drawcard.
Across the world thousands of communities have established their own renewable energy projects. In Denmark, the home of community renewable energy, the Danish Wind Turbine Owners’ Association was formed in 1978. Critical to the success of the wind industry, it works with wind co-ops, scientists, technicians, manufacturers and politicians. Here in Australia, we have organisations like the Community Power Agency and Embark providing similar support, linking 40 Community renewable energy groups throughout the country.
If wind farms and other forms of renewable energy are to meet the federal government’s renewable energy target of 20% by 2020, local communities can take decisions and reap the benefits. It provides an opportunity for self determination in the face of government inaction – creating real changes at a community level to manage our own destiny and get off the fossil-fuel roundabout.
Community renewable energy champions democracy, regional energy security, and local leadership, as well as offering a sound financial, social and environmental investment. Community owned power says it all. Get informed. Get involved. Get behind it.
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