A RECENT report has highlighted the benefit of New England’s wind farms, which topped the state in financial contributions to nearby communities.
Sapphire Wind Farm contributes $187,000 a year through its community enhancement fund, while White Rock Wind Farm contributes $175,000 – the two highest in the state, and the second and third highest in the nation.
With operational lifetimes of more than 20 years, the wind farms will dish out millions of dollars in grants.
The report (which you can see below) by the Australian Wind Alliance (AWA) estimates $10.5 billion could be delivered to host communities across the 25-year life span of the nation’s existing wind farms and wind farms under construction.
AWA national coordinator Andrew Bray said wind power was making a “long-lasting, positive contribution to rural Australia’s social fabric”.
“They really support small towns to do that important work, often through volunteers that keeps the town ticking along,” Mr Bray said.
“Whether it be sporting clubs, building or maintaining local facilities or running local festivals, these activities are crucial and are the life blood of small towns.
“The important things about these funds is that it really starts a conversation between wind farms and the local community, and shows they can be valuable partners with communities in these endeavours.
“It builds strong relationships, and the wind farm gets an understand of what is important to the local community.”
The report highlights Glen Innes-based disability service Glen Industries, who sought funding from the Sapphire Wind Farm community enhancement fund to put the finishing touches on a community garden.
Glen Industries manager Kylie Hawkins said the grant allowed them to build a sizeable deck and roof around the garden, which created a communal space for gatherings and events, along with a dome growing house.
“The Glen Industries food garden is a community garden with a twist – a space to bring together volunteers, generations and organisations and to generate community support along with the fruit and veg,” Ms Hawkins said.
“It’s about community helping community.”