Golden Plains Wind Farm has a well-established and successful collaboration with the local communities surrounding the Golden Plains Wind Farm site.
Since the inception of the Project, the Golden Plains Wind Farm team has been working closely with landholders, immediate neighbours and the community to engage and provide information relating to the Project. This early collaboration quickly identified the opportunities to share the benefits of the Project.
Community Benefit Fund
The Golden Plains Wind Farm Management (GPWFM) Community Benefit Fund has been established to provide financial sponsorship support for a range of community-based initiatives, projects and events that benefit local communities. The objective of the Fund is provide financial support to not-for-profit community groups and organisations that are working to make a positive and lasting contribution to regional communities within and around the Golden Plains Wind Farm. GPWFM has a genuine interest in supporting the communities in which it operates.
During the planning and construction stages of the Golden Plains Wind Farm, the Community Benefit Fund will, twice a year, provide $10,000 for a range of community purposes and needs, including health and social welfare, safety, environmental, educational, youth projects, sport and recreation, culture, the arts and economic development. Twice a year, the fund is overseen by a Community Reference Group (CRG) – a group of volunteers that live in and around the wind farm site. The primary role of the CRG is to enhance communication between WestWind Energy and the community; enhance WestWind’s understanding of community issues; encourage community partnerships; and, ensure the local community benefits as a result of the Wind Farm Project. The CRG will assess all applications to help determine how best to allocate funds and in-kind contributions to maximise benefits for communities within 10 kilometres of the wind farm.
Applications for the Second Round of the 2020 community funding are open from 1 September to 30 October with a total pool of $10,000 available.
Once the wind farm is operational, the Community Benefit Fund will increase the financial support for local not-for-profit groups and projects to $228,000 a year ($1,000 annually per constructed turbine).
The Community Fund Guidelines and Application Form are here: Golden Plains Wind Farm- Community Benefit Fund Guidelines
The CRG Terms of Reference are here: Golden Plains Wind Farm – Community Reference Group Terms of Reference
Community Investment Program
As part of our commitment to sharing financial benefits with the community, a program will be initiated to facilitate host landholders and the community living within approximately 10km of the wind farm to invest financially in the project.
We believe community-owned renewable energy is a fantastic opportunity for the community. Not only is community owned renewable energy a great way to improve our environment, it is also an opportunity for regional communities to come together and benefit economically.
Community-owned renewable energy can strengthen local communities, build community participation, and help educate people about renewable energy. It will also create training opportunities about wind energy and generate a way for the local community to secure a financial return from their neighbouring wind farm.
Electricity Offset & Energy Audit Scheme
The electricity offset scheme will share the financial benefit across a larger section of the community, while reducing the carbon footprint of the local community.
By providing green electricity, equal to an amount of the average Victorian home at no cost to non-host, habitable and registered primary dwellings within 3km of a constructed turbine, the community most impacted by the wind farm will directly benefit from the green energy produced.
The electricity off-set program will commence within six months of commencement of onsite construction of the wind farm.
In addition to the free electricity, the wind farm will also provide an energy audit for each of these dwellings to help homeowners understand how they can minimise electricity usage.
An assessor will visit each home to evaluate thermal and electrical performance and provide energy assessments to prioritise the most appropriate solutions for energy usage reduction in people’s homes.
Annual Neighbour Payments
Annual Council Rates
Community Co-Investment with Sound Rates
One Off Energy Audit
Approximately 140 Participants
Annual Landholder Payments
40 Landholder Families
Annual Community Benefit Fund
Annual Electricity Offset
Approximately 140 Dwellings
Approximately $250 k
Residents at dwellings with a view to wind turbines, within 5 kilometres of a Golden Plains Wind Farm wind turbine will be invited to participate in a landscaping program. This will provide for landscaping to reduce the visual impact of the turbines. Residents will be provided with further detail closer to construction and can choose whether they opt into the program, via an expression of interest form. After expressions of interest are received, a landscape and visual assessment will be undertaken at each property, to determine eligibility and appropriate measure/s.
Financial Incentive Program for Neighbours
All neighbours that own a property with their primary residence on that property and where that primary residence is located within 2km of a constructed wind turbine (excluding host dwellings and dwellings located within the Rokewood township), will be provided with an annual financial incentive based on level of impact.
This incentive is calculated based on the number of turbines constructed within 2km of an eligible dwelling. Each of these neighbours will receive $1000 for each of the first three turbines, and $750 for each additional turbine that is constructed within 2km of their dwelling.
The annual payment will begin when construction of the foundation of the turbines within 2km of their dwelling is complete. This payment will be adjusted for CPI and will continue while the wind farm is operational.
Host Landholder Benefits
The wind farm will provide >$3.5 million in annual income across 39 host landowners.
This economic boost to farmers enables them to secure supplementary income annually, for decades, through lease arrangements with the wind farm. This income provides a stable addition to farming income and helps to counteract swings in commodity prices and ‘drought-proof’ farms.
There are no financial costs for farmers to be able to receive supplementary income, as the developer takes on the development costs and once the wind farm is constructed, farmers benefit from the partnership and on-going income throughout the life of the wind farm.
This sustains the farming practice and provides protection to the farming land for years to come. It also allows farmers to farm more sustainably by removing the pressure to maximise income from the land.
Some properties with high quality native vegetation and protected flora and fauna can secure additional income through environmental offsets that remain protected in perpetuity. The roads constructed by the developer give landholders all weather access across their property which improves management practices and emergency access.
The wind farm provides increased generation assets geographically closer to Victoria’s load centre (Melbourne and Geelong) which will reduce transmission losses and assist in grid stability.
Complaints Investigation and Response Plan
Golden Plains Wind Farm is currently developing a complaints investigation and response plan that will used to process stakeholder complaints associated with the Project. The specific objectives of the Complaints Investigation and Response Plan (the Plan) is to provide stakeholders with a transparent, consistent, and predictable means to lodge complaints.
Before construction commences, this Plan will be submitted to the Minister for Planning for review and endorsement in accordance with Conditions 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 and 99 of the Planning Permit. Once endorsed, this Plan will form part of the Planning Permit, will be implemented to the satisfaction of the Minister for Planning, and will not be altered or modified without the consent of the Minister for Planning. Once endorsed, the plan will be available on this website.
In the meantime, Golden Plains Wind Farm Management welcome any an and all questions regarding the project and we can be contacted on either telephone: (03) 5421 9999 or email: email@example.com.