Hepburn Wind award receives recognition in Canberra

HEPBURN Wind was honoured in Canberra recently for doing Australia proud by winning the World Wind Energy Award.

Hepburn Wind, Australia's first community-owned wind farm, was presented with the award in Germany in July but the achievement was formally recognised on home soil last Wednesday.

The ceremony at Parliament House was hosted by Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus and WorldWind Energy Association representative Peter Rae AO.

The Hepburn Wind co-operative is based in Daylesford and is owned by almost 2000 members.

The project established the Hepburn Wind Community Fund, which will provide more than $1 million in community building grants over the next 25 years and has already helped 23 community groups in the Hepburn Shire.

Hepburn Wind chairman Simon Holmes Court said the community energy model was getting a foothold in Australia.

"One of the exciting things is that we've been giving a lot of moral support and advice for the Castlemaine group, and also to Woodend, because they're doing similar projects," he said.

"The idea is spreading through Victoria."

Mr Holmes Court said it was fantastic for Hepburn Wind to be recognised on a world scale.

"They award the World Wind Energy Award once a year, I think it's now in its 12th year," he said.

"But this is the first time it's been presented to an Australian entity.

"We did not expect it at all.

"We were shocked.

"But community energy is very topical at the moment."

Mr Holmes Court said wind-power was the cheapest utility-scale renewable energy available in Australia and was creating jobs in regional areas and lowering wholesale energy costs in our national electricity market.

"Community energy projects are focused on returning benefits to their host communities, as a social investment, as an employer and as a provider of community building grants," he said.

"In addition, there is great pride in generating your own clean, safe energy and keeping the profits locally."

Recognition: Founding chair of Hepburn Wind Peter Rae AO, left, Simon Holmes à Court and Mark Dreyfus MP at Parliament House in Canberra to recognise the achievement of Hepburn Wind in receiving the World Wind Energy Award.

Recognition: Founding chair of Hepburn Wind Peter Rae AO, left, Simon Holmes à Court and Mark Dreyfus MP at Parliament House in Canberra to recognise the achievement of Hepburn Wind in receiving the World Wind Energy Award.

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