A Melbourne energy company is scouring the region for wind farm sites, promising to pump profits back into the community.
Future Energy Pty Ltd managing director David Shapero said on Monday the Surf Coast and Bellarine Peninsula would be ideal locations for community-generated wind farms.
His comments come after the state’s planning tribunal backed a Future Energy plan to construct Australia’s first community-owned wind farm in Hepburn last month.
Mr Shapero said small community-based wind farms would be suited to the region which could not accommodate large operations because of the growing population and lack of wide open spaces.
“We have been down looking at that area a bit,” he said.
“We have been trying to find locations that are most appropriate but have minimal impact.”
Mr Shapero said community-based wind farms were operated like a business but funded by community investors or shareholders.
He said shareholders not only helped to save the environment but received a profit from the wind farm while funds were also directed back into the local economy through community projects.
“I always thought it would be best if the money was used for energy savings programs. Overseas programs have included giving out low energy light globes which is fairly simple to putting retro fitters on local buses for low energy fuels,” Mr Shapero said.
Wind farms are better suited to open farm land with high wind spots that are close to the energy grid, but Mr Shapero said, the Great Ocean Road would not be a target as the Government did not support wind farms in that area.
He said he expected the region to host many wind farms in the future as the dire consequences of climate change became more pressing.
Individual wind turbines, Mr Shapero said had the capacity to supply 1000 homes while the energy used to construct them was made back within 12 months of being set-up.
“Wind turbines have a lifespan of about 25 years and if they need to come down there’s plenty of opportunity for the materials to be recycled,” he said.
Mr Shapero said Future Energy was also acting on behalf of International Power, one of the world’s largest renewable energy companies, which had submitted early plans for a 14- turbine wind farm in Winchelsea.
He said more than 40 Winchelsea residents had attended a meeting on the proposal which would create enough energy to supply 14,000 homes.
21 August 2007
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