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Wind power gets support in Mount Alexander Shire

Mount Alexander Shire residents are willing to support a community-owned wind power project, a recent survey says.

The report by Mount Alexander Community Wind said 77 per cent of respondents wanted MACWind to supply at least half of Mount Alexander Shire’s electricity needs, with wind the preferred source.

More than 60 people attended a forum in Castlemaine on Thursday night to hear about the project.

MACWind wants to construct between two and six wind turbines to replace up to 100 per cent of the shire’s household electricity needs with clean renewable energy.

MACWind project co-ordinator Jarra Hicks said public feeling was overwhelmingly in favour.

“All the people who were there were positive and very attentive,” she said.

“We feel we’ve gone out to the community and we now have a social licence to take the next step.”

MACWind will begin to perform site assessments to establish a wind monitoring tower from the 60 expressions of interest received.

It plans to fund the project through donations and grants.

Ms Hicks said MACWind would continue to work with the community and those who opposed the plan.

“We will still have challenges. Some have concerns about the impact on landscape, ecology and noise, but they are all things that can be managed,” she said.

“No matter what you do there’s still going to be a small per cent of the population who don’t like what you’re doing.”

Ms Hicks recently returned from a tour of European towns that had community-owned renewable energy projects.

She said it had firmed her belief in the Mount Alexander project.

“There are so many communities who are getting 25 to 100 per cent of their energy from renewable sources,” she said.

“It’s exciting and it’s happening and there are some big benefits.”