In Denmark and Germany
community-owned wind farms are common, and this seems to have made
the developments much more acceptable to the local people; but in Australia
community ownership is very unusual.
(As I write there are three community owned wind farms:
Mount Barker, WA; and
another proposed at
If there was a will among wind farm builders this situation could easily be
At the proposed Flyers Creek
Wind Farm in NSW Infigen has suggested that one of the turbines could be
owned by the community.
A major problem here is that the whole of the cost of one turbine must be
raised, and no more than that.
What to do if the local people want to invest only a half that much money,
or what if they want to invest an amount equal to the cost of one and a half
Shares in a proposed wind farm could be offered to the local people.
For example, suppose a wind farm of 100 turbines was expected to cost
$400 million; shares of $1000 each could be sold and dividends payed
calculated proportionally on the net income generated by the wind farm.
This is particularly speculative.
$1000 is one 400 000th part of $400m.
The dividends could be calculated as the gross income from the sale of all
the electricity minus the cost of maintenance of the wind farm.
So the annual dividend paid on each share would be something like one
400 000th part of the annual electricity sales minus one 400 000th
part of the annual maintenance costs.
The value of the shares would probably be allowed to 'float' once the
wind farm got under way.
A common reaction in some landholders who will not host turbines in a
proposed wind farm seems to be
envy of those of
their neighbours who are to receive big lease payments.
If they were offered shares, at perhaps an advantagious rate, the envy might
Shares in wind farm would have to be attractive to ethical investors and
ethical investment funds.
If the wind power company operating the wind farm did not want to be
directly involved in payments to the share holders, or in buying and selling
shares, a cooperative could be set up to handle these matters.
Of course something more than a simple proportional share in the profits
could be offered to the local residents if it was desired to make the
investment very attractive; or perhaps bonus shares might be offered to
– the closer the resident, the more bonus shares.
People who were not locals could also be included; but in this case, for the
sake of ease of administration, higher minimum investments might be imposed;
An advantage of this model would be that the shares could be made available
to nearby residents even after the wind farm was fully operational; so that
those who missed out earlier because of cash-flow problems, or those who had
a change of heart, could still become involved.