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Table 1; Community funding
Table 2; Unknown funding

Wind farm community funding

There are many advantages to a community that hosts a wind farm, I have written about them elsewhere on these pages. One of the most obvious advantages to the local community is the funding that most wind farm operators provide to the community; they may be called Community Development Funds or Community Enhancement Funds (CEF).

Some wind farm operators are much more generous than others. This page aims to show who are the outstanding ones and those who are the laggards.

My main wind farm page also discusses community funding.

This page was written 2018/04/25
Contact: email daveclarkecb@yahoo.com (David K. Clarke) – ©
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My drone off to get some photos of a Mid-North South Australian wind farm
Drone and turbine
Photo taken 2016/01/10


Wind farm opposition

I have written about wind power in Australia for well over a decade. In that time I have never known anyone among the opposition complain about the level of community funding promised by a proposed wind farm. This confirms my impression that those who oppose wind farm develpments are almost always motivated by selfish concerns and care little for the broader community, region, country or planet.
In the table below the wind farms are listed in order of decreasing generosity. The values are extracted from the Australian Wind Alliance, Building Stronger Communities report.

A number of Australian wind farms are not in Table 1 because they were not listed in the report, see Table 2, below. It is quite probable that some, or even most, of those that are not listed have very low or non-existent community funds.

Wind farms are bought and sold, and I make errors. Some of the organisations listed as the owners/operators are probably wrong.
I would like to be informed of any errors of any sort.

Table 1
Community enhancement funds provided by wind farm operators
Funding in
of $/MW/yr
Leonards HillVic4.1$30,000$7,320Community
Coober PedySA4$25,000$6,250Energy Developments
CodringtonVic18.2$52,000$2,857Pacific Hydro
Boco RockNSW113$167,500$1,482CWP Renewables/EGCO
Mount EmeraldQld180.5$200,000$1,108Ratch Australia Corp. and Port Bajool Pty Ltd
Cullerin RangeNSW30$32,000$1,067Duet subsidiary Energy Developments
White RockNSW175$175,000$1000Goldwind
Yaloak SouthVic28.7$28,000$976Pacific Hydro
Clements GapSA56.7$55,000$970Pacific Hydro
Oaklands HillVic63$53,000$841WindLab/Challenger Life
Gullen RangeNSW165.5$138,000$834Goldwind
Challicum HillsVic52.5$42,000$800Pacific Hydro
Salt CreekVic54$40,0000$741Tilt Renewables
SapphireNSW270$187,500$694CWP Renewables
of $/MW/yr
Mortons LaneVic19.5$10,000$513CGN Wind Energy
CollgarWA206.5$100,000$484WindLab/Invest. bank UBS/Retail Employees Super. Trust
PortlandVic216$81,500$377Pacific Hydro
AraratVic240$65,000$271Renewable Energy Systems
WaterlooSA111$30,000$270Palisades ($55,000 was given in 2018)
Bald HillsVic107$25,000$235Mitsui and Co.
Bungendore and WoodlawnNSW182.7$42,000$230Infigen
Wattle PointSA90.75$15,000$165Energy Infrastructure Trust/AGL
MacarthurVic420$64,000$152H.R.L. Morrison and Co./Malakoff
Hallett GroupSA350.7$51,000$145AGL (more information below)
SnowtownSA370.8$50,000$135Tilt Renewables
Lake BonneySA278.5$24,000$86Infigen
SilvertonNSW200$15,000$75AGL (CEF not yet fully developed)
Coopers GapQld453$30,000$66AGL/WindLab (CEF not yet fully developed)


Community enhancement funds from solar power stations

Solar PV farms are becoming common. I don't think that they typically provide any sort of community enhancement funds. Why shouldn't they?

Crystal Brook Energy Park

Neoen, the proposers of the Crystal Brook Energy Park (SA), have promised $80,000/year; that works out at $640/MW/year for the wind farm component of the energy park.
As might be expected, the operators of community owned wind farms are very generous. Pacific Hydro and Goldwind are more generous than the average of the others. The two wind farms being built in Queensland at the time of writing are good examples of the extremes: Goldwind at White Rock WF has promised $1000/MW/yr while AGL at Coopers Gap WF has promised $66/MW/yr.

AGL: Judging by the above table AGL do very poorly. I contacted them asking about this. Their reply is copied in full below. In their reply they stated that their total contribution to the community around the Hallett Group of wind farms from 2007/08 to 2017/18 (inclusive?) was $629,450; that is an average of $57,223/year for eleven years.

The table shows a huge range of levels of support given by the wind farmers to their hosting communities. It is quite probable that most of those wind farms that are not listed provide less, or nothing, to their communities.

My own opinion is that some minimum level of community support should be mandated, perhaps something around $800 per megawatt of installed capacity per year, this is a little above the median of the values on Table 1 ($635), but below the average ($1160). As the cost of wind power declines in future, the mandatory payment to communities could increase.

I believe that the amount paid by wind farms in council rates varies considerably from state to state. This would need to be taken into consideration in deciding any fixed minimum community payment.

Wind farms larger than 20 MW operating in Australia in April 2018 not listed on Table 1

Table 2
Larger wind farms with unknown community enhancement funds, or none at all
SACanunda, Cathedral Rocks, Mount Millar, Starfish Hill
TasMusselroe, Woolnorth
VicMount Gellibrand, Mount Mercer, Toora
WAAlbany, Mumbida

New Zealand company Meridian Energy owns both Mount Millar and Mount Mercer wind farms. I emailed asking what community funds they provided on 2018/04/26 and received an automatic reply. As of 2018/05/07 they have not answered my question. I would guess that they give nothing in community development funds.

So far as I know nobody lives within 10 km or more of Cathedral Rocks WF, so it could be said that there is no community. Mount Millar, too, is in a sparsely settled area.

Hornsdale Wind Farm
Drone and turbine
Photo by my drone, 2016/12/12

AGL's reply to my inquiry

In Table 1 the community contributions from AGL seem particularly poor. I asked about this. AGL's full reply is given below:
"Thanks for the question regarding community funding from AGL's wind farms.

The dollar figure AGL spends at each site was provided to the AWA by AGL, and it relates to community investment funds only, not additional or in kind support.

For example, we recently undertook an audit of community funding for our Hallett Wind Farm, and ascertained that we’ve spent over $100,000 more than we were required under our development approval since we began partnering with that community in 2008. This accounts for additional community development activities, sponsorships, and in kind support.

Including the current financial year, AGL has contributed $629,450 to the communities around our Hallett Wind Farms since 2007/08.

This analysis also omits some relevant factors which should be taken into consideration. It does not include Oaklands Hill as an AGL asset, and it includes Silverton and Coopers Gap which do not yet have fully developed community investment funds.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to let us know."
AGL's $629,450 for the Hallett group of wind farms over an eleven year period gives an average of $57,223 per year. This works out at $163 per installed megawatt per year instead of the $145 on Table 1 above. This is still only about a quarter of the median funding rate of all the wind farms on Table 1.

The email address from which AGL's message came did not allow me to reply.



There is a huge range of levels of community funding provided by Australian wind farms; from very generous to nothing.

I live in the area near the Clements Gap, Waterloo, and proposed Crystal Brook Energy Park. I have seen the good that the community funding from Clements Gap and Waterloo wind farms have done, and look forward to more generous community funding from the Crystal Brook Energy Park when and if it is built.

Pacific Hydro, who runs Clements Gap WF, is very generous; Palisades, who own Waterloo WF provide very useful funding, but are well below the median level of those listed in the Australian Wind Alliance report and shown on Table 1. Neoen, the proposers of the Crystal Brook Energy Park, are promising an amount around the median level.

AGL does provide funding, but at a level near the bottom of the listed wind farms. Meridian Energy, it would seem, provide no community funding; several other wind farm operators either provide very little funding or none at all (of course they are not keen on admitting they don't provide financial support for the local communities). The wind farms that have little, an unknown level of community funding, or no funding are listed in Table 2.

While there are many other advantages to a community in hosting a wind farm it seems to me that there should be a mandated minimum level of community funding as well.

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