Pacific Hydro’s Wind Farm Open Day in Portland marks announcement of $223,000 funding for projects in Victoria’s Great South West

30 October 2018

We’re getting it done with water, wind and sun.

On Sunday, 21 October in Portland, Pacific Hydro hosted a community event packed with presentations and activities as part of the Clean Energy Council’s National Wind Farm Open Day.

The event, held at Picnic Hill Memorial Reserve in Portland, marked formal presentations of $110,000 to Portland District Health (PDH) for their rooftop solar project, and $113,000 to this year’s grant recipients of the Great South West Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF).

The event also welcomed, the State Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, who spoke briefly about the environment, community and employment benefits of renewable energy projects in Victoria.

Australian Wind Alliance National Coordinator Andrew Bray was in attendance and said with more than 80 operational wind farms across the country, and more scheduled, wind energy continues to provide significant financial and social benefits to regional communities.

“Our research shows between $19 million and $21.5 million goes directly into local communities every year through payments to host landholders and wind farm Community Investment Programs, strengthening the social and economic health of regional Australia,” Mr Bray said.

WFOD group photo

Portland District Health

Pacific Hydro reached out to PDH in response to a front page news item last year, which spoke of spiralling energy costs and pledged $40,000 towards rooftop solar equipment.

Following this, Pacific Hydro empowered the local community to decide (by majority vote) whether to use a portion of the Portland SCF ($140,000) to expand the PDH initiative. This resulted in a decision to contribute an additional $70,000 (50% of the Portland SCF) to the project.

The donation will save the hospital an estimated $84,000 per year in energy costs, which will be re-directed to the services PDH provides to the broader community.

Community Investment Program – Great South West Sustainable Communities Fund

Pacific Hydro is pleased to announce that the Great South West Sustainable Communities Fund, totalling $113,000, will be supporting 22 projects for the 2018-2019 funding period.

Eligible groups applied for project funding up to $10,000, with applications accepted across five funding areas – education and training, health and welfare, sport and recreation, the arts and culture, and the environment.

Krista Kim, Engagement and External Affairs Manager at Pacific Hydro, said that the company is proud of how far its Community Investment Program has come.

“Since its inception in 2015, Pacific Hydro has funded more than 700 projects totalling $3.15 million,” she said.

“This year alone we are funding over $470,000 worth of projects. From facility upgrades to community gardens to renewable energy projects like solar panels, Pacific Hydro is proud to give back to the community-identified projects and organisations that benefit the people who neighbour our wind farms.”

At its core, Pacific Hydro’s Community Investment Program aims to benefit as many people as possible through empowering local residents to identify the initiatives and projects Pacific Hydro should support.

“Many organisations have shared feedback with us stating that without Pacific Hydro’s help projects would not move forward, which strengthens the importance of a program such as this,” she added.

“Giving back to communities that host our clean energy projects is inherent to our business – it’s part of our culture and encourages sustainability.”

In 2018, a total of fourteen projects from Portland will receive funding from the $70,000 pool and a total of eight projects from Codrington and Yambuk areas will receive funding from the $43,000 pool.

The Dhauwurd Wurrung Elderly & Community Health Service – Koori Youth Group will receive funding to allow for the purchase of plants, sporting equipment and indigenous art works for educational purposes.

Portland Community Garden will receive funding in order to purchase of materials to protect its heritage orchard from swamp hens

Safety is paramount at Portland Yacht Club and the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association – VF17 Portland Flotilla. Both organisations will be receiving funding to purchase devices such as night vision goggles, line throwers and a safety boat for on water instruction to small craft sailors.

St. Helens Rural Fire Brigade will also be receiving funding for safety equipment – a slip on firefighting unit.

When community organisations such as the above have the right gear, they will be better prepared to protect the broader community.

All eligible applications were reviewed by a fair and transparent panel process, which included members of the community and the local council.

- ends –

For interviews or enquiries about the event and presentations, please contact: Martine Holberton, Communications and Engagement Advisor, on 1800 730 734 or enquiries@pacifichydro.com.au

Wind Farm Open Day facts:

Highlights:

  • Free Sausage Sizzle and coffee
  • Bush tucker tours and native flora available for purchase from Seawinds Nursery
  • VR experience of inside a wind turbine by Senvion
  • Solar display by Keppel Prince
  • Activities for the kids – including: model wind turbine building, a colouring competition, and learning how we harvest electricity from the wind

Pacific Hydro would like to warmly thank the following community organisations who helped make the event possible:

  • Portland Rotary
  • Portland Bay Rotary
  • Southwest Environment Alliance
  • Friends of Cape Nelson Landcare
  • Seawinds Nursery
  • Portland Community Garden
  • Glenelg Shire Council
  • Portland Field Naturalists
  • Senvion
  • Keppel Prince