On the occasion of the 11th World Wind Energy Conference 2012 in Bonn, Germany, the Board of the World Wind Energy Association has decided to give the World Wind Energy Award 2012 to the Hepburn Community Wind Farm in Victoria/Australia and its initiators.
The WWEA Board wants to recognise the Hepburn Community Wind Farm’s contribution to the introduction of community wind power on a large scale. The award is given to the initiators of the wind farm for launching Australia's first and groundbreaking community initiative that led to a 4.1 MW community owned wind farm, an excellent answer in particular in order to increase social understanding and acceptance of wind power.
Seen from outside of Australia, the project may appear small. However, the Hepburn Community Wind Farm stands for a social movement outside the strong fossil lobby in Australia, aiming at a fundamental energy transformation that is driven by Australia’s citizens. As the first initiative for a community wind farm on the Australian continent being started in 2004/2005, the time when WWEA held its WWEC in Melbourne, the wind farm has become an example and important reference project in Australia and has inspired many similar initiatives around Australia and beyond.
WWEA appreciates in particular that other communities and initiatives in Australia are now using the ‘Hepburn Model’ in order to develop their own community power projects, and WWEA hopes and expects that many of these initiatives will materialize in the future. The establishment of the interlinked community power assistance centre Embark adds materially to the ongoing impact of the groundbreaking Hepburn project.
WWEA would like to express its willingness to work closely with the Australian wind and in particular the community wind sector and to extend its full support and cooperation in fostering the transformation of Australia towards 100 % renewable energy and a strengthened understanding of the importance of sustainability.
Taking into consideration the important role that Australia plays in the international energy sector, such achievements and ambitions have also far-reaching international implications and will contribute to speeding up the global energy transformation.
With the award, WWEA would also like to encourage the government of Victoria and Australia as well as governments around the world to support communities in their efforts to harvest clean and inexhaustible wind power, for their own benefit and for the benefit of our planet.
To check the previous World Wind Energy Winners, click here