What do renewables mean for the land owner and the community?
We have been receiving rental payments for my windfarm (which is yet to be built) for more than two years now. I want to simply spell out to you the impact of this for me and for our local community and its economy.
For the two financial years to 30th June 2013 the dollar figures are as follows. I have spent: –
- $ 16,900 in wages to local employees (1 permanent/part-time employee + casuals)
- $ 4,600 on repairs to cottages on my farm (permanently rented to locals)
- $ 8,100 rebuilding the foundations to the shearing shed on my farm
- $ 49,300 replacing and upgrading fences on my farm
- $ 17,500 repairing the roads on my farm
- $ 9,200 in weed control (over and above the permanent wages)
- $ 31,400 on repairs to my house (including external painting, guttering, general upgrading of heating, etc)
- $ 17,100 on repairs to my father’s house (same as above)
- $ 4,600 in donations to charitable causes (both within and outside this area)
$158,700 has been spent in the local economy (YOUR BUSINESSES!!) by me, over and above any day-to-day farming expenses. Despite the repairs listed being way overdue and very badly needed, I would not have had the ability to spend the vast majority of this money without the income I receive from the windfarm rent. It is very important for you to realise that I am only one farmer of three in this windfarm project, and that if the Crookwell 3 windfarm is approved then there will be three more farmers (a total of six!!) with the spending capabilities that I now have!!
The Gullen Range Windfarm is currently under construction. Goldwind estimates more than $12 million has already gone back to the community including $7.25 million in local wages, and $1.8 million in accommodation and meals. Over 70 per cent of the work force on the Gullen Range Wind Farm is local. This is in addition to the long-term benefits that flow through to the economy from the hosts, a huge boost to this area.
The question I ask this forum is this. How much more income would we have generated in this economy if we had been actively campaigning for well-designed windfarms in this area, instead of fighting the emergence of this new technology? How much more income would we have generated by lobbying local, state and federal politicians for some of the components of windfarms to be manufactured here in Goulburn instead of being imported into Australia and trucked through this city to the various windfarms being built? Surely this would be a great way to begin diversifying our economic base and injecting real long-term investment into this area?
Charlie Prell (21/08/2013), sheep farmer and prospective wind farmer from Crookwell, NSW.