Everyone loves a good news story…
I’m pleased to inform you that the Fremantle Community Wind Farm group has met its crowdfunding target to produce a series of educational films about its vision of a community-owned wind farm at the Port of Fremantle. The ease by which the group attracted funds is a good sign for the proposal. It will be a big morale booster for the local community members as they set out to follow in the footsteps of the Hepburn Wind and Denmark Community Wind Farm projects. The following post is by Jamie Ally, a leading member of the Fremantle Community Wind Farm group:
The Fremantle Wind Farm is a project proposed for Fremantle Port, consisting of eight to 12 turbines placed around the outer harbour. The City of Fremantle is notoriously windy, and with an eight-turbine design the wind farm would generate enough energy to power over 3000 homes. It will be community-owned so that profits remain within the community and a percentage of profits will be returned to community projects with compatible objectives.
The project is not new. It was first developed to the point of Planning Approval by Pacific Hydro a decade ago so the quality of the wind resource is well-established with years of wind data. However, the project did not proceed at that time because the previous development team was unable to reach an agreement with the Fremantle Port Authority for land access.
The difference now is in the economics. Electricity prices have increased, and the costs of wind technology have decreased. Currently the project stacks up without any need for State government support, and is projected to provide strong infrastructure-level returns to community investors.
The Port of Fremantle is uniquely suited to a wind power project. Planning approvals are simplified because the Port is an active industrial area with existing structures of comparable height (cranes), and an ambient noise profile which already exceeds that of a wind farm. The locations proposed for the turbines are exposed to strong unobstructed winds from the South West, “the Fremantle Doctor”. In addition the project is situated on the ‘front-lawn’ of the State, presenting great iconic and promotional value.
From a heritage point of view, a wind energy project would continue Fremantle’s association with wind power from its earliest days of visiting sailing ships to today’s yachting events.
Detailed energy production models have been created based on over eight years of high-quality wind measurements recorded at the site. Development Approvals were granted by the City of Fremantle and the WA Planning Commission, but will need to be re-submitted once the project secures land access at the Port.
The barrier to the project going ahead is the Fremantle Port Authority. The project cannot proceed without an agreement to lease at least eight small circles of land, and the FPA is currently not willing to provide this land to the wind farm. While the FPA have not provided any details of the reason for the decision not to lease the land required for the project, it is understood that there is a fear of public backlash due to the recent successes of the anti-wind lobby.
The mission of the Fremantle Wind Farm team is now to prove that there is a community support. You can help with this by:
- Pledging to the crowdfunding campaign before October 26. As well as demonstrating strong support for the project, proceeds from this campaign will be used to produce a series of short, myth-busting videos to help dispel the claims of the anti-wind lobby as well as highlight the benefits of having local, renewable, community owned energy.
- Attend an upcoming event and show support in numbers. Check the Facebook page and website for details.
- Help get the word out. There are still many people who have not yet heard of the project. The team are more than happy to talk at events. Or simply share the wind farm links with your friends.
- Write to politicians such as the Premier, the Energy Minister or the Transport Minister explaining your support for the project.