Dear Hepburn Wind supporter,
Right from the start we hoped that Hepburn Wind would catalyse an Australian community energy movement.
Now across Australia, local communities, like ours, are working hard to set up community-owned renewable energy projects to power their towns and buildings. And good progress is being made — the Denmark Community Windfarm (Denmark, WA that is!) was completed in January and it’s only a matter of time before the country’s first community solar farm is pumping emissions free electrons into the grid.
But, like our project (and in fact any new sector of the economy), community energy projects require assistance during the early stages.
Along with Community Power Agency, Embark, Yes2Renewables and dozens of like-minded organisations, we have signed on to the Coalition for Community Energy. Together we are calling on the federal government to establish a $50 million grant program to support the development stage of community renewable energy projects.
Without prompting, the most common description we hear of our wind turbines is ‘majestic’. Some have told us that they see them as large kinetic art sculptures. We’re proud to have taken it up a notch…
In February, we worked with Melbourne-based artist Ghostpatrol to leave a lasting mark on Gale (the turbine formerly known as T1). Donating his time for this unique and challenging opportunity, he camped with a small team under the turbines for a week, waking up early to paint before the winds picked up.
Ghostpatrol’s work culminated on Sunday 10 February when many of the Hepburn Wind Community ignored strong winds to share cupcakes, tea and coffee under the turbines, and watch Ghostpatrol at work as part of the statewide Sustainable Living Festival. The mural, by the legendary artist is set to become one of 2013’s most notable public artworks.
(We may also have scored another ‘first’ by powering the espresso machine directly from an operating turbine. Talk about ethical coffee!)
We also wish to acknowledge Red Energy, Hempel Paints and Embark for their generous sponsorship of our artwork – and of course thank Ghostpatrol and his team for their most generous contribution to our project.
These are Ghostpatrol’s reflections on the launch of the video yesterday:
I’m super proud to have been part of this amazing project.
I assembled my team, dived into my research and undertook some serious risk assessment, feeling very lucky to have been trusted to paint such an amazing structure. We pitched our tents under the giant blades and got down to work. The whole process was super humbling. The community of Daylesford and Hepburn welcomed us and showed us the strength of spirit and passion required to make a difference in the world and confront the serious issues of energy and our responsibility to the environment.
::super thanks to: Scottie, Andre, Bernie, Taryn, Simon, Tracy and Arved
::photo and video production: Bernard Winter