As a case study the history of Hepburn Wind provides some key actions and essential events. It may assist as a checklist for other projects during the various stages of project development.
Main topics covered in this article include:
- Project conception
- HREA membership and initial community engagement
- Planning application
- Co-operative formation
- Capital raising and business planning
- Contract negotiation and community mobilisation
- Turbine construction and power purchasing negotiations
- Grid connection and energy generation
- Beyond compliance and farm management
- More information
- Sept 2004: Daylesford residents attend Windpower community meeting in Dean and are surprised by the local resistance.
- Early 2005: Initial discussions about community wind power by a group of key locals.
- March 2005: Establishment of an informal Hepburn Wind Energy Group
- Mid 2005: Per Bernard is approached by Project Developer Future Energy who has an existing landholder agreement at Leonards Hill and informal collaboration commences
- Sept 2005: Presentation of co-operative wind farm concept to Hepburn Shire Council
- Nov 2005: Hepburn Renewable Energy Association (HREA) established
HREA membership and initial community engagement
- Sept 2005: 55 people attended a public forum in Daylesford Community Hall outlining the project, 95% of surveys completed were in favour of a community wind farm in the shire (46 people completed the survey).
- Nov 2005: Personal visits and newsletter to site neighbours, public forum at Leonard's Hill Hall attended by 17 people.
- Nov 2005: First HREA newsletter, followed by (could hyperlink here)
- April 2006: HREA signs up 200 members from street stalls and attending local events.
- April--Aug 2006: Four bus tours to Challicum Hills wind farm, attended by approximately 130 locals.
- Jan 2006: Positive site assessment by Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Ballarat.
- Apr--Oct 2006: Various essential studies and assessments completed including fauna, noise, flicker, aboriginal archeological, geotechnical and grid connect feasibility.
- Aug 2006: Wind monitoring tour installed at Leonards Hill to collect 12 months of data for rigourous wind analysis by Gerrad Hassan.
- Aug 2006: Sustainability Victoria (SV) approve a grant for just under one million dollars.
- Aug 2006: Landscape and Visual assessment workshops held to consult with a)local Leonard's Hill residents and b) Daylesford community- 34 people attended.
- Nov 2006: Planning application lodged with Hepburn Shire Council.
- Feb 2007: Council approves wind farm permit application, however application lodged by small number of local protestors with Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) to reject permit.
- June 2007: VCAT hearing
- July 2007: VCAT upholds Hepburn Shire Council Planning application decision with requirements to ensure tree screening is offered to neighbours within 3 km radius.
- Dec 2006: Public forum with a steering committee formed and tasked to a)establishing co-op name and rules, b) recruit directors and c) formation meeting preparations.
- Dec 2006- July 2007: Steering group meets on a regular basis to work through rules and plan for co-op formation.
- May 2007: Information sessions held for potential co-op directors promoted through local paper and HREA communications.
- June 2007: Hepburn Community Wind Park (Hepburn Wind) rules lodged with Consumer Affairs Victoria- Registrar of Co-ops.
- July 2007: Formation Meeting for Hepburn Community Wind Park Co-operative.
- July 2007: HREA and Hepburn Wind now identified as two separate legal entities and HRA plan for next AGM and new terms of reference.
- Aug 2007: Incorporation of Hepburn Wind.
Capital raising and business planning
- Feb 2008: Share Register Transfer service established to manage member shares.
- Feb 2008: Hepburn Wind Stall at Sustainable Living Festival registers over 1000 people to receive project and capital raising updates.
- March 2008: Hepburn Wind board pass a resolution for 50% of membership to be local.
- May 2008: First meeting with Bendigo Bank re debt and other project involvement.
- May 2008: SV invoiced for $50,000 for reaching first milestone ensures capacity for independent legal review of offer document and disclosure statement.
- June 2008: Financial model for project signed off by board
- June 2008: Project Management Service Agreement and Project Transfer Agreement signed by Hepburn Wind and Future Energy.
- July 2008: Capital raising launch held at Daylesford Town Hall, followed by weekly street and local community event stalls.
- Aug 2008: Capital raising reaches $1 million (target of approx $8 million).
- Sept 2008: Mail out to 6000 shire members and HREA phone call campaign started.
- Oct 2008: Bus tours to Chalcium Hills recommenced.
- Oct 2008: Share offer extended due to insufficient funds amidst the global financial collapse.
- Nov 2008: Board resolution to continue with project regardless of delayed capital raising. Share offer
- Feb 2009: Project update released with revised financial model to continue to capital raise.
- Feb 2009: Australian Stock Exchange submission to enable existing interstate investor applications.
- March 2009: First Hepburn Wind employee: a part-time Executive Officer to assist the co-op to move forward on membership, capital raising and contract negotiation.
- April 2009: Inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM) for recently approved 640 Victorian Applicants.
Contract negotiation and community mobilisation
- May 2009: Wind Turbine manufacturer engagement increases and focusses on machines probable for site.
- May 2009: REpower site visit to discuss specifications and contract discussions begin.
- May 2009: Increased discussion with numerous energy retailers for a Power Procurement Agreement (PPA).
- June 2009: Call to members to increase their investment to 'get over the line'.
- June 2009: Meetings with Powercor and HW's contracted systems engineer to plan for grid connection.
- June 2009: REpower site visit regarding civil works and access roads, contract specifics continue to be negotiated.
- July 2009: Indicative letter from Bendigo Bank for debt facility.
- July 2009: Locals share campaign launched to enable locals to become share members with 100 minimum shares (rather than 1000), to enable access and equity for all community.
- Aug 2009: Hepburn Wind directors meet with Canberra labor government advisors in the aim to increase government grant funding.
- Oct 2009: Hepburn Wind representatives attend a Waubra wind farm meeting to demonstrate community model.
- Oct 2009: International Day of Climate Action is recognised with hundreds of locals attending events in Daylesford facilitated by HREA, Hepburn Wind and the Hepburn Relocalisation Group.
- Nov 2009: Hepburn Wind accepts it's 1000 member.
- Nov 2009: Run for a Safe Climate attend a reception at Leonard's Hill Fire Brigade Hall.
- Dec 2009: Order placed for two turbines with REpower AG, with 2.05 MW capacity.
- Dec 2009: Hepburn Wind enters float in Daylesford New Years Eve parade.
- Feb 2010: Independent review of grid connection technical solution completed.
- April 2010*: Contract for full Engineering, Procurement and Construction by REpower AG. is signed and announced at the AGM.
- April 2010: New Share offer and disclosure statement is also launched at the AGM for ongoing capital raising.
- May 2010: Landholder agreement and other contract rights is transfered to the Leonards Hill Wind Farm PTY Ltd.
- June 2010: Hepburn Wind employment increases with the appointment of two new part-time positions.
- June 2010: Geoff Howard announces labor's Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RDIF) approves a grant of $750,000 to assist in the grid connection support for the wind farm.
- Sept 2010: Pitt&sherry engaged for additional project management during construction phase.
Turbine construction and power purchasing negotiations
- Oct 2010: Ground breaking ceremony is attended by government members, locals and sees the launch of Embark.
- Nov 2010: Local supporting power lines are upgraded in preparation for grid connection at Hepburn Wind's expense.
- Nov 2010: Civil works commences including access roads, crane hardstands and drainage on the Leonards Hill site.
- Nov 2010: Noise monitoring equipment is positioned at 6 local sites.
- Dec 2010: Nacelle and Blades are loaded at Bremen, Germany onto SE Panthea and are enroute for Melbourne Port.
- Feb 2011: First concrete is poured for turbine foundations.
- Feb 2011: Hepburn Wind and Repower inspect towers at construction site in Portland.
- March 2011: Turbines and Nacelle arrive at Melbourne Docks.
- March 2011: Hard hat tour provided for locals.
- March 2011: Turbine raising party attended by approximately 500 locals.
Grid connection and energy generation
- March 2011: Announcement of power purchase agreement with Red Energy that includes a community fund contribution for every customer that Hepburn Wind signs up with Red Energy.
- May 2011: Wind farm is connected to the local grid.
- June 2011: Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) registration approved.
- June 2011: Hepburn Wind starts to generate electricity at a restricted level up to 2.6 megawatts.
- June 2011: Hepburn Wind wins the Premier's Sustainability Award in the Community Category.
- July 2011: Keys are handed over by REpower AG at practical completion of the project.
- August 2011: Hepburn Wind wins the Banksia Award in Harmonious Manmade Landscape category.
Beyond compliance and farm management
- Oct 2011: Final report presented to Sustainability Victoria including project key learnings.
- Nov 2011: AGM and turbine launch also sees $15,000 of community funding announced. Over 700 people attend the event at the turbine site with entertainment and tower tours.
- Dec 2011: Post construction noise assessment report completed by Marshall Day.
- Dec 2011: Winners of the Australian Sustainability Awards in the infrastructure category.
- Jan 2012: The board and CEO continue to work with Leonard's Hill neighbours and locals to offer landscape screening and shares.
- Feb 2012: Hepburn Wind is included in an Australia Stamp collection for International Year of the Co-operative.
- June 2012: Hepburn Wind wins the World Wind Energy Award for best global wind project in Bonn, Germany.