WIND farms planned in Boorowa, Rugby, Yass, Crookwell, Taralga and Collector, along with an expansion of Capital Wind Farm and a solar demonstration plant near Bungendore, will firmly establish the Southern Tablelands as a major renewable energy hub and generate jobs for locals, says the Clean Energy Council.
Policy Director Russell Marsh said regional projects like wind farms can make a huge difference to the prosperity of rural areas, while not taking up valuable farming country.
“It’s estimated that wind energy in NSW will create close to 4000 direct jobs and invest more than $6 billion back into the rural economy with a large chunk of that going to the Southern Tablelands,” Mr Marsh said.
Taralga resident Andrew McDade is one local already seeing the benefits of the growing renewable sector in his job on Capital Wind Farm.
“We moved into the area close to 10 years ago. I used to travel to Sydney for work, a two-and-a-half hour drive, and stay up there away from my wife and kids,” he said.
“There wasn’t a lot of stable work in my field in this region, for the skills and qualifications that I have.
“I started to hear about wind turbines possibly coming to our area. I figured I might need to upskill to get a reasonable wage, closer to home.
“My employer was happy for me to do an electrician’s apprenticeship, which I did over the four years needed to complete it. An extension to the Capital wind farm called the Woodlawn wind farm meant more positions came up, and I was lucky to get in.
“I’m now home full time. My family seems a lot more happy and stable now that I‘m home everyday.”
“I see the wind farms as an opportunity for locals to grab. “The opportunities are few and far between in rural areas, and this is a great one.
“The money is good and you don’t necessarily need the qualifications to get a start. I work alongside a shearer, a butcher, a welder, car mechanics and a helicopter mechanic as well as electricians and fitters.”
Mr McDade said he gets asked a lot of questions about the wind farm.
“I suffer no ill effects from being in and around the turbines, and sleep very well at night after a hard day’s work. My life has changed for the better. All in all it’s a great environment to work in and I’m so happy to have found this job.”