Communities in the Southern Tablelands have reaped more than $1 million in Community Enhancement Funding (CEF) from wind farm projects, according to a report by the Australian Wind Alliance (AWA).
Payments to hosts, neighbours and payments to Councils has contributed to this figure, and could increase in correlation with project numbers.
Over the 25-year lifespan of the turbines, the AWA estimates host communities in Australia could earn up to $10.5 billion.
Annually, about $19 million goes into regional communities in Australia, with the figure expected to jump to $32.5 following the construction of 14 additional wind farms.
Crookwell farmer Charlie Prell, who is housing nine turbines on his property as part of the Crookwell 2 project, expects towers to be erected over the next three months.
Three properties are participating in the Crookwell 2 project, with the closest turbine 450m away from Mr Prell’s property.
He looks forward to opening his doors to friends and interested community members in September once the project is complete, citing a decrease in fear surrounding the turbines.
“There was a lot of fear 15-years-ago when the prospect of turbines were floated. At that stage there was only two of us,” Mr Prell said.
“That fear has evaporated a lot. People have seen the reality of turbines, and it is not as scary.”
The benefit sharing model, which allows land owners and neighbours to receive a financial contribution from wind farm operators, is something Mr Prell believes farmers should take greater advantage of.
Over the years, he said farmers have approached him for information on future projects, indicating an interest in this model.
The AWA report stresses sharing benefits equitably and effectively with local communities is crucial.
According to the report, there are 82 operational wind farms in Australia.