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Clean Energy Open Day inspires community participation

On Sunday 27 October 2019, 15 renewable energy projects opened their gates to their local communities and city slickers alike for the first Clean Energy Open Day. Visitors across five states were greeted in most cases by classic community sausage sizzles and technical boffins from the projects, who explained the kilo-watts, the hows and the whys of wind and solar power.

Overall, more than 2000 of renewable energy’s biggest fans attended events around the country.

The Australian Wind Alliance supported four events at wind farms in Victoria, Tasmania and NSW, handing out apples and bumper stickers.

We really want to say a big thank you and congratulations to the projects which supported the day. It was a fabulous opportunity for the industry to grow public support and show that it is transparent and approachable.

Save the date for next year’s Clean Energy Open Day, which will be held on Sunday 25 October 2020.

Here are some snaps from the day.

Queensland

This delightful gentleman took the tour of Edify’s four solar farms in the Whitsunday Region: Hamilton, Whitsunday, Daydream and Hayman. The look on his face says it all.

Edify energy open day
Image credit - Edify

New South Wales

Woodlawn Wind Farm hosted its eighth Run with the Wind event, with over 500 participants running or walking a 5 or 10 km loop amongst the 23 turbines. It was a perfect day to be out and about.

Infigen run with the wind 2019
Image credit - Infigen

Dubbo Solar Hub was popular with locals who drive past the 90,000-panel site every day and were curious to find out how the futuristic black field contributed to the town’s energy mix.

Neoen solar hub 2019
Image cradi - Neoen

Broken Hill Solar Plant was visited by local families keen to learn more about the solar farm.

“The open day gave AGL a great opportunity to meet with local community members and talk about what the future of renewable energy looks like. We were able to share how the solar plant is contributing to the grid and explain some of the science behind the solar plant,” said Community Relations Manager Mieka White.

“It was a great opportunity to have some good conversations with the locals about not only our renewable energy assets in the region but also about our commitment to supporting the communities which we operate in.”

Agl open day 2019

Tasmania

Studland Bay Wind Farm was well attended. Event partner the Australian Wind Alliance supported the event and with healthy snacks on hand for visitors.

AWA open day 2019
Image credit - Andrew Bray, Australia Wind Alliance

Victoria

Moorabool Wind Farm was a well-attended event, with visitors given the opportunity to step inside a turbine. Kids were also allowed to try on a wind turbine technician’s workwear to get a feel for the job. How good is this champ in his helmet and harness?

Moorabool open day 2019
Image credits - Julie Claire and Kane Thornton

Acciona’s Waubra Wind Farm turned 10 this year. Farmer Kerryn Gallagher and her husband Lawrence say the best part about the extra income from hosting turbines has been passing on their farm to the next generation. Their three sons have now taken over the family farming operations, harvesting traditional crops and livestock as well as farming the wind.

The wind farm also helps the wider community through its community benefits fund. “The Community Benefit Fund is run by the community and has provided grants for everything from fire brigades and schools to the local footy team and other sporting clubs. Gone are the days when you need to run a cake stall or a lamington drive to fund something simple,” she said.

“Acciona has been the first to put up their hand for families in need, and they run a scholarship for a Year 12 student to move forward with their career as well.”

Clean Energy Open Day lets visitors get up close to the wind farm’s operational turbines on a bus tour around the rolling green and gold fields worked by the Gallaghers.

Full list of projects that opened on the day:

Project name
OwnerState
Oakey Solar Farm
Foresight Group and Canadian Solar
QLD
Hamilton, Daydream, Hayman and Whitsunday Solar Farms Edify Energy QLD
Broken Hill Solar PlantAGLNSW
Dubbo Solar HubNEOENNSW
Gullen Range Wind and Solar FarmBJCE Australia NSW
Woodlawn Wind Farm InfigenNSW
Willogoleche Wind FarmEngieSA
Studland Bay Wind FarmWoolnoth WindTAS
Moorabool Wind FarmGoldwindVIC
Stockyard Hill Wind FarmGoldwindVIC
Swan Hill Solar FarmImpact Investment GroupVIC
Waubra Wind FarmAccionaVIC