Energy firm Neoen has given out $160,000 to 39 projects in the Northern Areas Council through the Hornsdale Wind Farm Community Fund.
Local volunteer based community groups were in attendance at the presentations held at the Northern Areas Council Chambers, with the funding serving as a significant co-contribution toward a combined total of just over $530,000 of costs across the 39 projects.
For the first time, the fund was split across two rounds, with one round of $80,000 allocated for general projects, whilst a further round of $80,000 was made available via the innovative Energy Efficiency round.
The concept of the Energy Efficiency Fund was developed in partnership by Neoen and the Northern Areas Council, with a view to assisting not for profit, volunteer community groups to undertake projects to reduce the rising costs of energy.
Northern Areas Council chief executive officer Colin Byles said this fund was a positive for the community.
“The advantage of the Energy Efficiency Fund, is that through installing energy efficiency items, such as solar panels as many of these groups will be doing, it not only saves the groups money in the first year, but it saves money year on year,” Mr Byles said.
“Many volunteer groups have felt the pinch with the increase in power bills over recent years, so if they are able to save a major portion of that cost each year, it means they can put the savings toward other key projects.”
“The groups funded in this year’s round currently have a combined annual energy bill of almost $70,000. They’re anticipating significant annual savings from this year’s projects, which will make a major difference in the community over the long term. It’s a real win - win situation”.
In addition to the 12 energy efficiency projects, the general fund saw an additional 27 projects funded from across the council area.
This includes projects such as assistance toward community events, to improvements to town halls and community buildings, upgrades to sporting infrastructure, though to community wellbeing initiatives such as the newly established Mid North Suicide Prevention Network.
The fund will continue for life of the Hornsdale Wind Farm, with the 2019 rounds to be again split across two separate rounds, for both general and energy efficient projects.