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PROPOSED COMMUNITY-DRIVEN FUND FOR MOYNE

Moyne Region Wind Farm Community Fund 

RE-Alliance is collaborating with Moyne wind farms and residents to establish a new community Fund for the Moyne Shire. 

A new Moyne region community Fund will maximise the social benefits to locals from wind farm developments through the establishment of a community-driven fund that can seek and allocate resources to more ambitious community-driven projects in the Moyne Shire.

The Fund is an opportunity to benefit the region by resourcing projects that enhance environmental, social, education, or health in the community.

If you want to discuss the Fund, you can get in touch with our Victorian Coordinator, Tony Goodfellow at [email protected]

RATIONALE

Moyne Shire currently hosts four wind farms with local wind farm community funds in operation. A further five projects are in or nearing construction and another three projects are in earlier stages of development. 

Existing local wind farm community funds contribute over $150,000 in community programs each year. 

This could rise to nearly $700,000 per annum by 2030 if current development plans proceed, which would see the total pool of funding exceed $20 million over the 25-year lives of these projects.

Having so many local community funds in the same region presents an opportunity for them to work together more effectively to target more ambitious local community programs.

If adopted, a Moyne Fund controlled by local residents would allow local wind Fund committees to resource more ambitious local projects if they choose to do so. 

The idea for the fund came from the Moyne community. RE-Alliance have been developing the model for the fund as part of our broader work to see renewable energy development benefit regional communities. We’re now asking for feedback on our model to make sure it’s the right fit.

Why link wind farm contributions across Moyne?

  1. A strategic approach to funding projects
    An overarching fund that links wind industry profits earmarked for community development can prioritise projects and services that deliver bigger impacts in improving the lives of people across Moyne. It could target longer-term community projects and work towards them in a strategic way.
  2. Leverage extra $ through other funding sources
    Combined community funds could be used as seed funding for organisations to secure larger government and philanthropic grants or to secure loans against guaranteed income streams.
  3. Uptake of local community funds over time
    Local wind farm community Funds financially support volunteer and community organisations in the region with small, targeted grant programs. Experience in other wind regions suggests that over time there may be less uptake of local funds in these small communities as options for small community grants are exhausted. A region-wide Fund provides an option for these “leftover” funds to be pooled, with the agreement of the local fund committee. This way the non-locally-allocated funds can be used for future long term projects. 
  4. Efficiency - working together gets better results
    The fund would allow small local groups to apply for grants for longer-term projects. It would also enable multiple groups in a similar area, e.g Mortlake, to work together to deliver projects.

DRAFT MODEL

RE-Alliance is consulting with the Moyne community on the nature and structure of the fund presently. The below information is a summary based on the draft charter developed by RE-Alliance, which sets out how decisions would be made if the fund is to proceed. 

The proposed Fund will work alongside existing local wind farm community Funds, such as those operated by Macarthur, Salt Creek and Dundonnell Wind Farms. The Fund committee will develop a 3 - 5 year strategic plan that identifies significant opportunities to support the local community. 

Local wind farm operators and community fund committees will make decisions about the amount of money, if any, they would like to contribute to the strategic fund or a project listed in the strategic plan. No changes to existing local wind farm funds have been proposed. 

The Fund will be administered by a trusted third party such as Bendigo Bank who will manage all the legal compliance and governance aspects of the Fund.

Initially, the fund will be relatively small, but could grow over time as more wind projects join the region, and if more philanthropic or government stakeholders decide to support the project.

Who would decide where the money goes?

In our draft model, only local residents from wind farm communities in Moyne will have voting rights on the Fund.

A committee will be formed to run the Fund. Voting members will be made up of community representatives of local existing wind farm community fund committees with additional voting positions for community members. It is proposed that Moyne Shire Council and wind farm operators would hold non-voting advisory seats on the committee to bring strategic insight to the Fund‘s planning. 

Voting members: 

  • Wind Farm Community Representatives: one person from each community with a participating wind farm project. Representatives are chosen by their respective Community Enhancement Fund committees and wind farm companies. If a wind farm does not have a CEF the community representative is chosen by the company. 
  • Community Leadersbetween one and three community members, recognised in the community for their leadership qualities and chosen by a vote of Wind Farm Community Representatives. 

Non-voting, advisory members:

  • Moyne Shire Councillor (Mayor or delegate)
  • Moyne Shire Council CEO
  • Each participating wind farm
  • Fund Executive Officer

Funding sources

As the wind industry grows in the Moyne region, so would the fund. It is anticipated that the Fund would start small and quickly grow. Funding sources would include:

  • Community development funding from new wind farms 
  • Existing or future local Community Enhancement Funds across the region, where they opt-in to support strategic projects identified by the Fund
  • Additional funding will be pursued from:
    • Corporate and private philanthropy
    • Local, state and federal government grants
  • Wind energy companies are encouraged to make additional contributions to support the local region

Next Steps

RE-Alliance will lead further community consultation on the Draft Charter and look to finalise the Fund design with the community  in the second half of 2021. RE-Alliance will play no decision-making role in the allocation of funding or seek to be a beneficiary of any funding.

Who is RE-Alliance?

The Renewable Energy Alliance (RE-Alliance) is a not-for-profit organisation that supports local communities to get the best out of the transition to renewable energy including local jobs, grant programs, co-ownership and profit-sharing arrangements. 

You can find the RE-Alliance constitution here. Our independence is a fundamental principle that underpins the strength of our voice in the public discussion around renewable energy. Donors towards our work sign an agreement, relinquishing rights to direct our work in any way. Our current financial records are available at the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission.

If you want to discuss the Fund, you can get in touch with RE-Alliance Victorian Coordinator, Tony Goodfellow at [email protected]

 



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