Working with the community
UPC/AC Renewables Australia acknowledges the Kamilaroi and Wiradjuri peoples as the traditional owners of the land on which the project is proposed. The name Coolah is derived from their traditional language – meaning Valley of the Winds.
The undulating terrain in the region will allow for wind turbines to be located on ridgelines within cleared land that is currently being used for livestock grazing.
The project will be designed to allow cattle and sheep grazing alongside renewable energy production, helping to drought proof local farming operations and grow the local and regional economy.
Helping to grow the local community
Agriculture is the main industry across the region, including sheep and cattle production and smaller cropping operations. Forestry, mining and tourism also make significant contributions to the regional economy.
Wind and solar generation have recently been identified by energy agencies and Local, State and Federal Governments as potential new industries for the region, helping to power the country, grow rural communities and provide new jobs and economic development.
The project will provide a valuable source of rental income for the local landowners, while allowing the agricultural production to continue on site. It will help diversify landholder income and drought proof rural communities.
Our aim is for the project to become a valuable long-term part of the community and local economy for many years to come, helping to maintain the rural fabric of the region and its people.
Understanding your views
As part of our project application, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be developed. The EIS will be based on detailed site investigations, desktop research and environmental modelling. We will also be working closely with the host landowners, their neighbours and the wider community to help us gain a detailed understanding of the community’s views, issues and feedback on the project.
This includes the local council, their elected representatives, Members of Parliament and State and Federal Government agencies. We will also be meeting with representatives of the traditional indigenous owners of the land to help us understand, manage and protect any cultural heritage areas or items of significance across the project site.
We will be holding a number of community information drop-in sessions, one on one meetings and undertaking letter box drops to help provide information on the project. We will also provide regular online project updates to help promote an open and two-way conversation about the project
Supporting the community
The Valley of the Winds project is expected to create up to 400 jobs during a four year construction period. It is also expected to generate up to 50 ongoing jobs over the operational life of the project.
Wherever possible workers and businesses from the local and regional area will be prioritised for employment and contracting opportunities with the project to help maximise the benefits for local communities.
This could include civil work in areas such as fencing installation, internal access track construction and other site preparation works, electrical works such as assembly of electrical equipment, low, medium and high voltage electrical services, site office establishment and other works such as plumbing and vegetation control.
A significant portion of the income earned by workers during construction will be spent in the region, helping to boost household incomes, indirect employment and the local economy. This affect will continue over the life of the wind farm from activities related to operations and maintenance.
As the development progresses, information sessions will be held for local businesses and residents to find out more about these opportunities.
Community benefit sharing initiative
As the project application is developed, we will ask members of the local community to work with us to help build a Community Benefit Sharing program to support local projects and initiatives.
We will provide ongoing financial assistance for the program to ensure that there is a direct benefit from the wind farm to the local community.
This could include support for local schools, training or education as well as grants or project support for local community or sporting groups.
Click here for more information on renewable energy community benefit sharing programs.
Community partnerships and sponsorships
Throughout the development process, we will explore opportunities to support local events and sporting, community or recreational organisations via a range of community partnerships and sponsorships.