FINAL REPORT

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM FEASIBILITY STUDY
AUGUST 2011

FEASIBILITY STUDY

1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The purpose of the New England Tablelands Community Wind Farm Study was to assess and determine the feasibility of a community co-operative based wind farm in the New England Tablelands. The Study was branded as 'New England Wind' to simplify public communications while highlighting both the technology and region under consideration. The clear message from the overwhelming majority of community and key stakeholders was 'go for it'!

“It is a great initiative and I hope it happens sooner rather than later.”
A set of design principles for a successful community wind farm have been developed ~ addressing governance issues, turbine siting, operational management and scale. These principles reflect the collective views of more than 1,300 people and organisations directly involved in the Study, providing a substantial evidence base for the findings and recommendations. The Study recommends a hybrid dual entity legal structure to provide the strongest, most feasible fit with the community's views. A range of different governance models were considered. The recommended hybrid structure would combine a co-operative and an unlisted public company to attract maximum local participation, investment and support. It would balance strong community governance through the co-operative while providing a vehicle for commercial partnerships and larger investors through the unlisted public company which would manage the wind farm operations. It is recommended that an eight turbine wind farm be established, requiring $30m in capital. This would produce sufficient electricity for 25,000 people and 9,000 dwellings ~ close to half the residential load of the New England Tablelands. An ambitious goal was found to be a key ingredient for the feasibility of the community wind farm. Too small a goal risks being seen as tokenistic and lacking sufficient scale to make a meaningful difference. In this way the proposed scale and structure is intended to strike a pragmatic balance between proving the capacity and support of the region to deliver a substantial wind farm project and the strong desire, expressed consistently by hundreds of stakeholders

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 2 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
and community members, for the long-term goal of full regional energy self-sufficiency.

“One community-owned wind farm will only produce a small proportion of the electricity needed, but it is a start. In due course we should aim to have 100% renewable energy generated within the region, preferably from a number of different sources...”
There are several key elements to justifying this bold vision ~ the advantages of being a designated Renewable Energy Precinct, availability of a quality wind resource, and a large pipeline of approved and proposed commercial wind farm developments ~ which together provide a momentum which New England Wind can 'slip-stream'. Furthermore, the New England has already invested some $10-13m in micro-generation with solar PV and wind in the last three years alone, demonstrating real willingness to invest and shift to sustainable energy. This existing investment is of similar magnitude to that required for the proposed community wind farm ~ with the required $30m to be one-third from each of local community investors, larger investors and borrowings.

Illustration 1: Solar trackers & micro-wind, Kyabra

A New England Tablelands community wind farm provides a compelling opportunity to significantly advance energy self-sufficiency, leverage community, investor and public funds, deliver substantial and measurable benefits including enhancing community understanding and support for clean, renewable energy.

“Can we please get started as soon as possible?”
In this way a community wind farm would also benefit commercial wind development ~ through building community understanding, support and participation towards the need for a large-scale uptake of renewable energy ~ which are key to successfully meeting the NSW Government mandatory renewable energy target for electricity of 20% by 2020.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 3 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY TABLE
OF

CONTENTS
6.2Replicability of Hepburn Wind....................................................58 6.3Recommended Option..................................................................59
6.3.1New England Energy........................................................................... 59 6.3.2New England Wind............................................................................... 62 6.3.3Capital Structure.................................................................................... 63 6.3.4Common Principles............................................................................... 64

1Executive Summary.........................................................2 6Recommendations........................................................57 6.1Feasible Options..................................................................................57 2Background..........................................................................7
2.1Renewable Energy Development..............................................7 2.2About the New England Tablelands.........................................8 2.3Community Renewable Energy...................................................9 2.4New England Community Energy Initiatives......................10 2.5Scope of Study.....................................................................................10 2.6Funding......................................................................................................11

3Research Methodology.............................................12
3.1Steering Group.....................................................................................13 3.2Survey.........................................................................................................13 3.3Planning Forums...................................................................................14 3.4Research Streams...............................................................................15
3.4.1Defining “Community”.......................................................................15 3.4.2Case Studies & Models....................................................................... 15 3.4.3DECCW Community Attitudes Research................................16 3.4.4Prospective Sites..................................................................................... 16 3.4.5Legal and Governance Structures.............................................16 3.4.6Government Legislation, Policy & Programs..........................16 3.4.7Technical Partnerships & Issues......................................................17 3.4.8Challenges & Risks................................................................................. 17 3.4.9Investment & Investor Profiling........................................................17

6.4Local Government.............................................................................64 6.5Identifying “Community”...............................................................64

7Conditions to Initiate New England Wind......65
7.1Steering Group & Secretariat......................................................65 7.2Seed Funding........................................................................................65 7.3NSW Government Support............................................................66 7.4Consolidate & Extend Technical & Professional Partnerships...................................................................................................67 7.5Strengthen Community Involvement & Support..............67
7.5.1Community Benefits Plan..................................................................67 7.5.2Social Marketing Campaign ~ Knowledge & Understanding.................................................................................................... 68 7.5.3Wind Farm Study Tours........................................................................ 69

7.6Legal Formation & Fund Raising................................................69
7.6.1Sweat Capital & In-Kind Contributions.....................................70

4Results.....................................................................................18
4.1Steering Group.....................................................................................18 4.2Survey.........................................................................................................23 4.3Planning Forums...................................................................................27 4.4Defining “Community”....................................................................29 4.5Case Studies & Models....................................................................29 4.6DECCW Community Attitudes Research ...........................31 4.7Prospective Sites..................................................................................31 4.8Legal and Governance Structures..........................................32
4.8.1NSW Co-operative................................................................................ 33 4.8.2Unlisted Public Company.................................................................34 4.8.3Hybrid............................................................................................................ 34

7.7Site Short Listing & Feasibility.........................................................70 7.8Prospectus...............................................................................................70

8Advice for Other Communities.............................71
8.1Planning....................................................................................................71 8.2Participation...........................................................................................71 8.3People & Partnerships.......................................................................72 8.4Pragmatism.............................................................................................73 8.5Paradigms & Perceptions...............................................................73 8.6Pay...............................................................................................................74

4.9Government Legislation, Policy & Programs......................35
4.9.1Financial Support................................................................................... 35 4.9.2Planning Requirements....................................................................... 36 4.9.3New England Local Government................................................37

9Acknowledgements.....................................................75 10About Starfish Enterprises........................................76 11Appendices.....................................................................77
11.1Appendix 1 ~ Attachments.......................................................77 11.2Appendix 2 ~ Community Renewable Energy Research Report, Community Power Agency........................77 11.3Appendix 3 ~ Survey Findings..................................................77 11.4Appendix 4 ~ Planning Forum Presentation: Glen Innes Community Forum.......................................................................77 11.5Appendix 5 ~ Participatory Planning Forums Analysis ..............................................................................................................................77 11.6Appendix 6 ~ Governance Models Options Analysis ..............................................................................................................................77 11.7Appendix 7 ~ Co-operative Structures, Environmental Defender’s Office (Northern Rivers)...............................................77 11.8Appendix 8 ~ Hybrid Legal Structures, Wilson & Co Lawyers............................................................................................................77 11.9Appendix 9 ~ Hepburn Wind Investor Profile, Nicky Ison.....................................................................................................................77

4.10Technical & Other Partnerships................................................38
4.10.1Commercial & Technical Partnerships....................................38 4.10.2Local Government............................................................................. 39 4.10.3Funding Body ~ New England Renewable Energy Precinct, DECCW............................................................................................. 40

4.11Challenges & Risks............................................................................41 4.12Investment & Investor Profiling..................................................46
4.12.1Investor Forum....................................................................................... 47 4.12.2Comparison with Hepburn Wind...............................................48 4.12.3Professional Investors......................................................................... 50 4.12.4Fund Raising Research..................................................................... 50

5Design Principles.............................................................52
5.1.1Governance & Ownership................................................................ 52 5.1.2Wind Farm Operations........................................................................ 54 5.1.3Community Benefits, Knowledge & Understanding..........55

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 4 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY ILLUSTRATION INDEX
Illustration 1: Solar trackers & micro-wind, Kyabra...........3 Illustration 2: Global installed wind power capacity, Global Wind Energy Council.........................................................6 Illustration 3: New England Tablelands BioRegion, NSW Government Office of Environment & Heritage...............7 Illustration 4: Public Launch of New England Wind Study, New England Wind Consortium.................................12 Illustration 5: Welcome page ~ Qualtrics online survey, courtesy University of New England.......................................13 Illustration 6: Survey Working Group (Left to Right):......18 Illustration 7: SLA website promotion......................................19 Illustration 8: Word Analysis ~ The first thing that comes to mind when you think about wind farms in the New England..................................................................................................... 20 Illustration 9: How well does wind power perform compared to other forms of electricity?.............................21 Illustration 10: Why source electricity close to our region?....................................................................................................... 22 Illustration 11: Armidale Community Forum.......................23 Illustration 12: Community wind farm benefits ~ Planning Forums (Consolidated)...............................................24 Illustration 13: Landholder Forums hosted with Landcare ~ Kyabra & Walcha...................................................27 Illustration 14: Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jim Maher, Armidale Dumaresq Council, Armidale Community Forum.......................................................................................................... 35 Illustration 15: Joint a-frame for public displays (front & back).......................................................................................................... 36 Illustration 16: Uralla Community Forum ~ Interest to invest........................................................................................................... 42 Illustration 17: Importance of different reasons for investing.................................................................................................... 43 Illustration 18: Community Survey ~ How much would you be willing to consider investing?.....................................44 Illustration 19: Hepburn Wind Investor Profile (1).............45 Illustration 20: Hepburn Wind Investor Profile (2).............45 Illustration 21: Community Survey ~ What kinds of landscape are suitable for wind turbines?.........................51 Illustration 22: Recommended governance structure ........................................................................................................................ 57 Illustration 23: Wind farm development timeline ~ Kyoto Energy Park, Parmada......................................................61 Illustration 24: Community Survey ~ Rate the importance of the following benefits from a 'community-owned' wind farm................................................64 Illustration 25: Origami windmill campaign........................64 Illustration 26: Glen Innes Community Forum...................68

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 5 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

2 BACKGROUND
2.1 RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT
The New England Tablelands is an identified priority area for renewable energy due to its high quality wind resource and electricity grid infrastructure. It forms part of the NSW Government New England North West Renewable Energy Precinct. One wind farm is currently approved for the New England Tablelands (Glen Innes, 4481MW) with a further three wind farms in development (Ben Lomond Wind Farm, 165MW; Sapphire Wind Farm, 356-485MW; White Rock Wind Farm, 150MW). Wind power is widely recognised as the only renewable energy technology that is commercially proven and scalable to meet growing demand for electricity with negligible carbon footprint.

Illustration 2: Global installed wind power capacity, Global Wind Energy Council

South Australia sources some 20% of its electricity from wind energy, demonstrating the ability of current grid architecture to match demand with wind power generation. South Australia plans to meet 33% of its electricity from wind by 2020, comparable with Germany who already source nearly 30% from wind. NSW currently sources 0.25% of electricity from wind power.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 6 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
2.2 ABOUT
THE

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS

The New England Tablelands BioRegion has a population of 53,000 and around 18,000 dwellings. It covers an area of 3 million hectares which is largely (95%) within NSW. The Tablelands are the largest highland area in Australia and the only one to include a city (Armidale). Large sections of the Tablelands are 800m above sea level, and many areas rise above 1,000m. The highest point is Round Mountain in Cathedral Rock National Park which is 1,586m above sea level. The region contains a number of large agricultural properties, is mostly sparsely settled, and has a recognised potential for the production of energy from wind.

Illustration 3: New England Tablelands BioRegion, NSW Government Office of Environment & Heritage

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 7 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
2.3 COMMUNITY RENEWABLE ENERGY
Community renewable energy is a discrete segment of the renewable energy sector. Community wind power projects in Denmark played a pivotal role in kick-starting the commercial wind power industry. Denmark is now a global leader in wind turbine design and manufacture. While community renewable energy is a relatively new concept in Australia, it is a substantial segment in Western Europe and Northern America. For example, community and co-operative owned energy in Germany accounts for 8% of electricity generation and employs some 90,000 people. Hepburn Wind is Australia's first community wind farm, with Denmark, Western Australia, likely to be the second. The use of the term “community” in this context can incorporate the following principles 1: • Ownership and governing influence; • Scaling to meet local energy demand and/or supply; • Involvement of community members, organisations and stakeholders in the project design and development; and, • Accruing of benefits to the community such as employment, ownership, financial and energy returns. In addition to the general benefits of renewable energy, certain further advantages and benefits arise from community renewable energy initiatives: • Community ownership and leadership, with flow on effects to renewable energy more generally (as was the case in Denmark); • Community support, participation and benefits distinguishing such enterprises from the conflict which can characterise commercial wind development; • Community-owned asset, financial returns for community priorities, local and sustainable electricity, green collar employment and supply-chain business; • Community education and capabilities in energy, governance; and, • Demonstrating a best practice model for community involvement and social license to operate.

1 Appendix 2 ~ Community Renewable Energy Research Report, Community Power Agency, pp. 3-8.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 8 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
2.4 NEW ENGLAND COMMUNITY ENERGY INITIATIVES
There have been significant community-oriented renewable energy initiatives in the New England.

Farming the Sun2, Australia's largest community solar enterprise and coordinated by Starfish Enterprises, has directly supported the uptake of $6.5m worth of solar energy systems since late 2008. This initiative utilised the NSW Government Solar Bonus Scheme and Australian Government Solar Credits and Solar Homes and Communities Programs.
A similar amount of solar systems were taken up across the region through private companies. The need for 'New Energy' is an identified priority in the recently completed New England Sustainability Strategy3. The Strategy took two and a half years to develop with direct involvement of some 1,000 stakeholders. Three local community groups are working for the regional uptake of renewable energy: • Sustainable Living Armidale through their Renewable Energy Reference Group working on community-scale initiatives and their local Energy Group focussed on the city of Armidale; • U3CF ~ Uralla Community Climate Change Forum is a formal Uralla Shire Council sub-committee working on energy matters relating to climate change; and, • Southern New England Landcare's High Country Urban Biodiversity Project (HiCUB) is working to improve the uptake of alternative energy technology.

2.5 SCOPE

OF

STUDY

The purpose of the New England Community Wind Farm Study was to examine the feasibility of a community co-operative based wind farm in the New England Tablelands, with the capacity to generate between 4MW and 10 MW. The scope of the study included: • Identifying potential for participation by landholders and local residents, leading to recommendations to maximise participation by local financial institutions, Landcare, landholder groups, community groups and local government;

2 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, pp. 4-5. 3 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 6.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 9 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• Identifying the best vehicle for raising investment and development funds, recommending arrangements to attract community investment in partnership with commercial interests; Researching the most appropriate co-operative structure(s) for the venture; Recommending arrangements to fairly and effectively manage risks across different stages from pre-planning approval through construction and operation; An assessment of the replicability of the Hepburn Wind Farm in Victoria; An assessment of the applicability of any relevant existing co-operatives and similar arrangements, both within the Precinct ,and elsewhere in Australia and overseas; and, Study of relevant Australian, State and Local Government legislation, regulation and programs.

• • • •

The scope did not extend to assessing the feasibility of a wind farm at a particular site through wind speed monitoring, grid connection etc. Rather, the Study was based on the assumption that the conditions for a successful medium size wind farm exist, founded on wind speed levels and consistency. This Final Report also contains recommendations and protocols which can assist the development of similar community renewable energy initiatives in other NSW Government Renewable Energy Precincts.

2.6 FUNDING
The Study was funded utilising NSW Department of Fair Trading's Cooperative Research funding, matched with funding from: • NSW Office of Environment and Heritage; • The Community Mutual Group; • Sustainable Living Armidale; • Farming the Sun and Starfish Enterprises.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 10 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

3 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
The research methodology to assess and determine the feasibility for a community wind farm was particularly designed to determine a structure which would: • maximise participation by local financial institutions, landcare and landholder groups, community groups and local government; and, • attract community investment, potential commercial partnerships and interests to support capital raising and project management. A range of methods tailored to the diverse audiences with common themes being: • Assessing the potential for participation by landholders, local residents and partners; • Identifying ways to fairly, effectively manage risks across different stages from preplanning approval through construction and operation; • Mapping key issues, guidelines and design principles; and, • Considering opportunities and best vehicles for raising investment and development funds. The major milestones4 detail the timing and key activities in the following areas: • Steering Group partners and network ~ its formation, meetings and strategic decision making; • Community network development to maximise reach and participation; • Potential for participation (by landholders, the community and professional investors) through community planning forums and one-on-one meetings; • Nine research streams (considering co-operative and other legal structures, investment vehicles, government legislation and policy at all levels) of desk-top literature searches and professional advice; • Risks, principles and opportunities were key considerations included in the online survey and each of the above streams of work; • Documenting and communicating the research process and outcomes to maximise profile, reach and generate further support and participation; • Long-term potential partnerships were investigated with legal, electricity buyers, marketing professionals, and turbine technology providers; and, • Starfish Enterprises' overall governance and coordination of the Study.

4 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 7.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 11 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
3.1 STEERING GROUP
The Steering Group, known as the New England Wind Consortium, was formalised at the commencement of the Study, following their 'in principle' agreement to be involved in the tender process. This Group brought specialist expertise and broad networks to the overall Study planning, coordination, analysis and key strategic decisions regarding the research findings, feasibility of the community wind farm and recommendations5. The Steering Group fulfilled the following responsibilities for the Study: • Development of the Illustration 4: Public Launch of New England Wind Study, New Feasibility Study Plans, England Wind Consortium Research and Legal Advice Briefings, Partner Roles and Responsibilities, Promotion and Communications Plan; • Analysis of Findings from the Community Survey, Legal Advice and Community Renewable Energy Case Studies Research; and, • Determination of the Recommendations detailed later in this report.

3.2 SURVEY6
The project survey was designed to build upon findings from the existing DECCW Community Attitudes research, using Qualtrics survey software provided by The University of New England. As an online tool the survey was the key research strategy to enable participation of larger numbers of community members, investors and stakeholders. It was promoted throughout every stream of work to maximise take-up.

5 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 8. 6 Appendix 3 ~ Survey Findings

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 12 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Key components of the survey were: • General views regarding wind farms; • Preferences for different sources of electricity, including wind; • Relative importance of local generation and community ownership; • Views on what the inclusions should be for the definition of New England “Community”; • Siting principles for turbines; • Identification of risks and other issues; and, • Willingness to invest, purchase electricity and host wind turbines.

Illustration 5: Welcome page ~ Qualtrics online survey, courtesy University of New England

3.3 PLANNING FORUMS
A series of nine Community Forums were held across the Tablelands: • Community forums in Armidale, Uralla, Kyabra, Walcha and Glen Innes ~ reaching a wide selection of potential investors, landholders and the community. Nearly 200 attendees were involved with Armidale being the largest (hosted by Armidale Dumaresq Council in the Town Hall).

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 13 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• • • Each • • • • • A dedicated Investor Forum hosted by Community Mutual Group; Two educational institute forums including The University of New England; and, A Northern Region of Aboriginal Land Councils forum in Tamworth. forum7 covered: Major benefits, advantages and opportunities of a community wind farm; Key risks and challenges; Key design, structure and governance principles; Interest to become a member and/or investor; and, Priority next steps.

The planning forum process is an innovative open dialogue facilitated to include perspectives from every attendee and draw out their understanding and views, positive and negative, without any significant influence from the facilitators. This method provides truer guidance on the perspective of the community without the use of leading questions or pre-determined information. For example, the opening presentation 8 to set the scene for the forums was carefully designed to provide the minimum details to frame the discussion and no more. This method is distinctly different to the prevailing paradigm of 'community consultation'.

3.4 RESEARCH STREAMS
3.4.1 DEFINING “COMMUNITY”
A literature research was undertaken to analyse definitions of community generally and as applied to community renewable energy initiatives.

3.4.2 CASE STUDIES & MODELS
Desk-top research considered 24 Australian and international community renewable energy initiatives, assessing legal and governance structures, community benefit models, electricity sale, capital and fund raising as well as the significance of the community renewable energy segment generally. The researchers drew on their first hand study of community renewable energy projects in Europe and Northern America.

7 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 22. 8 Appendix 4 ~ Planning Forum Presentation, Glen Innes Community Forum

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 14 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
3.4.3 DECCW COMMUNITY ATTITUDES RESEARCH
Further analysis of the data for New England respondents to the DECCW Community Attitudes Research9 was undertaken with the agreement of the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

3.4.4 PROSPECTIVE SITES
Prospective sites were identified through the Community Survey 10, requests made through the media and other communications and Expressions of Interest collected at Participatory Planning Forums and other events.

3.4.5 LEGAL

AND

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES

Four streams of advice11 were collected to address a range of potential legal, financial and governance structures: 1. “Hybrid” legal structures including an unlisted public company; 2. Co-operative legal structures and the replicability of the Hepburn Wind cooperative model in NSW considering the existing knowledge base about Hepburn Wind on the Embark Wiki; 3. Australian and International community renewable energy models and case studies; and, 4. Peer review of this advice by Embark, including assessment of legal and governance research structures to ensure it complemented the existing knowledge base on the Embark Wiki.

3.4.6 GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION, POLICY & PROGRAMS
Desk-top research was undertaken to identify relevant NSW and Australian Government legislation, policy and programs. Policy recommendations were developed taking into consideration international frameworks supporting community renewable energy.

9 Community Attitudes to Wind Farms in NSW, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW, AMR Interactive, September 2010 10 Appendix 3 ~ Survey Findings, p. 20. 11 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 15.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 15 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
3.4.7 TECHNICAL PARTNERSHIPS & ISSUES
The technical feasibility of a community wind farm was tested in discussions with professional services across commercial and community wind and renewable energy. Participants included developers, grid operators, project managers, turbine retailers, and representatives from construction, electricity purchase and retailers, investment and financial services.

3.4.8 CHALLENGES & RISKS
Literature research complemented the Survey and Forum streams in identifying general wind farm challenges and risks, community wind farms challenges and risks and those unique to the New England Tablelands.

3.4.9 INVESTMENT & INVESTOR PROFILING
Selected aspects of the Hepburn Wind investor database were analysed, de-identified to maintain investor confidentiality, to profile key investment demographics and characteristics of community renewable energy investors. Discussions with potential local investors and financial groups were combined with approaches to ethical investment and superannuation specialists to assess fund raising opportunities. The community survey included questions about likely investment and reasons for investing, supplemented by a question about in principle support and investment raised at each planning forum.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 16 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

4 RESULTS
A key objective of the Feasibility Study was to determine whether there is sufficient support ~ community, investor, landholder, professional and commercial partnerships ~ for the successful establishment of a community wind farm. The overwhelming response was positive and supportive ~ in terms of general support through to more tangible measures such as indicative investment, willingness to host turbines and partnerships. This finding reflects the views of more than 1,30012 people directly involved. This substantial level of participation was a direct outcome of the profile afforded the Study by media, promotions and partner communication activities to ensure the widest possible participation, audience and awareness of the opportunity to contribute their views13. This support does however come with conditions. Throughout the Study evidence was gathered regarding what the key principles would be for an acceptable wind farm. These design principles are detailed in Section 5. Concurrent with assessing community support and conditions several streams of professional advice were obtained with regards to legal and governance structures as well as analysis of other community renewable energy projects (wind and solar) from Australia and internationally.

4.1 STEERING GROUP
The partners involved with the Steering Group brought a diversity of expertise and contributions. Individual contributions by the Steering Group Partners included: • The Community Mutual Group (TCMG) co-funded this Feasibility Study, hosted a dedicated forum for investors and participated in nearly every public event. A further Focus Group will be held with CMG staff and stakeholders regarding the Findings and Recommendations detailed in this report. • Environmental Defenders' Office (NSW) provided legal advice on NSW CoOperative structures, the transferability of Hepburn Wind's Victorian Co-operative structure, and their application to a community wind farm operation.
12 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 16. 13 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, pp. 17-21.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 17 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• Wilson & Co Lawyers contributed direct professional expertise relating to hybrid structures and a stake holding model to enable valuation and conversion of noncash contributions and support for the wind farm (eg. in-kind and pro-bono; sweat capital, discounted services; beneficiaries and affected parties such as neighbours) into share/stake holding. Southern New England Landcare (SNELC) & High Country Urban Biodiversity Project (HiCUB) hosted two community forums ~ Walcha & Kyabra ~ made presentations to their Board and have supported promotion with media releases, newsletters, email announcements and website links. Numerous landholders interested in hosting wind turbines have been reached through the SNELC/HiCUB network. Embark & Hepburn Wind contributed significant expertise and mentoring, particularly reviewing planning documents and the research matrix. The opportunity to analyse the Hepburn Wind investor database was of significant value. Embark have offered to provide in-kind support with desk-top analysis of possible wind sites at the appropriate time and have indicated that New England Wind is strongly placed to compete for a share in an upcoming seed funding round.

Illustration 6: Survey Working Group (Left to Right): Adam Blakester, Ray South, Assoc. Professor Don Hine, Patsy Asch, Bar Finch, Liz Gardiner, Glenda Kupczyk-Romanczuk, Methuen Morgan, Mahalath Halperin

The University of New England (UNE) contributed expertise and software for the Online Survey as well as promotion throughout their organisation. Two dedicated forums have been held with UNE ~ one with facilities management hosted by New England Wind and the other hosted by the Renewable Energy Precinct, focussed on development of a renewable energy research institute allied to a community cooperative wind farm.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 18 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• • Armidale District Chamber of Commerce contributed promotional support to convene a Business Focus Group to analyse the Preliminary Findings. Sustainable Living Armidale (SLA) co-funded the Study and hosted the largest community forum, held in Armidale Town Hall and attended by more than 80 people. A dedicated round table discussion was held with their Energy Working Group and they provided in-kind support with an email listserver (RenewRefGroup) and have promoted New England Wind with media releases, newsletters, website links (pictured below) and a poll.

Illustration 7: SLA website promotion

4.2 SURVEY14
Nearly 600 responses were received to the community survey and the findings provided an extensive data set identifying both levels of support and interest to participate as well as a wide range of community views on electricity, energy generation and wind power which are especially pertinent to the design principles (detailed in Section 5) for the community wind farm.

14 Appendix 3 ~ Survey Findings

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 19 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
The major findings of the community survey were: • Emphatic support for the proposition of a community wind farm. Over 90% strongly agreed or agreed that they would like a community owned wind farm and 75% self-assessed as positive the first thing that comes to mind (word analysis below, with larger word sizes reflecting multiple respondents using exactly the same word, spelling and capitalisation) when they think about wind farms in the New England;

Illustration 8: Word Analysis ~ The first thing that comes to mind when you think about wind farms in the New England

• •

Wind, followed by solar, was rated as the most preferred way to generate electricity for the New England. Coal, gas and nuclear were rated extremely low; Wind power was positively rated across a wide range of key power generation characteristics (graphed on following page);

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 20 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 9: How well does wind power perform compared to other forms of electricity?

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM

Page 21 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• More than 95% of respondents believe it is very important or important to “source, produce and use energy available in or close to our region”. Their reasons given are analysed below, with larger word sizes reflecting multiple respondents using exactly the same word, spelling and capitalisation;

Illustration 10: Why source electricity close to our region?

• • • • • •

350+ confirmed their interest in purchasing the electricity generated; 340+ indicated their interest in investment totalling $3m; 235 expressed interest to visit a working wind farm; 90 were interested to find out more about hosting turbines on their property; Clarification of desired definition for 'community' in terms of community ownership, governance and benefits from the wind farm; and, Clarification of key issues with regards to turbine siting (distance from dwellings, visibility, type of landscape, etc.) which are incorporated into the design principles later in this report.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 22 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
More than 300 respondents answered the very last question to add 'anything else' they would like to say about a New England community wind farm. This level of voluntary response at the end of a lengthy and thorough survey reiterates further supports the keen level of interest. Their responses were strongly positive 15.

4.3 PLANNING FORUMS16
Nearly 200 people and organisations participated in the nine Planning Forums. As open discussions these forums provide a rich resource of information regarding the community's current understanding of wind power and related electricity issues. More than 20 hours of video footage has been recorded and analysed to validate and supplement the written responses and white-board note taking during the forums.

Illustration 11: Armidale Community Forum

The major findings from the Forums are incorporated into the design principles (refer Section 5) for the community wind farm rather than repeated here. The challenges and risks identified have been consolidated with those identified in other streams of research and are presented later in this section. The recurring message which came through most strongly was the desire and aspiration for energy independence, consistent with the community survey responses, while at the same time expressing strong support for the establishment of New England Tablelands community wind farm as being a significant step towards this long-term goal.

15 Appendix 3 ~ Survey Findings 16 Appendix 5 ~ Participatory Planning Forums Analysis

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 23 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
From a governance and structural perspective this finding prompts the need to ensure that the super structure of the legal model can support and progress a multi-staged approach towards the long-term goal of energy independence as well being able to deliver an immediate community wind farm project. The benefits and advantages of a community wind farm are analysed and presented in the world analysis below (with larger word sizes reflecting multiple respondents using exactly the same word, spelling and capitalisation) ~ with clear emphasis on the benefits of community ownership, clean energy with a low environmental footprint that generates local employment and independence.

Illustration 12: Community wind farm benefits ~ Planning Forums (Consolidated)

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 24 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.4 DEFINING “COMMUNITY”17
The meaning given to 'community' is a key element of the community wind farm in terms of defining the boundaries (inclusion and exclusion) for the purpose of ownership, governance, decision-making; as well as for the purpose of the return of benefits, particularly those to the wider community and beyond the direct parties to the wind farm such as shareholders, employees, suppliers, landholders and electricity users. The clear finding was to define “community” as those persons and organisations that have a clear local residence, stake or ownership in the New England Tablelands or Region18, who are: • Local ~ in terms of the social, cultural and geographic identity of the New England Region, NSW, Australia; and, • Individuals ~ those who live or own land in the New England; or, • Organisations ~ businesses owned by local people and local organisations such as superannuation funds, family trusts or community organisations with local governance. As detailed elsewhere in this report there was a clear requirement for any New England community wind farm to be governed by the community, implying that the majority of ownership, investors and benefits would accrue to the community as defined above. By contrast this means that a minority of investors could come from outside the community as defined, while ensuring that the risk of these outside interests gaining control was managed and precluded.

4.5 CASE STUDIES & MODELS19
Twenty-four Australian and international community wind farm and renewable energy projects were assessed in regards to their: • Definitions of 'community' and 'community renewable energy'; • Legal and governance models; and, • Capital and fund raising. Each of these findings are incorporated into the relevant sections of this report. 20
17 Appendix 2 ~ Community Renewable Energy Research Report, Community Power Agency 18 Appendix 1 ~ Attachments, p. 23. 19 Appendix 2 ~ Community Renewable Energy Research Report, Community Power Agency 20 Definition of Community, Section 4.4; Legal and Governance Structures, Section 4.8; Investment, Section 4.12; Seed Funding, Section 7.2

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 25 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Advantages of community renewable energy were identified as being: • Building community resilience and empowerment; • Building a strong movement of action on climate change; • Developing the renewable energy industry; • Supporting rural and regional communities and fostering local economic development; and, • Enabling action on many values and goals simultaneously. The broad variety of different community renewable energy projects underlines the critical importance of ensuring the definition applied for the New England Tablelands' is strongly aligned with community and stakeholder needs and aspirations (as defined above). The following list highlights this breadth of purpose and structure: • Middelgrunden Wind Turbine Co-operative ~ a joint venture between Copenhagen and wider Danish residents and the municipal utility with 8,500 local members; • MinWind I-IX ~ nine separate corporations running 1-2 turbine wind farms, each owned by 33 local farmer-investors in Minnesota, USA; • Hepburn Wind ~ a co-operative-run wind farm with majority local people of Daylesford shire in Victoria as shareholders which contributes money to a Community Sustainability Fund; • Ellensburg Community Solar ~ a solar installation organised and run by the municipal utility, a local university and a local environment group in Washington state, USA, in which local residents of are investors; • Mt Barker Community Wind Farm ~ a wind farm sized to the demand of the local community of Mt Barker, Western Australia, though owned by a company with majority corporate and non-local, even international, investors; • Baywind Wind Co-operative ~ initially a joint venture between a wind developer and a co-operative of Cumbrian and wider UK residents, with a small community fund for energy efficiency projects in the Cumbrian community; • Westray ~ a one turbine wind development, owned by the Westray Development Trust, whose membership is open to any adult on the island of Westray, UK; and, • Dardesheim Wind Farm ~ a large wind farm in Germany , predominantly owned by a developer, with shareholding opened up to local community members, a small percentage of the wind-farm revenue also goes to the town council.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 26 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.6 DECCW COMMUNITY ATTITUDES RESEARCH
Ninety-five New England responses were extracted and analysed from the NSW-wide DECCW Community Attitudes Research. The key findings regarding the views of the New England respondents were: • Strong support for wind farms though only modest support for wind power as an 'acceptable' power source (solar and hydro received the strongest levels of support of the clean and renewable power sources); • Strong levels of support for wind farms within 10kms of own property and moderate support if located 1-2kms from own property; • Moderate levels of understanding of wind power; • Significant levels of concern regarding safety, noise and health impacts of wind farms; and, • A desire for more information and consultation from government.

4.7 PROSPECTIVE SITES
A sufficient number of potential sites were identified and collected to confirm the assumption that conditions for a successful medium size wind farm existed and more importantly could be translated into reality.

Illustration 13: Landholder Forums hosted with Landcare ~ Kyabra & Walcha

More than 110 landholders have expressed interest in hosting turbines, from the community survey21 and other direct contact with landholders. Several of these sites are strongly aligned with the design principles detailed above.

21 Appendix 3 ~ Survey Findings, p. 20.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 27 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.8 LEGAL
AND

GOVERNANCE STRUCTURES

Wilson & Co Lawyers, NSW Environmental Defender's Office, Embark and the Community Power Agency identified possible governance structures, legal and finance models for the community wind farm22. The Steering Group considered the various options in determining the recommended structure detailed later in this report. The key consideration was the best legal and governance structure to meet the design principles from the community planning process. While nine possible models were identified23 from the wide range of community renewable energy projects from Australia and around the world, three legal structures were considered feasible, being: 1. NSW Co-operative; 2. Unlisted Public Company; or, 3. Hybrid of NSW Co-operative and Unlisted Public Company. A key finding was that in technical terms any of the above models could be suitable for a community wind farm operation. While there are of course technical differences in how they function and the relevant legislative regimes they are subject to, these are not necessarily materially significant. Further, both legal teams advised that any constitution could be tailored to fit the specific design principles for a community wind farm. It was their view that there is sufficient flexibility within the various legal structures and legislation to accommodate requirements. This is in direct contrast to the prevailing perception that a community wind farm would need to fit within inflexible structures. Rather, what distinguishes structural strengths and applicability are matters of perceived appropriateness: • There is a widely held belief and view that community governance, ownership, decision-making and interests are best achieved and protected within a cooperative structure; • Corporations, business, professional investors and government are generally believed to be more comfortable with the transparency and accountability required by the standards placed on an unlisted public company structure and the national legislation of the Corporations Act (2001).
22 Appendix 6 ~ Governance Models Options Analysis 23 Appendix 2 ~ Community Renewable Energy Research Report, Community Power Agency

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 28 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
To quote the Environmental Defender's Office advice: Co-operatives and public companies tend to provide the most successful outcomes for community projects. However each has benefits and drawbacks. In general, it has been said that the co-operative structure has been popular with local communities, who seek benefits other than simply a return on share capital. However, corporate or institutional investors often prefer the public company structure, as it focuses on generating a return on their share capital.

[The New England community wind farm] must determine what priorities it has, in terms of delivering its design and innovation. This will include the ideological framework within which it is intending to operate. 4.8.1 NSW CO-OPERATIVE24
To paraphrase key findings from the legal advices: • Co-operatives are unique in that they generally require 'active membership' on the part of the member. For example, in order to remain an active member of Hepburn Community Wind Park Co-operative Limited a member: (a) must purchase or consume energy generated directly or indirectly by the Cooperative; or (b) subscribe to the Co-operative‟s information advisory service relating to energy usage and efficiency; or (c) subscribe to the Co-operative ‟s newsletter. • Co-operatives are democratic institutions and each member has one vote only, irrespective of how many shares they hold. • Importantly, the legislation in NSW is very similar to that in Victoria and so were the New England project to model itself on the Hepburn Wind project there would be no great differences in terms of the legal form of the co-operative. • Provisions specifically prohibit cooperatives from carrying on business across borders without approval from the local Registrar of Cooperatives. Compliance with these approval requirements imposes costs on cooperatives which place them at a competitive disadvantage to companies. • The main difference between a director of a co-operative and a director of a company is that the director of a co-operative must also be a member of the cooperative. This is qualified in that a co-operative can have one non-member director for every three member directors. • International network and common co-operative principles as adopted by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) apply to NSW Co-operatives.

24 Appendix 7 ~ Co-operative Structures, Environmental Defender’s Office (Northern Rivers)

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 29 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• Changes to the rules of a co-operative may be made by special resolution of the members or by resolution of the board subject to approval of the Registrar. Such alterations to the rules of the co-operative are likely to be more difficult to achieve than would be the case for a public company. Compliance requirements of a co-operative may be more onerous than that of a public company because of the lack of standardisation of the rules for cooperatives as compared to the corporations law applicable to public companies..

4.8.2 UNLISTED PUBLIC COMPANY25
To paraphrase key findings from the legal advices: • Public companies are attractive due to the audit and taxation obligations imposed on them which create high a degree of transparency and accountability in the activities of the entity. • Public companies enjoy maximum flexibility in respect of share issues, dividend policies, cross border trading, shareholder participation and protection and fund raising. For example the constitution could apply a similar one shareholder one vote rule as is the norm for the co-operative model. • This entity provides the most flexibility, transparency and accountability for the benefit of investors, passive shareholders, management and third parties such as suppliers and government agencies involved with the project. • An unlisted public company can have unlimited shareholders to raise capital for profitable purposes, but it cannot advertise for investors. • Public companies with more than 50 members, which is likely to be the case for the community wind farm, may be subject to the takeover provisions of the Corporations Act. Very basically, a company may be subject to the acquisition of particular shareholder interests where the acquiring interest held in the company is substantial. It may be possible to structure a company to avoid takeovers however this requires further investigation.

4.8.3 HYBRID26
Blending a co-operative and unlisted public company together affords scope to access a wider range of advantages and flexibility. In short there is potential to utilise a co-operative structure for investment, ownership, governance and decision-making by the community together with an unlisted public company as a subsidiary entity for dealings with larger investors, professional and corporate partners and government.
25 Appendix 8 ~ Hybrid Legal Structures, Wilson & Co Lawyers 26 Appendix 8 ~ Hybrid Legal Structures, Wilson & Co Lawyers

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 30 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
To ensure consistency with the design principles the co-operative would need to hold a majority shareholding and controlling interest, with both constitutions enshrining the relevant design principles detailed earlier ~ for instance quadruple bottom line governance approach, accessibility of decision-makers, open decision-making processes and anti-takeover provisions.

4.9 GOVERNMENT LEGISLATION, POLICY & PROGRAMS
The NSW New England Tablelands Renewable Energy Precinct, and the joint AustralianNSW Governments' 2020 20% Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, are key policy drivers for commercial wind development especially, and New England Wind can be expected to capitalise on the large amount of regional commercial activity scheduled to take place from 2013 onwards.

4.9.1 FINANCIAL SUPPORT
Financial benefits arise from this scheme through the creation of Renewable Energy Certificates for energy generated. An alternative for consideration is usage of the GreenPower scheme. Both options provide financial returns, however there will potentially be environmental issues which arise with respect to how the purchaser of the Credits or GreenPower uses the 'offset'. The NSW Government Co-operatives Development Grants Program was utilised as keystone funding for this Study. The Program provides grant funding to assist cooperatives to establish, develop and/or expand. This program funds up to 50% of a project feasibility study providing a co-operative is formed. The program does not fund capital costs. The program may fund market research including wind resource monitoring and other aspects of a feasibility study (eg a feasibility study into grid connection but not the costs of building the connection). Up to $100,000 per annum is available. The program is administered by the NSW Department of Fair Trading. Other • • • • • possible NSW Government incentives include: Climate Change Fund grant funding; Regional development grants program; Capital raising program; Business advisory services; and, Renewable Energy Precincts.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 31 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
There may be opportunities to obtain grant funding for community renewable energy projects under the Australian Government Clean Energy Initiative, administered by the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism. The Clean Energy Initiative includes the Solar Flagships Program, the Australian Centre for Renewable Energy, and the Renewable Energy Future Fund. The Renewable Energy Future Fund was announced in the 2010 Australian Government budget to provide additional support for the development and deployment of large and small scale renewable energy projects. It will include partnerships between the Government and the private sector to make critical early stage investments to leverage private funds to support the commercialisation of renewable technologies. Funding will be delivered through a number of departments and agencies, with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency coordinating Fund priorities and progress. The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry also administers grants to farming communities who group together on a particular project to help them adapt to climate change, under the FarmReady Industry Grant. Acceptance of pre-approvals for training will recommence from 1 July 2011. The Enterprise Connect initiative has state-based Innovation Centres that provide ongoing support, and sometimes funding, to small and medium enterprises, including those involved in clean energy.

4.9.2 PLANNING REQUIREMENTS
Planning Approval is likely to require a Joint Regional Planning or Part 3A approval (Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, NSW). Part 3A is currently under review. NSW wind farms are “permissible with consent” in the following land use zones: • Rural zones: RU1 Primary Production; RU2 Rural Landscape; RU3 Forestry; RU4 Rural; Small Holdings • Industrial zones: IN1 General Industrial; IN3 Heavy Industrial • Special use zones: SP1 Special Activities; SP2 Infrastructure Glen Innes Severn Council in the New England Tablelands have implemented a Development Control Plan for wind farms (detailed below). There have been negative experiences with commercial wind development in the Glen Innes area which were apparent in the community forum held there. For pragmatic reasons it is recommended that sites elsewhere in the New England Tablelands, where there is strong support, be prioritised for the first community wind farm.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 32 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Glen Innes Severn Council Development Control Plan Areas of the Glen Innes Severn Council have been identified as suitable for the generation of wind energy. Council determined it necessary to have Development Control measures to ensure Council has policy to control or guide proposed wind farm developments, to allow better guide decision making on such proposals for the community and developers. Council supports the notion of alternate energy sources such as wind energy generation. Wind farms have been identified in the Glen Innes Severn Council Economic Development Strategy 2008 –2010 as potential developments for the area. Where visible from a non related dwelling or immediate surrounds a wind farm development shall not be located within 15 times the blade tip height or 2kms (which ever is the greater) of any dwelling not associated with the development or 15 times the blade tip height or 2kms (which ever is the greater) from a reasonable, practical and suitable dwelling site on any lot that has been created for the purpose of a dwelling. Where turbines are proposed to be significantly higher than such properties or dwellings, or where the turbines will dominate the immediate view from the dwelling or dwelling lot, increasing these separation distances is recommended.

4.9.3 NEW ENGLAND LOCAL GOVERNMENT
A community wind farm has considerable scope to be in alignment with several New England Local Government objectives and plans: • Armidale Dumaresq Council's Domestic Energy Committee passed a motion of support which is now being considered by the full Council; • Uralla Shire Council's Mission Statement includes the priority to “become a carbon neutral community” and “a lighthouse model for local mitigation and adaptability to Climate Change”; • Guyra Shire Council's Community Strategic Plan includes an objective to provide information and support for positive action on climate change; and, • Walcha Council's Deputy Mayor, Kevin Ferrier, attended the community forum and made clear Council's identified interest in wind power development as reflected in their business plans.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 33 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.10TECHNICAL & OTHER PARTNERSHIPS
4.10.1 COMMERCIAL & TECHNICAL PARTNERSHIPS
Two commercial sites have been identified as possibilities for on-site generation which could have significant financial advantages due to netting out their electricity costs at a retail cost rate (as distinct to the normal situation of selling generated electricity at a much lower wholesale rate). Two possible partnerships are being investigated with commercial developers with a view to incorporating a distinct community component or stage to their wind farm. Dozens of commercial consultancies, developers and wind turbine distributors and manufacturers have made contact offering to work with New England Wind. With regard to future requirements for expertise, the finding from this Study is that professional and technical partners should be sought and utilised for New England Wind to the degree that necessary expertise is not available already within the community. The large professional services, research and education base of the New England brings a depth and calibre of expertise which is unique in regional Australia, most symbolised by the presence of The University of New England. At the time of writing three commercial wind farms are in the process of obtaining formal NSW Planning approval and one (Glen Innes) has finalised the process. The combined potential capacity is over 850 MW and all applicants have carried out detailed monitoring, environmental and financial assessments, community information sessions and community consultations. The latter consultations have been undertaken with varying levels of commitment and success. The four commercial developers have each expressed in-principle support for a community cooperative wind farm, recognising that general support for such an enterprise could translate to greater support for well sited wind farms generally.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 34 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
It is likely that New England Wind would be able to take advantage of technical and construction capacity brought to the region by those commercial operations, with two of the proposed wind farms likely to be at site preparation stage before the community wind farm has completed its full resource assessment.

4.10.2 LOCAL GOVERNMENT
Four local Councils supported the Study: • Armidale Dumaresq Council provided use of the Armidale Town Hall for the Sustainable Living Armidale hosted community forum and Deputy Mayor Jim Maher officially opened the forum; • Uralla Shire Council provided use of the Uralla Community Centre and General Manager Tom O'Connor officially opened the forum; • Walcha Council's Deputy Mayor, Kevin Ferrier, attended the community forum; and, • Glen Innes Severn Council's Mayor, Steve Toms, opened the forum which was also attended by General Manager Hein Basson.

Illustration 14: Deputy Mayor, Councillor Jim Maher, Armidale Dumaresq Council, Armidale Community Forum

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 35 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.10.3 FUNDING BODY ~ NEW ENGLAND RENEWABLE ENERGY PRECINCT, DECCW
The NSW Government's New England Tablelands Renewable Energy Precinct's support and contribution to the New England Wind Study has been significant and valuable, with highlights including: • Numerous joint initiatives with shared promotion and presentations such as the Landholder Wind Forum, UNE Round Tables and Northern Region NSW Aboriginal Land Councils; • Access to NSW Government educational materials (Wind Fact Sheet, Community Attitudes Research, Greenhouse Gas Savings) and facilities for meetings; • Confidential use of the 3Tier wind mapping data for early analysis of prospective wind farm sites; • Research into wind power carbon-offset modelling and pricing; • Access to Community Attitudes Research to undertake further analysis of New England Tablelands respondents; and, • Attendance at nearly every public event and Consortium meetings when appropriate. This has strengthened the Study's credibility in engagement with key stakeholders, local Councils, landholders and investors.

Illustration 15: Joint a-frame for public displays (front & back)

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 36 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.11CHALLENGES & RISKS
Community renewable energy projects such as New England Wind have a different risk profile to commercial developments, with greater ease in gaining community support and planning approval, though greater complexity for capital raising and accessing professional/technical expertise. The following risk framework reflects challenges and risks particular to New England Wind. Each planning forum identified challenges and risks. Four broad categories were identified: 1. Turbine siting and related environmental and public health issues. These risks are particularly addressed by the siting and environmental requirements detailed in the design principles in the following section of this report; 2. Raising funds. This concerned the quantum of funds required as well as receiving funds in a timely manner, exposure to political and policy uncertainty and being a small player in a competitive corporate field; 3. Governance. Getting the structure right was seen as being critically important, particularly for community decision-making, government and larger investors and commercial project partnerships; and, 4. Technical. The need for professional boards and management, accessing the necessarily technical wind expertise and assessing issues such as turbine and site selection and grid connection. Negative experiences from current wind farm proposals in the region have been included and usefully provide a more robust and comprehensive set of priorities to ensure broad-based community support and acceptance.

“Well some of us have other ideas about benefits and advantages. I think it’s a shame here tonight. I think it’s tainted with the commercial [wind farms] but some of us actually are interested in our particular areas for a community wind farm so I guess I’d like to state that point of view at this stage in the game.”

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 37 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Traditional wind industry risks need to be integrated with the framework and include: • planning and development; • project financing, investment, energy and electricity price, inflation and interest; • commissioning, operations, technology, infrastructure and grid connection; • environment (flora and fauna, noise, flicker, aesthetics, construction, decommissioning) and cultural (sites of significance, native title); • governance; • contracts and suppliers; • policy, regulation and political; • wind resource; and, • community/social licence risks. The following table consolidates the identified challenges and risks for a New England Tablelands community owned wind farm and details relevant strategies based upon the recommendations and design principles outlined.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 38 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Challenges & Risks Maintaining the momentum and achieving wellinformed community decision-making and addressing misinformation • Relationships with partners & key stakeholders • Community tire of story or initiative • Scale of initiative and the risk of burnout • Responding to magnitude of a bold vision for energy independence Delivering benefits to the wider community (beyond direct participants such as investors, members, landholders, employees) Strategies to Address, Avoid, Mitigate • • • • • Develop and implement comprehensive social marketing education campaign Maintain profile & communication with community Continue to include community in decision-making Publish wind monitoring statistics in the local paper every week Keep a regular eNEWs

• Raising financial capital in timely manner, power purchase agreement, volatility of renewable energy market, competition for sites, finance, etc., global economic conditions, decommissioning costs • • • •

Develop and Implement Community Benefit Plan with strategies such as discounted electricity and energy education and efficiency already identified as likely to be of wider benefit Long-term role for New England Energy is to address energy issues for community and region as a whole Development of strong local community networks to support marketing and capital raising Recommended use of hybrid governance model to attract larger investors Professional partnerships with expertise particularly site assessment and power sale agreements Investigation of direct sale of electricity to local users (Hepburn Wind are developing an arrangement with Red Energy to be able to sell branded 'Hepburn Wind' electricity and better attract and retain customers) Ensure adequate provisions are made for decommissioning or refurbishment of turbines

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM

Page 39 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Challenges & Risks Accessing necessary professional and technical expertise Strategies to Address, Avoid, Mitigate • • • Numerous commercial parties already identified as willing to work with New England Wind Partnership with Embark and support from NSW Renewable Energy Precinct program Existing professional service base in New England with commercial wind development likely to bring further opportunities for professional services and partnerships Negotiate management fees in shares to reduce working capital requirements Specific provisions in New England Energy Constitution Clear constitutional rules for sale and transfer of shares Strong business model and performance to ensure share value Maintain Register of Interest for prospective purchasers Comprehensive design principles developed for turbine siting requirements integrating industry standards with community requirements Prospective list of 110+ landholders interested to host turbines Professional and transparent feasibility study of community wind farm site to ensure integrity with design principles and siting issues Strong community governance model and majority ownership Maintain strong working relationships with key agencies and Members of Parliament Involvement of Local Government in governance and with regards to planning and regulation matters Continue to build community networks and support for New England Wind and clean, renewable energy

• “Carpet-bagging” of co-operative Saleability of shares • • • •

Turbine siting Issues ~ noise, heritage, property values, • habitat and wildlife, grid capacity, etc • • Political uncertainty, unpredictability and interference (eg. County Councils take-over, electricity utility sell-off) • • • •

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM

Page 40 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Challenges & Risks Market Forces– take-over, unhealthy profit dominance, investor dominance Strategies to Address, Avoid, Mitigate • • • Green-washing and environmental integrity • • Strong community governance model and majority ownership Cap placed on maximum investor (5-10%) and anti-takeover provisions in the Constitution Defined principles regarding financial return (8-10%) and Community Benefit Plan Strategic positioning to address moral or ethical offsets only (ie. not financial and legal offsets) Transparent and professional disclosures in the Business Case regarding environmental issues, performance comparisons with other energy sources (including returns on embedded energy) Design principles for turbine siting address high environmental standards as well as industry standards for due diligence Work to date has been open to all community members and stakeholders. Negative opinions have been expressed in both the Survey and during the Forums, particularly at Glen Innes Concerns raised to date have been particularly about turbine siting issues; ensuring they do not cause community conflict and that they have the support of affected neighbours The design principles have incorporated these risks and issues. Continue to include community in decision-making and high standard of transparency and accountability Develop and implement comprehensive social marketing education campaign Maintain profile and open communication with community

• Organised wind opposition, being locally based and • community led we are more exposed to strident opponents. Potential for work to date to have been biased by mostly supportive participants •

• • • •

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM

Page 41 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.12INVESTMENT & INVESTOR PROFILING
$5m of indicative investment was identified in a very short time. Several local organisations have indicated in principle interest in making larger investments which would total $2m. 300 respondents to the survey expressed their willingness to invest $3m in total. These financial findings are significant given that this Feasibility Study precedes being able to provide any firm details about governance, business and financial models or likely returns. Many investors and community members indicated willingness to invest subject to receiving such details.

“Would need to examine the business case before investing. Although I would not be that worried about high returns, I would not like to take a high risk on any investment.”
Willingness to invest was specifically covered at each of the nine forums and the overwhelming majority of participants raised their hand at the end of the Forum to indicate their support for the establishment of a community wind farm and their willingness to consider investing in such an initiative (though no assessment of the amount of investment was made).

Illustration 16: Uralla Community Forum ~ Interest to invest

The reasons and motivations for investors ( below) echo the pragmatic views reflected in the design principles ~ that is, potential participants are seeking to balance financial returns, essential to the viability and sustainability of the wind farm operation, with their considerations for energy generation and security, climate change and clean energy, economic development, community leadership and public health and safety.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 42 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 17: Importance of different reasons for investing

These motivations reflect a need to balance returns to investors with benefits to direct parties such as employees and energy customers as well as the wider community.

4.12.1 INVESTOR FORUM
A dedicated planning forum to bring together potential investors was hosted by Steering Group member The Community Mutual Group, Australia's largest inland credit union cooperative. The key findings from the investor forum are consistent with those above, namely: • Getting the governance and legal structure right is paramount ~ separate structures for business and operations, investment and community, as well as using share classes to ensure local community voting and governance rights; • The business case needs to demonstrate strong financial viability and balance returns that are direct financial with the benefits for the wider community; • Professional board and management are essential; • Lowering risk is a key attractant for investors who will be willing to accept a lower rate of financial return in exchange for high certainty. A key strategy for the community wind farm will be to reduce risk by ensuring the widest possible distribution of benefits (such as discounted electricity to local residents and businesses) as a way of reducing the risk of opposition;

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 43 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• • There needs to be an ability to sell shares with some liquidity and depth in the share market; Local community should be the majority owner with mechanisms to prevent external take-overs or buy-outs;

4.12.2 COMPARISON

WITH

HEPBURN WIND27

The financial profile of investors from the community survey compares favourably with the analysis of the Hepburn Wind investor base. Both the average and mean levels of investment are higher than was the case for Hepburn Wind, which is consistent with the higher socio-economic status of the New England: • Mean investment of $5,000 (Illustration 18) is more than double the Hepburn mean of $1-2,000 (Illustration 19); and, • The average indicative investment for the New England is $9,400, which is 50% higher than the Hepburn average of $6,20028.

Illustration 18: Community Survey ~ How much would you be willing to consider investing?
27 Appendix 9 ~ HepburnWindInvestorProfile, Nicky Ison 28 Appendix 9 ~ HepburnWindInvestorProfile, Nicky Ison, Table 1 p.2.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 44 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 19: Hepburn Wind Investor Profile (1)

The other key finding from the Hepburn Wind investor analysis is the significance contribution made by the eighteen larger investors ($50,000 and above), contributing around 40% of the total capital.

Illustration 20: Hepburn Wind Investor Profile (2)

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 45 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
4.12.3 PROFESSIONAL INVESTORS
Meetings were also held with a range of professional investors to identify their requirements. These discussions included consideration of superannuation fund requirements which were identified as an opportunity during several of the planning forums. The professional investors included a local chartered accounting firm; Australia's first ethical investment company and several individual ethical and social investors. The key findings from these meetings were: • A clear and robust governance structure is of paramount importance; • Firming up interest to invest is dependent on seeing a fuller business plan and financial models; • Small, self-managed superannuation funds are most likely to be able to invest, since this is at the discretion of their beneficiary; and, • Liquidity of the investment (ie. the ability to sell shares) will be a key requirement.

4.12.4 FUND RAISING RESEARCH29
Numerous strategies have been deployed to assist with fund raising for community wind farms, particularly the critical initial funding required before a formal share offer is possible. Four models were identified from the literature research as particularly relevant for the New England: 1. Hepburn Wind30 secured $975,000 in a Renewable Energy Support Fund grant from Sustainability Victoria (also involving their contracted wind developer, Future Energy). This support was vitally important to the success of the project. Not only did the grant reduce the risk for Future Energy and the community, it also shored up the economics of the project to make it attractive to outside investors. 2. Hepburn Wind used interest on savings to fund a key staff person to drive the feasibility and development of the project in a professional and timely manner. Money raised from early share offers was set aside in a high-interest bank account. 3. Middelgrunden Wind Turbine Co-operative (Denmark) project was financed through pre-subscriptions from people interested in being members of the cooperative. Pre-subscriptions were 7 Euros each and with 30,000 sold, this raised 210,000 Euros. Once the share offering was complete, the value of the pre29 Appendix 2 ~ Community Renewable Energy Research Report, Community Power Agency 30 Embark 'Wiki', www.embark.com.au

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 46 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
subscriptions was subtracted from the price of the first share members bought. If the project was to not go ahead, or people didn’t go on to become members, they forfeited this 7 Euros. 4. Minwind III-IX (USA) raised money for their start-up costs through a $500 deposit from each person interested in later becoming an investor once the project was up and running. This initial fund-raising covered feasibility studies and project development. People knew that their money would not be returned if the projects didn’t go ahead, but contributed anyway. People felt confident to do this because of the success of the first two Minwind projects and because Minwind IIIIX followed the same model.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 47 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

5 DESIGN PRINCIPLES
The design principles reflect the needs, expectations and aspirations of the community for a successful community wind farm. They address community and stakeholder requirements for governance, financial and legal structure, capital raising and operational requirements with a view to maximising the benefits of a community wind farm in New England, as well how to best address challenges and minimise risks. They are the most significant result of this Study, identifying the parameters for a community wind farm which will garner the most acceptance, support, investment and partnerships. A New England Tablelands community wind farm needs to be structured and operated consistently with these design principles to be most feasible and likely to succeed. They reflect the consolidated results from the community survey, planning forums, stakeholder meetings. They incorporate additional analysis by the working groups for each of the survey and forums, and from the Steering Group for the consolidated findings from all streams of research. The design principles are presented in three categories: 1. Governance and ownership 2. Wind farm operations; and, 3. Community benefits, knowledge and understanding.

5.1.1 GOVERNANCE & OWNERSHIP
These principles reflect findings from the research relevant to the governance and ownership structure and related policies. As such they will guide the drafting of constitutions for legal structure and key policies for the board of directors. They reflect the need for strong community ownership and decision-making.

“People feel powerless with the current situation. Give us all a chance to have a say about the what, where and costs of providing energy to our homes, farms, and businesses.”

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 48 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
The key principles identified to achieve this outcome were: • Ensure the initiative is led by the community rather than investors: • Majority ownership by local, New England community (defined later) made up of individuals, businesses and other entities • Clearly distinguish structures and processes for community governance, investment, wind farm operations and community benefits planning • Accessibility of decision-makers and open decision-making processes which genuinely hear and respond to community concerns • Transparency and accountability • Create classes of shares to ensure community governance • One member (person or entity) – one vote rule for all critical community decisions and issues such as turbine siting and community benefits from the initiative • Voting controls to protect from take-overs • A cap on maximum investment to manage influence • Provisions to address carpet-bagging risks • Professional and merit-based board, management and operations requiring: • Quadruple bottom line approach • Ethical supply chain policy • Financial viability and provision of a reasonable rate of financial return • Funding adequate to cover operational costs and renewal or decommissioning of turbines and wind farm • Risk insurance • Ability to sell shares (liquidity of investments) • Incorporate a governance and advisory role for local Councils and other key stakeholders • Create a means for accessible and affordable investment while maintaining an appropriate minimum investment level • Provide investment plans for low income investors • Allow a staged offering with locals given first option • Enable 'sweat capital' for volunteers, in-kind and pro-bono support and early contributions • Establish a governance structure to work on a long-term New England Energy Plan which can build on the initial demonstration community wind farm project • Aim to meet a substantial proportion of local energy requirements from clean sources, moving beyond coal to become an energy exporter

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 49 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
5.1.2 WIND FARM OPERATIONS
Overall, the study identified a strong desire to establish clean and renewable energy sources for the New England and recognised the need to move beyond coal. This guiding vision and direction also influences principles regarding how the generated electricity should be used to benefit the community. Other practical operational principles were identified, such as specifications for selection of an appropriate turbine technology and suitable sites for the turbines.

“Using and producing energy in our region would be greatly beneficial to our community and the closer it is the better, especially if produced via renewable/sustainable means.”
The key principles identified were: • The project needs to be of sufficient scale to make a measurable impact and difference • Choice of location for turbines is critically important and needs to consider access to both wind resource and distribution network (refer also to community survey responses on following page) • Putting in place a Collective Landholder Contract which includes the direct landholder hosting the turbines and other affected neighbours • Ensure no degradation of native bushland, wildlife habitat and corridors • Focus on previously cleared land with all weather access • Site away from urban areas (at least 1km from residential and work sites) • Manage acoustic footprint assiduously • Visual amenity and the visibility of the turbines is acceptable, however this does not necessarily suggest an 'iconic' or highly visible location • Match turbine technologies to site for best performance • Work out how to close the loop to market the power locally or allow identifiable matching between local energy generation and local energy purchase and consumption • Aim to provide discounted electricity for New England community and offset rising prices • Provide moral/ethical offsets (rather than legal offsets)

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 50 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 21: Community Survey ~ What kinds of landscape are suitable for wind turbines?

5.1.3 COMMUNITY BENEFITS, KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING
Analysis of the potential benefits from a community wind farm highlighted the need to strengthen energy knowledge and understanding throughout the community. This principle reflected consistent views that the learning and educational needs and benefits for the community are key to both the success and feasibility of the endeavour as well as a major benefit from it.

“A campaign to educate people about how wind power actually generates power, and how it is converted for use in the average home or business, and how much it costs per kW to set up and distribute. Similar to the campaign which educated us about solar power.”
Achieving this will require a proactive, transparent and comprehensive campaign to inform the community about this wind farm as well as regional energy needs and sustainability. Community benefit principles were identified as: • Strong community governance to bring greater security and lower risks from political uncertainty and market forces • Development of a Community Benefits Plan addressing:

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 51 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Energy affordability (energy justice) Distribution of benefits widely to build support and reduce risk of opposition Negotiations to bring training opportunities that create local employment and new industry • Development of tourism and educational opportunities Dissemination of a comprehensive business plan including: • Financial model and returns • Energy model and payback • Comparison of proposal with alternatives • Highlighting the advantages of embedded and distributed energy generation • Environmental and health assessments Delivery of a social marketing campaign addressing: • Facts and figures about wind power, electricity, renewable energy compared with the current system and other options (such as solar) • Make available information from Hepburn Wind and other community wind farms • Establishment of a dedicated web site and online communications • • •

Delivering clear benefits to the community is central to the success of a community wind farm. This is particularly reflected in principles such as balancing financial returns to investors with the community return and the stated aim of providing discounted electricity for New England community. Further work is required to fully develop a community benefits plan 31, building on the above principles.

31 Refer Community Benefits Plan, Section 7.5.1

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 52 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

6 RECOMMENDATIONS
The Study finds that the establishment of a New England Tablelands community cooperative wind farm is feasible. Such feasibility is conditional on a number of key requirements including the above design principles. The Steering Group formed the recommendation (Section 6.3) as the most feasible structure and scale for the community wind farm, achieving the necessary level of financial and community support, particularly taking into account: • A governance and legal structure that fits the design principles identified as well as the legal advice received; • A suitable scale to match the aspiration and requirements for the New England; • The potential for investment and fund raising; and, • The replicability of Hepburn Wind.

6.1 FEASIBLE OPTIONS
The Study found that various choices within a range of options 32 would be feasible to a greater or lesser extent. The recommendation (Section 6.3) details the most feasible options after considering these ranges. For example, the recommended scale of 8 turbines and $30m capital was selected from the range of feasible options, between 2 and 10 turbines and $10m to $40m capital. Examples of the range of feasible options are: • Size, Scale & Complexity of Wind Farm • 2~10 turbines (2MW equivalent) • $10~$40m capital • Single or multiple sites • Capital Structure • $500~$5,000 minimum investment • 1%~20% cap on maximum investment • 0%~66.67% debt • 5%~15% annual financial return

32 Appendix 6 ~ Governance Models Options Analysis

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 53 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• Governance and Legal Structures • Single or multiple entities • Three viable entity forms ~ co-operative, unlisted public company or hybrid • Different voting structures ~ one vote one shareholder, one vote one share, different share and member classes for voting rights Purpose and Strategic Positioning • Non-profit, community enterprise or commercial/for-profit • Develop the project completely alone, enter into partnerships with professionals, buy into a commercial wind development • Carbon offsets ~ moral/ethical, legal/trading

6.2 REPLICABILITY

OF

HEPBURN WIND

As Australia's first community wind farm, Hepburn Wind established an important benchmark for this Study. While this Study is in favour of the feasibility for a New England Tablelands community wind farm, there are several key points of difference from Hepburn Wind: • A region-wide rather than local focus. The Hepburn Renewable Energy Association initially approached Future Energy, their commercial developer partner, to establish a community owned wind farm that would help match the electricity needs of the Hepburn Shire. Hepburn Wind will produce enough electricity for 2,300 homes, almost the number of households in Daylesford and Hepburn Springs. By comparison the New England Tablelands has a population of 55,000 people and 20,000 dwellings. • The driving motivation for the establishment of Hepburn Wind was climate change. This has certainly been a strong motivator for the New England also, however the overall ambition is to establish a regionally owned and governed renewable energy system. This focus has brought a stronger flavour of business-like requirements and an ambitious long-term goal of energy security. • Hepburn Wind was the first major and iconic environmentally oriented project by the community. By comparison the New England has already coordinated a takeup of micro-generation equal in financial terms to Hepburn Wind's $12m wind farm. As detailed in Section 2.4 there is a substantial capacity of organisations and networks established in the New England, several of whom have been partners in this Study. • The New England is statistically a more affluent region, while noting the proximity of Daylesford to Melbourne. This is reflected in the findings from the investor research33.
33 Investment & Investor Profiling, Section 4.12

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 54 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
• New England has the advantage of the extraordinary pioneering work carried out by Hepburn Wind to establish the first wind farm in Australia. Hepburn's success led to the establishment of Embark, a partner in this Study, which will assist New England to greatly expand the Hepburn Model.

In view of these differences, and the findings on community aspirations and needs, it is recommended that a feasible New England community wind farm needs to be four times the generation capacity of Hepburn Wind.

6.3 RECOMMENDED OPTION
In order to garner community and sufficient investment support the wind farm and governance structure must deliver affordable, competitive, accessible, clean and renewable energy at “sufficient scale to make a measurable impact and difference” towards the New England becoming self-sustaining for its energy. The model recommended is an 8 turbine (16MW equivalent) wind farm, requiring $30m in capital, governed by a two-entity hybrid structure combining the benefits and advantages of a co-operative and an unlisted public company with common governance principles to ensure that they work in concert. The recommended governance and legal structure is depicted on the following page and explained below.

6.3.1 NEW ENGLAND ENERGY
The vehicle for the purpose of fulfilling the function of strong community governance is New England Energy, a Co-operative created under the NSW Co-operatives Act (1992). New England Energy would be responsible for all major decisions affecting the community (such as site selection and land leases). Setting a modest fee for membership will enable the greatest level of community participation and accessibility in these decision-making processes. New England Energy's central role and responsibilities are: • Energy planning and development, including site selection and landholder leases; • Developing and delivering the Community Benefit Plan; and • Fund raising, including memberships and investment from the community – shares, “sweat” capital (made up of volunteer, in-kind and pro-bono investments), donations and grants.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 55 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
This is a one-member/one-shareholder/one-vote structure and as a co-operative will also embody the Universal Co-Operative Principles of the global co-operative movement, namely: • A diverse Board reflecting members, investors, management, employees, stakeholders, volunteers and the wider community; • Voluntary, open and inclusive membership; • Participatory member governance and decision-making; • Remuneration and reward for contribution and investment; • Member economic participation; • Leadership and self-responsibility; • Autonomous and independent ~ agreements with other bodies ensure autonomy; • Provide education, training and information for members and the wider community; • Cooperate with the global cooperatives movement; • Work for the sustainable development of the wider community (social, economic, environmental). The second vehicle, an unlisted public company New England Wind Limited, will be responsible for all operational decisions for the wind farm. New England Energy will be at all times the majority shareholder in New England Wind Limited.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 56 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 22: Recommended governance structure

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM

Page 57 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
New England Energy will focus on the successful fund raising and establishment of New England Wind and over time can take a leadership role in the development of a longer term energy plan to contribute towards the vision of:

~ affordable, competitive, accessible, clean & renewable energy for New England to become self-sustaining for its energy: addressing usage, efficiency, embedded generation and distribution through to security, storage, sustainability and education ~
A Community Benefit Plan will be developed for the delivery of returns to the wider community from the wind farm operation (that is, returns beyond those to direct members, shareholders, employees, contractors, landholders and other direct stakeholders in the wind farm).

6.3.2 NEW ENGLAND WIND
An unlisted public company will be a purpose-designed vehicle for the operation of the community wind farm itself. Its majority owner will be New England Energy co-operative. An unlisted public company is best suited to the day to day operation of the wind farm itself. It is a clearly understood and trusted mechanism for commercial partners and larger investors. The recommended scale of the wind farm is eight turbines of 2MW equivalent, equal in capacity to half the residential electricity consumption of the New England Tablelands. This will require approximately $30m capital, the majority of which will be from New England Energy, a minority from investors in New England Wind, and the remaining onethird from debt funding. New England Wind will return a flat percentage of gross revenue back to the community, comparable to a royalty, in the vicinity of 2-3% of gross income (potentially $2.5-3.5m over the 25 year lifespan of the wind turbines). New England Wind shareholders will also be required to be members of the New England Energy Co-Operative to ensure their involvement in the community governance process (albeit on the basis of a one-member one-vote for co-operative decisions).

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 58 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
The unlisted public company is a one-vote per share owned structure, with the constitution incorporating anti-takeover protections. New England Wind's central role and responsibilities are: • Wind farm operations and decision-making; and, • Fund raising both financial investment and debt.

6.3.3 CAPITAL STRUCTURE
The proposed capital target of $30m will be raised across the hybrid legal structure in the following way: • A majority investment from the community through the New England Energy Cooperative of more than $10m to achieve majority ownership by the community; • A minority investment from investors through the New England Wind unlisted public company of up to $10m; • Borrowings of up to $10m by the New England Wind unlisted public company. Structuring the capital raising in this manner makes the fund raising targets more feasible and achievable. The $10m required from the community is of the same magnitude as already invested in micro-generation (solar power and small wind turbines) in the last 3 years. While there is a difference between investing in a community wind farm compared with an on-site and directly owned renewable energy system, the fact that a community wind farm will return 4-6 times the energy return for every dollar invested is more than sufficient motivation to attract investment. There are also many businesses and home owners unable to generate power on-site who are attracted to the prospect of a common shared facility. Investment support of $5m has been identified34 for the community wind farm in advance of having a full business model to present. The investor profile identified to date is also stronger when compared with Hepburn Wind35, reflecting the higher average socio-economic status. Borrowings often represent up to 80% of the capital raising for commercial wind farms, though the figure is substantially lower for community projects. Hepburn Wind has borrowed $3.1m from Bendigo Bank, representing 25% of their total capital.

34 Section 4.12 35 Section 4.12.2

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 59 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
The Steering Group determined that one-third borrowings would be prudent while also significantly contributing to the feasibility of raising the capital required.

6.3.4 COMMON PRINCIPLES
The common principles for both New England Energy and New England Wind are: • Quadruple bottom line approach addressing social, economic, environmental and governance; • Accessibility of decision-makers; • Open decision-making processes ~ genuinely hearing and responding to community concerns; • Transparency and accountability; • Professional merit-based boards and management; and, • A ceiling on maximum investor ownership of 5-10%. The target return on investment is 8-10%pa36.

6.4 LOCAL GOVERNMENT
There were conflicting views expressed throughout the Study with regard to the involvement of Local Councils. There was support for their inclusion as an investor, however while Councils were thought to be key to good governance, as community representatives, at the same time concerns were also raised about their influence and vulnerability to politics. Some viewed energy as not being a 'core function' for local Council, whereas others felt it could or should be. We recommend the establishment of an Advisory Council for New England Energy as a vehicle for representation from Local Councils and similar stakeholders.

6.5 IDENTIFYING “COMMUNITY”
We recommend a 'self-identifying' process (also used by Hepburn Wind) for the purpose of governing the member and investment registry. That is, individuals and organisations 'self-identify' as being part of the local community 37.

36 This annual return is benchmarked with the long-term returns from Australian Ethical's Superannuation and Managed Fund Portfolios since inception to 30 April 2011. 37 As defined in Results, Section 4

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 60 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

7 CONDITIONS

TO INITIATE

NEW ENGLAND WIND

This Study, while being a major milestone in itself, marks merely the beginning of a three to five year process for the successful development of a community wind farm.

Illustration 23: Wind farm development timeline ~ Kyoto Energy Park, Parmada

7.1 STEERING GROUP & SECRETARIAT
The next stage of work will require the formation of a new 'fit-for-purpose' steering group, potentially an evolution of the current Consortium. Their work will be best enabled with the support of a paid secretariat and executive services.

7.2 SEED FUNDING
Seed funding for Hepburn Wind was critical. Sustainability Victoria provided just under $1 million, or 8% of the total capital requirements and payments were staged link with key development milestones. The seed funding performed two functions: 1. It provided credibility in the eyes of investors and key participants such as professional/technical partners, power purchase utilities and regulatory agencies; and, 2. Secondly, it provided the project management with a planned approach to wind

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 61 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
farm development, ensuring that each stage was satisfactorily completed before work could begin on the next. While the recommended New England wind farm will require larger capital in total ($30m as opposed to the $12m raised by Hepburn Wind) it will benefit from efficiencies with the breadth of partners, both professional and technical, the larger local investor base and the ability to leverage support and knowledge from Hepburn Wind's success. It is likely that the New England wind farm will require some $1.5-2m in seed funding. This amount should include local pre-investment with a financial and marketing benefit to early investors to concurrently formalise the local support base.

7.3 NSW GOVERNMENT SUPPORT
The NSW Government has been a significant partner and contributor to proving the feasibility of a community wind farm in the New England Tablelands. Continued support and liaison through the Office of Environment and Heritage Renewable Energy Precinct will be necessary. We have identified an early window of opportunity to sustain the momentum already established and arising from publicity around the feasibility study. The following practical support would be of assistance: • Seed funding as detailed above; • Sponsorship for wind farm study tours; • Assistance collecting statistics for the energy footprint (usage, generation, green power, etc.) for New England; • Access to 3Tier wind maps to assess wind turbine sites; • Assessing the fit of prospective turbine sites compared with the design principles (distance from existing dwellings, commercial wind resource, acoustic footprint, ecology values, etc.); • Clarification of relevant regulation for Local Government investment; and, • Access to training to create and maximise local employment and business opportunities.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 62 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
7.4 CONSOLIDATE & EXTEND TECHNICAL & PROFESSIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
A range of possible technical and professional partnerships have been identified, with meaningful contributions made to the Study. These partnerships now need to be consolidated for the purpose of the next stage of works detailed in this Section. Further development of the technical and professional networks and knowledge is required, particularly turbine analysis suited to the preferred sites, power sale arrangements and preparations for planning applications and approval. This will also require planning meetings with Local Government and similar bodies regarding the establishment of the proposed New England Energy Advisory Council. Embark have advised engaging such partners on a stage-by-stage basis to provide the required flexibility.

7.5 STRENGTHEN COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT & SUPPORT
Further strengthening community involvement and support is central to the successful establishment of a New England community wind farm. Practical priorities are detailed below.

7.5.1 COMMUNITY BENEFITS PLAN
Design principles have been identified for the Community Benefits Plan ~ establishing the benefits from the community wind farm which will accrue to the wider community beyond direct shareholders, employees, suppliers, stakeholders and electricity users. Further participatory planning is required to finalise the Community Benefits Plan, building on the principles identified earlier in this report (and shown in the following graph from the community survey).

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 63 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 24: Community Survey ~ Rate the importance of the following benefits from a 'community-owned' wind farm.

7.5.2 SOCIAL MARKETING CAMPAIGN ~ KNOWLEDGE & UNDERSTANDING
A key component of the Community Benefits Plan will be a social marketing approach to developing community knowledge and understanding. This particularly methodology recognises that most of this information is widely available however needs to be packaged, promoted and presented for the New England as a social marketing campaign (similar to the Farming the Sun solar energy initiative). This campaign would include: • Frequently Asked Questions finding forums • Public speaking tour with Embark and Hepburn Wind; • Community outreach; • Information displays and stalls; • Presentations; • Building the love of wind down under • “Ask the kids” (Origami 'why wind' campaign) • Landscape art/photography/design competition and prize • Partnership with a new Wind Information Centre (Walcha, UNE, CSIRO) • Establishment of a New England Wind website and maintenance of the wider web presence; • Film and documentary screenings; and, • Continued digital media documenting of the undertaking.

Illustration 25: Origami windmill campaign

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 64 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
7.5.3 WIND FARM STUDY TOURS
Around 250 people have expressed interest in visiting a modern, working wind farm. Hepburn Wind identified this strategy as one of the keys to their success, providing community members the opportunity to gain first hand experience, particularly with regards to issues of visual and acoustic impacts. Visiting working wind farms is key for New England Wind as residents have had a lesser degree of directly experiencing a modern wind farm compared with other NSW Regions which are closer to operational wind farms38. Two Wind Farm Tours are proposed: a multi-day coach trip for the budget conscious; and an overnight charter-flight tour for investors.

7.6 LEGAL FORMATION & FUND RAISING
Legal arrangements are required to commence fund raising and initiate investor pledges, deposits and pre-investments as well as grants, donations and member recruitment. An active online poll has been launched to gather immediate feedback and community reaction to the proposed hybrid structure and wind farm scale. The proposed hybrid legal structure will need to be proven in three respects: 1. Further legal advice ensuring that the design principles can be successfully incorporated into the constitutions of the proposed hybrid structure; 2. Full costing of the establishment and compliance costs for the hybrid legal structure to satisfy governance and regulatory requirements; and, 3. An investor survey is necessary to assess support for the proposed hybrid structure, financial return and investment commitment. This is best undertaken once a site is selected and a more detailed financial and business model can be canvassed. It may be advantageous to form an interim legal structure, or utilise an auspice arrangement, to build memberships and financial support. This was the strategy utilised by Hepburn Wind who initially utilised an incorporated association structure (Hepburn Renewable Energy Association). The potential to establish an effective vehicle for small and self-managed superannuation funds investing in New England Wind is a key future consideration.
38 Community Attitudes to Wind Farms in NSW, Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water NSW, AMR Interactive, September 2010

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 65 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
7.6.1 SWEAT CAPITAL & IN-KIND CONTRIBUTIONS
Recognition of sweat capital and in-kind contributions is a complementary strategy for fund raising which eases pressure on the need for cash funds up front through a structure to convert contributions to share holdings. There is a significant amount of work and intellectual property which has already been, and can continue to be, contributed to by the founding Steering Group members and partners. A transparent structure can be established to set aside a portion of the share capital in the co-operative to recognise and compensate these contributions in the form of shares, securities or other interests in the wind farm which reflect the amount of unpaid work and intellectual property. Any such arrangement would necessarily be consistent with the design principles, particularly in terms of transparency and accountability.

7.7 SITE SHORT LISTING & FEASIBILITY
Short listing of the best possible sites for the wind farm can now occur, matching them to the design principles and standard industry requirements. The best site will require a full feasibility assessment, grid feasibility, wind monitoring and a collective landholder agreement.

7.8 PROSPECTUS
Work needs to commence on the development of the Prospectus and Business Plan. While this will include legally essential Prospectus information and satisfy traditional business plan requirements there are a wider range of community requirements to be met as identified in this Study. These may be presented as supplementary communications or incorporated into the social marketing campaign described above. Community requirements identified include: acoustics, infra-sound, wind data, case studies of other community wind farm performance, displacement of coal-fired/other power generation, base load and back up, maintenance, refurbishment, decommissioning, energy storage, electromagnetic interference, traffic and transport, cultural heritage, native title and archaeology, aviation, environmental, landscape and visual impact, and property values.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 66 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

8 ADVICE

FOR

OTHER COMMUNITIES

8.1 PLANNING
A strong approach to planning is central to maintaining a clear focus, purpose and priorities. Community initiatives are especially prone to being diluted by multiple priorities, goals and necessities. Clear plans are transparently developed and available to the public to provide a common basis for participation and partnerships and their focus by defining what is, and is not, included. The planning process needs to be participatory and inclusive of key partners, stakeholders and people. This Study was largely a participatory planning process to collectively design the purpose, principles and precautions for New England Wind. The plan for the Study itself was also developed in this manner, involving partners and the Consortium. This approach signals that rather than 'replicating' Hepburn Wind a more accurate description would be that what is needed is a methodology to 'transplant' the concept. Similar to an organ transplant there is a critical need to establish that the donor community is receptive to the concept and that it is then designed to fit the local context, needs and aspirations. This requires thorough research, analysis and participatory planning.

8.2 PARTICIPATION
Participation is much more than consultation. It requires open discussion, support to express all views, positive and negative, framed by the purpose, context and bare minimum information to provide a clear focus for good planning. Rather than being bottom-up or top-down, participatory process is about bringing the whole community together ~ including organisations, key stakeholders, professionals and experts ~ to more deeply explore opportunities, issues and in turn identify solutions.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 67 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

Illustration 26: Glen Innes Community Forum

8.3 PEOPLE & PARTNERSHIPS
The people and partners involved need to be fit for the specific purpose (initially a feasibility study and ultimately the operation of a community wind farm). The Steering Group, project team and working groups brought the necessary capabilities, knowledge and networks for this specific purpose and tasks for this Study. A new mix of people and partnerships need to be identified and recruited to be fit for the purpose of initiating a New England community wind farm. A further reworking of the team will probably be required once New England Wind is formally constituted as the purpose subtly shifts again. Historically people and partnerships have been selected based on authority, influence and expertise. While these are all key, so too is attitude. Establishing a community renewable energy project is an act of leadership and courage as much as applying expertise and influence. The right attitude can be applied to training to address gaps in required capability, whereas is very difficult to train for the right attitude.

8.4 PRAGMATISM
Identifying pragmatic needs, necessities and aspirations in regards to energy is a highly

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 68 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
useful way to build common language and common ground. For instance, while the issue of climate change is a key motivator for some people it is problematic for others. A majority of the 1,300 people involved with this Study recognised that times had changed and that we needed to move beyond coal-fired electricity. They are concerned about energy security and wish to have greater say in the way energy is generated, distributed and used in the New England. Pursuing these pragmatic goals will make a significant positive contribution to the health of the climate, and to the natural environment, local economy and energy security, without risking becoming engulfed in climate change literally which has now become a more political and ideological issue.

8.5 PARADIGMS & PERCEPTIONS
As a relatively new segment community renewable energy is a new paradigm for Australia, a new way of thinking about energy, ownership, investment and governance and much more. Exploring people's existing world views and mental models with regard to their understanding, options and choices for energy is an essential process for this work. The ability of the electricity grid to manage the intermittent nature of wind power is a good example. Most Australians are unaware that even coal-fired power stations are taken down for regular maintenance and so do not operate perpetually. Raising their awareness of how the grid functions to balance generation, demand and load profoundly shifts their understanding of how the variability of wind can in fact be accommodated and contribute significantly to cleaner and less carbon intensive electricity. Similarly, Australians mostly don't question having only eight electricity companies compared with Germany with more than 1,000 and the largest community and cooperative owned segment in the world employing 90,000 people.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 69 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY
Appreciating these different paradigms, and moving from perceptions to real understanding, is central to enabling meaningful participation and building solid community support. It could be described as 'conservative radicalism'.

8.6 PAY
Community renewable energy is a blend of professional and charity, commercial and community, structures, processes and capabilities. It is a significant and sophisticated undertaking. Doing this well requires remuneration, albeit a modest and sustainable financial arrangement befitting the community sector. This principle is also enshrined in the international co-operatives movement. However the prevailing perception is that community means charity, voluntary, or perhaps just covering costs. This is neither fair, realistic nor sustainable. Securing funding to meet this need is critically important lest people be over used, perhaps abused, and likely burnt out.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 70 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

9 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

Starfish Enterprises would like to acknowledge and thank the following contributors to this Study: Study Project Team ~ Patsy Asch, Bar Finch, Elizabeth Gardiner & Adam Blakester Steering Group (New England Wind Consortium) ~ The Community Mutual Group, The University of New England, Community Power Agency, Embark, Sustainable Living Armidale, Wilson & Co Lawyers Research Partners ~ Community Power Agency, Wilson & Co Lawyers, Embark, Environmental Defender's Office (Northern Rivers) Ltd & Elizabeth Gardiner Survey Working Group ~ Associate Professor Don Hine, Patsy Asch, Bar Finch, Elizabeth Gardiner, Glenda Kupczyk-Romanczuk, Methuen Morgan, Mahalath Halperin Branding Working Group ~ Rose Cutts, Iain Mackay, Emily Thomas-Moore, Glenda Kupczyk-Romanczuk, Patsy Asch, Bar Finch Paul Cruickshank, Regional Coordinator Precinct | New England Tablelands, NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.

A Register of Contributions has been established to comprehensive record individual and organisational contributions towards New England Wind.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 71 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

10 ABOUT STARFISH ENTERPRISES
Starfish Enterprises is a community organisation and network of entrepreneurs specialising in supporting regions shifting to sustainability. Its core capabilities include community enterprise, participatory planning, network governance and strategies for social change. The New England Sustainability Strategy (NESS) operates under the auspice of Starfish and is an innovative multi-stakeholder network governance structure and process addressing sustainability on a bio-regional scale. Starfish coordinates the NSW Government Green Globe award winning Farming the Sun community solar initiative ~ Australia's largest community solar enterprise involving small to mid sized solar power systems, evacuated tube solar hot water and solar thermal air heating and cooling technology. This New England Tablelands Community Wind Farm Feasibility Study extends and builds upon the success of Farming the Sun and the priority for 'new energy' identified through the New England Sustainability Strategy. Starfish recently facilitated the community dialogues and stakeholder research for the innovative Northern Inland Regional Development Plan, the North Coast Energy Strategy and Forums and Lismore Community Economic Transition Strategy. Its international work includes the Forest Farmacia community health initiative with Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 72 of 73

FEASIBILITY STUDY

11 APPENDICES
11.1APPENDIX 1 ~ ATTACHMENTS
Refer separate document.

11.2APPENDIX 2 ~ COMMUNITY RENEWABLE ENERGY RESEARCH REPORT, COMMUNITY POWER AGENCY
Refer separate document.

11.3APPENDIX 3 ~ SURVEY FINDINGS
Refer separate document.

11.4APPENDIX 4 ~ PLANNING FORUM PRESENTATION: GLEN INNES COMMUNITY FORUM
Refer separate document.

11.5APPENDIX 5 ~ PARTICIPATORY PLANNING FORUMS ANALYSIS
Refer separate document.

11.6APPENDIX 6 ~ GOVERNANCE MODELS OPTIONS ANALYSIS
Refer separate document.

11.7APPENDIX 7 ~ CO-OPERATIVE STRUCTURES, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENDER’S OFFICE (NORTHERN RIVERS)
Refer separate document.

11.8APPENDIX 8 ~ HYBRID LEGAL STRUCTURES, WILSON & CO LAWYERS
Refer separate document.

11.9APPENDIX 9 ~ HEPBURN WIND INVESTOR PROFILE, NICKY ISON
Refer separate document.

NEW ENGLAND TABLELANDS COMMUNITY WIND FARM
Page 73 of 73