Gwenda Allgood a wind energy champion

ARARAT - Earlier this month Ararat's Gwenda Allgood received the inaugural Renewable Energy Champion Award at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival.

Environment group Friends of the Earth selected Mrs Allgood for her efforts in educating Australians about wind energy.

Leigh Ewband from Friends of the Earth said the Ararat Rural City councillor had travelled far and wide to tell of her positive experiences with renewable energy.

"She has corrected the misinformation surrounding wind energy and encourages people to consider its benefits," he said.

"Drawing on her experience with the Challicum Hills Wind Farm, Gwenda reminds people that wind farms are clean and safe. They create jobs and drought-proof income for farmers while helping us address climate change."

Mrs Allgood said she has spoken at several forums in the last year, including in communities who were considering wind farm proposals, about the Challicum Hills project which at the time was the biggest wind farm in the Southern Hemisphere.

"It was totally separate from the council, I was going around to King Island, Seymour and Canberra as an individual and it was all centred around how Challicum Hills got up and running while I was the mayor," she said.

"People look at the process now and they wonder how this actually went through without one objection, but that's exactly what happened.

"What I have been talking about is the leading up to, while it was being constructed and the benefits afterwards."

Author and former ABC reporter Tanya Ha presented the award at the Melbourne Sustainable Living Festival.

"They must have been a little bit impressed I guess, because out of the blue they said they'd like to give me this award," Mrs Allgood said.

"I had no idea even when I went to the ceremony in Melbourne what was going to happen and to have that presented in front of thousands of people, all the environmental groups were there, it was pretty mind-blowing."

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