Woorndoo woolgrower Peter Coy is aware of the perception that many wind farms use grants to their local communities to help placate any concern about the wind farms’ impact.
But he wants people to know that the scholarship to be supported by the Salt Creek wind farm at Woorndoo, north of Mortlake, is different.
Firstly because half of the money is coming out of his own pocket and secondly because he says there has been little opposition to the Salt Creek wind farm itself.
Mr Coy, 80, is contributing the $15,000 rental he receives from one of the 15 turbines on his farm towards the cost of the $30,000 annual scholarship. The wind farm operator, Tilt Renewables, is contributing the other half.
Mr Coy, whose family have been on the Salt Creek farm since 1905, said he was funding the scholarship because he wanted to leave a legacy for his community.
He also knew the financial difficulties that country students had in getting to tertiary education and wanted to help out, he said.
”Making the jump to tertiary education is one of the big challenges for young students living outside the main cities.
“Many need to move away from home to attend university and this can be prohibitively expensive,” Mr Coy said.
The scholarship will award $30,000 each year to a successful applicant from the Western District.
It will be awarded each year for 25 years, the initial life of the Salt Creek wind farm.
Scholarship winners will be selected on the basis of personal qualities and demonstrated leadership as well as academic ability.
The first recipient of the scholarship will be awarded in January, in time for the 2019 academic year, so applications are currently being invited.
The Coy family will administer the scholarship and people wanting more information should contact Mr Coy’s daughter, Sally Towell, at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Salt Creek Wind Farm will also be open to the public from 10 am-2 pm on Sunday, October 21, as part of National Wind Farm Open Day.
The 15-turbine wind farm went fully operational in July this year.
All 15 turbines are located on the Coy’s 2225 hectare (5500 acre) fine wool merino stud.