MAKE THE SHIFT TO 100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

As a co-operative our members help us unlock new ideas, projects and opportunities. With over 2000 members, mostly from the local area, we’re proud to be backed by a community committed to climate action.

Co-operative membership

Here you can find out more about what it means to be a member and your responsibilities. We also have information on dividends, selling shares, our reports and a list of frequently asked questions.

Becoming a member

Accepting new members

Hepburn Energy is still open for new member shareholders to join our community enterprise.  Locals can buy in for a minimum of 100 shares and non-locals can join up with 1000 shares. To find out more about becoming a member please see our New Member Information Booklet.

Please note, Hepburn Energy is currently undergoing a share registry change. If you are applying for a new membership please accept delays. If you have a query on this please email community@hepburnenergy.coop or phone (03)5348 6760.

 

 

Member benefits

As a Hepburn Energy Member, your investment is not only good for the planet but good for you. As a member you will receive:

  • member returns when financially prudent
  • the member newsletter
  • access to our community retail offer.
Active member responsibilities

As part owners of the Hepburn Energy co-op, members are responsible for their shareholding and need to comply with the Cooperative Rules and maintain “active” membership. To maintain active members must either:

  • purchase our community electricity offer, and/or
  • keep their email current to receive our newsletter. 

Members are also responsible for keeping important shareholding details up to date. Without these details we can’t contact you regarding important activities like our AGM, Annual Reports or dividends.  

If you would like to become a member, you must review the Hepburn Energy Rules and Disclosure Statement and ensure that you meet the active member requirements.

Member information

What does it mean to be a member?

As a Hepburn Energy Member, your investment is not only good for the planet but good for you. As a member you will receive:

  • member returns when financially prudent
  • the member newsletter
  • access to our community retail offer.

As part owners of the Hepburn Energy co-op, members are responsible for their shareholding and need to comply with the Cooperative Rules and maintain “active” membership. To maintain active members must either:

  • purchase our community electricity offer, and/or
  • keep their email current to receive our newsletter. 

Members are also responsible for keeping important shareholding details up to date. Without these details we can’t contact you regarding important activities like our AGM, Annual Reports or dividends.  

As a member it is your responsibility to know the rules and meet your active member requirements.

Our share registry provider

As a member of Hepburn Energy your shares are registered with Australia’s top share registry provider Link Market Services Limited.

Link is Australia’s leading share registry and financial services provider, managing over 25 million account records and processing more than 70 billion dollars in payments every year.  They have offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne, enabling Hepburn Energy members to have easy access to customer support and information.

You can contact Link Market Services via phone on 1300 554 474 (toll-free within Australia) or email registrars@linkmarketservices.com.au

Viewing and updating your membership details online

Please note, Hepburn Energy is transitioning share registry providers which may affect members ability to view or update their shareholding details online. If you have a query on your shareholding please email community@hepburnenergy.coop or phone (03) 5348 6760.

As a member, you can track your shareholding, dividends and other details through our Share Registry Provider, Link Market Services, online portal. 

We require at all times the following details to administer your holding: 

  • Email Address  
  • Bank Account Details
  • TFN, TFN Exemption or ABN

To view & update your shareholding details all members must be registered with Link Market Services and sign in with the Portfolio Login using your email and password.  If you have forgotten your password please follow the prompts to reset.

Member returns: dividends & buybacks

Hepburn Energy is committed to benefiting our members. As a member and shareholder you will receive returns when they are financially prudent.  

  • Dividends to date have been paid on 17/06/2019 (2.6c fully franked) and 5/03/2021 (2.7c fully franked)
  • There was a Member BuyBack paid on 17/03/2021 which was a scale-back amount of 19.3% of holdings the 149 members 
  • In a Capital Return in 2018 a total of $32,040 was repaid to members who subscribed to the share buyback offer. 

Dividends and other member returns, such as BuyBacks, are assessed by the board every second year, as was voted by members in our 2017 Member Perspectives Survey.

Share price

As a cooperative, we have a fixed share price at $1.10 (share price $1 plus $0.10 premium).  The premium was applied from 1 July 2011 and is still valid at 30/6/2021. Previous to this the share price was $1.00 (back to commencement in 2009).

Selling shares

Please note, Hepburn Energy is undergoing a share registry change. If you are applying for a share transfer please expect delays. If you have a query on this please email community@hepburnenergy.coop or phone (03)5348 6760.

As Hepburn Energy is a Cooperative, you cannot sell shares as you would on the commercial share market.  Being a part-owner of Hepburn Energy, if you wish to sell your shareholding you are responsible for doing so and you will need to find a buyer.

  • You could find a buyer directly yourself OR 
  • You can connect to potential buyers through Share Connect, an off-market share vendor site that Hepburn Energy has partnered with. 

STEPS:

  1. Find a buyer
  2. Complete a Shareholding Transfer Form
  3. Post the Form to Link Market Services
  4. Pay the Hepburn Energy $50 administrative fee

MORE INFORMATION:

If you would like to close your shareholding without selling your shares, another option is to donate your shares back to Hepburn Energy. If you would like more information on donating shares and becoming an Associate Member (non-financial) please email community@hepburnenergy.coop

Frequently Asked Questions

Hepburn Energy’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can be viewed below. They cover membership, community and co-operative questions, technology and governance queries.

Membership questions

Who owns Hepburn Energy?

As a co-operative Hepburn Energy is owned by its members, numbering over 2000. Just over half of Hepburn Energy’s members identify as local.

Since each member receives a single vote at meetings, all members have an equal say. To ensure that the interests of the local community remain paramount, the board aims to maintain majority local ownership.

Are shares still available? How can I buy shares?

Yes. You can join the co-operative directly or connect with existing shareholders via the platform Shareconnect. To find out more please view our New Member Information Booklet and for further questions please email community@hepburnenergy.coop

Who is your Share Registry Provider?

Hepburn Energy shares are registered with Australia’s top share registry provider Link Market Services Limited.

Link is Australia’s leading share registry and financial services provider, managing over 25 million account records and processing more than 70 billion dollars in payments every year.  They have offices in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth and Melbourne, enabling Hepburn Energy members to have easy access to customer support and information.

You can contact Link Market Services via phone on 1300 554 474 (toll-free within Australia) or email registrars@linkmarketservices.com.au

How are members kept informed?

Members should subscribe to our newsletter and are encouraged to follow us on social media and where possible, participate in AGM’s. Please note as a member it is your responsibility to maintain active membership which includes maintaining your current email with our newsletter.

How do members benefit?

Members benefit in many ways including financial rewards through dividends, updates on local sustainability programs and less tangible benefits like empowerment to support climate mitigation.

Member/shareholder questions

What is my SRN (Securityholder Reference Number)?

Your SRN is your Securityholder Reference Number provided to you when you became a member shareholder with Hepburn Energy. It can be found on your Statement of Holding.  If you have misplaced your details please contact commnuity@hepburnenergy.com.au for assistance.

How do I update my details?

Please note, Hepburn Energy is transitioning share registry providers which may affect members ability to view or update their shareholding details online. If you have a query on your shareholding please email community@hepburnenergy.coop or phone (03) 5348 6760.

To view & update your shareholding details all Hepburn Energy members use our Shareholder Registry Service Provider – Link Market Services – online Portal.  To log into the platform all members must be registered with Link Market Services and sign in with the Portfolio Login.  

Please view our Update & View Your Membership Details instructions for further details.

How can I see my holding/dividend statements?

Statements of Holding are provided to shareholders at the start of their membership.  

Dividend Statements are emailed to the point of contact directly from our service registry provider Link Market Services when the payments are made.

The best way to view dividends and current holdings is to login to Link Market Services online platform. To log into the platform all members must be registered with Link Market Services and sign in with the Portfolio Login.  

Please view our Update & View Your Membership Details instructions for further details.

What is the current value of shares?

Hepburn Energy is not in a position to provide valuations for shares in the co-operative. Please speak to your financial advisor.

However, as a co-operative, we have a fixed share price for people to purchase shares at $1.10 (share price plus $0.10 premium). The premium was applied from 1 July 2011 and is still valid. Previous to this the share price was $1.00 (back to commencement in 2009).

Will there be a return on investment?

Hepburn Energy receives income from the sale of the electricity generated by the wind farm and associated renewable energy certificates. The project’s cash reserves will be limited in the early years due to debt service obligations and weak market prices.

The board is responsible for recommending the level of rebates and dividends to members for approval at the Annual General Meeting. The directors anticipate that the majority of earnings will be paid to member shareholders as rebates or dividends after making allowance for expenses, working capital, taxation and the contribution to the Impact Fund.

Will the investment returns be taxable?

Returns received from Hepburn Energy will likely be a combination of dividends, rebates and capital returns. These returns will generally be taxable under the Australian taxation system. It is currently forecast that the project will generate few franking credits in the early years of the project.

As every individual’s taxation situation is different, members should seek their own legal and tax advice before investing. We hope you understand that we are not in a position to provide tax advice.

When will I receive returns on my investment?

The Hepburn Energy board has committed to review the position of the co-op with the view to pay a dividend or return of capital (RoC) to members every 2 years (a timeframe set after consultation with members as part of a 2017 survey).

Dividends to date have been paid on 17/6/2019 (2.6c) and 5/3/2021 (2.7c)

How can I sell my shares?

Hepburn Energy is a Cooperative and unlisted, so you cannot sell shares as you would on the Australian Securities Exchange Limited (AXS). As a part owner of Hepburn Energy, if you wish to sell your shareholding you are responsible for doing so.

There are two avenues in which you can sell your shares; you could find a buyer directly yourself or you can connect to potential buyers through Share Connect, an off-market share vendor site that Hepburn Energy has partnered with. You can then complete a shareholding transfer, which includes completing a New Membership and Transfer Share Application form and paying the $50 administrative fee. Please see our Selling Shares Information Booklet for further details on the share sales and transfer process.

If you would like to close your shareholding without selling your shares, another option is to donate your shares back to Hepburn Energy. If you would like more information on donating shares and becoming an Associate Member please email community@hepburnenergy.coop

Community and co-operative questions

What community engagement was undertaken?

Throughout planning, development and our ongoing activities, Hepburn Energy has created opportunities for meaningful community participation with the Energy Park. 

In our early days of establishment, founders ran street stalls, attended local events, conducted home visits, went out to local and regional media and engaged local sustainability groups. 

Developing the solar farm we have worked closely with our local neighbours. Public community engagement was delayed by COVID-19 and information has been circulated in the news, via partnership programs and with community groups and representatives.

What is a co-operative?

A co-operative is similar to a public corporation, in that it is incorporated, issues shares and has the powers of a natural person. 

Whereas the primary responsibility of the board of a company is to maximise the financial return to shareholders within the boundaries of the law, co-operatives are established for the benefit of their members.

Members of a co-operative are generally the co-operative’s customers. In the case of Hepburn Energy, as the co-operative is not an energy retailer, members become customers indirectly through arrangements with Flow Power Powershop. The member’s benefit is only partly realised by the payment of dividends or rebates. In this case, Hepburn Energy provides its members, the local and broader Australian community with the additional benefit of producing emissions-free electricity.

Unlike companies, co-operatives are democratic institutions. Regardless of the number of shares any one shareholder owns, the shareholder always has one vote at meetings. For example, a member investing $100 has as much say as a member investing $100,000.

What are the community benefits of Hepburn Energy?

Hepburn Energy has created a community benefit model that has received local and international recognition. 

For eight years we hosted a Community Fund with a $20,000 annual pool. The Community Fund supported small community grants, our energy fund, neighbourhood benefits and event sponsorship. In 2019 we moved to a new model, the Impact Fund. 

The Impact Fund works with community groups or aligned organisations to develop large legacy projects. Projects have included the development of a schools climate change curriculum and supporting regenerative forestry in Trentham. You can find out more here (link to Impact Fund).

We have also benefited our community by attracting significant State Government investment for our shires zero-net emission transition.

What is the Impact Fund?

The Impact Fund is designed to support our shires’ transition and enhance local resilience. Impact Fund projects can be co-designed with community groups or other partners where appropriate. If you have a project in mind, please read through the Impact Fund guidelines first to see if your project is a good fit.

Financial questions

Does Hepburn Energy publish audited accounts?

Yes. Hepburn Energy is a co-operative incorporated under the Co-operatives National Law (CNL). The CNL imposes standard accounting and auditing requirements on co-operatives similar to those imposed on companies.

Our financial statements form a part of our Annual Report which is lodged with the Victorian Registrar of Co-operatives in accordance with the CNL. You can find these Reports under the ‘Official Member Documents’ section of this page.

How is the project financed?

Hepburn Energy has been financed by a combination of State Government grants, member capital and bank loans.

Solar, wind and battery questions

Why develop a solar farm?

Hepburn Energy is a key partner in Hepburn Z-NET Community Transition Pilot which aims to reach zero-net energy by 2025 and zero-net emissions by 2030. Hepburn Energy is well placed to contribute to the 2025 target as the co-operative has both the technical capacity and physical infrastructure needed to build a mid-scale solar farm. This solar farm would more than double Hepburn Energy’s renewable generation capacity and would benefit our co-operative members with stronger financial returns.

Is solar an efficient and reliable way to produce electricity?

Solar is a highly efficient way to produce electricity and combined with wind, the energy profile will be far more consistent than if it were solar or wind alone.

Why a wind farm?

Our founders were determined to build a renewable energy project that would supply a significant portion of the local electricity demand. The maturity of commercial wind turbine technology, coupled with our above-average local wind resource made a wind farm the obvious choice.

What is the working life of the wind farm?

Typically wind turbines operate for 25 years but require increasing maintenance as they age. New technologies are enabling old wind turbines to be recommissioned and remain effective for longer periods.

What technical studies have been undertaken in developing the Energy Park?

In the initial planning permit for the wind farm the following studies were undertaken: Flora, Fauna, Wind energy, Cultural heritage, Landscape and visual assessment, Shadow flicker/blade glint, Noise impact (pre and post-construction), Geotechnical, Electricity grid connection, Electromagnetic interference, Aviation.

As part of the solar development the following studies have been undertaken: Review of Ecological Assessments, Energy Yield Assessment Power System Study, Bess Feasibility Study, Noise Assessment, Bushfire Risk Assessment Report & Mitigation Plan, Geotechnical Investigation and Development Plans. You can view these here.

Governance questions

How is Hepburn Energy governed?

Hepburn Energy is governed by a board of seven directors, elected by the member shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) based on the co-operative principle of ‘one member, one vote’.

All members 18 years and over may nominate for a directorship in the period before the Annual General Meeting, as prescribed in our rules.