Pioneering People-Power

The latest wind turbine to be erected on a welsh hillside marks a new direction for Renewable Energy production in England: local community ownership. There are already hundreds of turbines whirling away across the British Isles, but this one is unique. It is not owned by a large, energy company: it is owned and managed by the surrounding community.

Machynlleth, England – April 8, 2003 [] The idea for the project was born three years ago at a community meeting in Pantperthog Village Hall. After some initial research, grant money was raised for the project and the Bro Dyfi Community Renewables group was set up. Almost 60 local people became members of the partnership, each investing money for the realization of the project. It was such a popular scheme that, to allow as many people to invest as had applied, the maximum investment was reduced from £20,000 to £1,000 (US$31,200 to US$1,560). The single, Vestas V17, 75 kW wind turbine is near Machynlleth, above the Center for Alternative Technology (CAT). CAT will buy all the power generated (around 163 MWh each year). It will use about half of this to supply its site with electricity and hot water and export the rest to the local grid. This means that the benefits will stay in the community and the people who have invested in the turbine will also be able to use the generated energy. The project’s advantages are social, financial and environmental. As the energy is sold, shareholders will receive a dividend on their investment. The electricity generated by the wind turbine will slow climate change by preventing the release into the atmosphere of 70 tons of carbon dioxide every year. “It’s great to see people fighting climate change and strengthening their local economy by taking energy production into their own hands like this,” said Andy Rowland, the director of Ecodyfi, a community regeneration group that steered the project and obtained a European grant for it. CAT’s website listed below also has an extensive image of the community wind turbine at different stages of construction.
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