Pennine Community Power: collectively owned wind turbine

Pennine Community PowerPennine Community Power is a Community Benefit Society founded with the aim of generating renewable energy within the Upper Calder Valley and distributing the profits to fund further local sustainability projects.  Here’s how we got our first project off the ground in 2012.

Our projects

  • After investigating the potential of solar, wind and hydro projects, we decided to explore the possibility of using a community wind turbine to achieve or goals. Blackshaw Head has an abundance of wind resources, and the cost of a turbine taken together with the potential for revenue generation and investment payback, made a wind turbine the stand out choice.
  • After taking advice on the most appropriate organisational structure, we decided to set up a Community Benefit Society to allow us to issue community shares with the objective of raising the £60,000 necessary to construct the turbine. At the same time, we started to apply for grant funding, located a suitable site to host the turbine, and selected the most appropriate turbine model. After obtaining planning permission, we received the fantastic news that we had been awarded £30,000 by Village SOS/Big Lottery Fund.
  • To meet the approaching Feed in Tariff deadline, we had to raise the remaining £30,000 relatively quickly. We launched the share offer at the end of June 2012, to run for a total of 15 years with a suggested interest of 4% per annum based on our projected revenue from the turbine. The response was fantastic and by the beginning of August we had recruited a total of 65 shareholders (members) and the project could go ahead!
  • Our 10kW, Bergey Excel turbine was erected during September and October 2012 and was fully commissioned by the end of October.

Successes and savings

During November and December 2012 the turbine produced 5,400 kWh for which we were paid £1600 through the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT). By July 2013 the turbine produced 20,000 kWh – on target for the expected annual production of 25,000 kWh. This is likely to save 13 tonnes of CO2 each year.

Difficulties

Grid connection turned out to be a bigger problem than we had anticipated: an unexpected £16,000 extra cost.

During the winter 2012/13 the turbine made different types of noises and we had complaints from the neighbours. It took a long time for the wind turbine company to come and address the problems. We won’t know until we have the strong winter storms again whether all the noise issues have been sorted but some of them have.

In the Spring of 2013 Ofgem suddenly suspended our Feed-In-Tariff payments while they were investigating whether our £30,000 grant constituted State Aid. In the end we had to return some grant in order to have our FIT payments reinstated. We raised/will raise this money through a new share offer.

Links

You can keep up to date with all of PCP’s activities and see how much power the community turbine is producing at www.powerinthecommunity.org

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