Construction of a £4.4m wind farm in Oxfordshire, financed by the community, is scheduled to start after 15 years of planning and design delays.
The electricity – enough to light up 2,500 homes for 25 years – will be sold to a local power company.
The farm is to be located at Watchfield on the Oxfordshire and Wiltshire border, at the site of an old airfield.
The money was put up by 2,394 people who formed the Westmill Wind Farm Co-op to manage the business.
The five 1.3Mw turbines have been ordered and are due to be delivered in January.
Mark Luntley, chair of the group, said: “The wind farm will generate clean, carbon free electricity over the coming 25 years.”
The project was the brainchild of farmer Adam Twine, who said they went through three sets of planning permission processes.
The first took five years but by then the turbines they wanted to buy were obsolete.
The second application came quickly but the contractor suggested that if the blades were expanded by five more metres it would increase the amount of power from 8,000MwH (megawatt hours) to 12,000MwH.
After returning to the drawing board, re-submitting their planning application and getting approval, the demand for windmills had outstripped production capacity and they were placed in queue, Mr Twine explained.
“When things got tough we went out into the community and people just turned up out of the woodwork to put up the money,” he said.
The Westmill Co-op was formed and shares were issued for amounts ranging from £200 to £20,000 – raising £4.4m.
Angela Duignan, development director of Energy4All, said it was a “great positive milestone” for the industry.
14 August 2007
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