Plans for a £10million co-operative wind farm on moorland above the Colne Valley are a step closer.
After seven years in the planning, a formal application has been submitted to Kirklees Council which is expected to be published in days.
Valley Wind Co-operative, a community-based wind project, wants to put up three 100m wind turbines off New Hey Road, near to the former Nont Sarah’s pub and Cupwith Reservoir.
Local people can become shareholders and proceeds of around £150,000 a year will be ploughed back into the community.
Steve Slator, of Marsden, is one of the nine directors of the Valley Wind Co-operative.
He said: “This is an opportunity for us as a community to own electricity generation capacity and take some power away from the Big Six energy companies.
“The project will bring in a regular annual income to support community projects in the Colne Valley and offers a real local investment opportunity.
“It also helps our community make a positive contribution to the fight against climate change, by reducing CO2 emissions by over 10,000 tonnes annually.
“It has been a long slog to get to this stage which is a great credit to the hard work of our voluntary committee and supporters.
“We have been really encouraged by the community support for the project and we’re looking forward to taking it through the planning process.”
The co-operative will need to raise around £10m to fund construction of the wind project – £4m by bank loan and £6m in shares.
Local people will get the first chance to buy shares before it is extended nationwide and people can invest from £250 to £20,000.
They say similar wind energy co-operative schemes offer a 6-9% annual return.
The turbines would generate enough green, renewable electricity for the national grid to power over 4,700 homes a year – about as many as all the homes in Slaithwaite and Marsden.
The planning application features reports assessing ecology, birdlife, landscape, noise, shadow flicker, geology and archeology impact.
They’re all issues often submitted against wind turbine proposals and Mr Slator, a retired company director, hopes the answers will provide reassurance.
“At the public exhibition in Slaithwaite 90% were in favour and 10% were against – we realise not everyone will support it, but I hope our intention will lead to support.
“There are many possible ways this can support the community, renewable energy is one, but in terms of helping bring back things we’ve lost like the public toilets or help towards school crossing patrols.
“We could help businesses and community start-ups.
“Nothing has been decided so all options are open.”
For more information visit www.valleywind.coop
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