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Machynlleth's second community-owned wind turbine

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Ty Bro Dyfi

Y Plas,
Machynlleth, Powys, SY20 8ER, UK.
phone: 01654 703965
e-mail: info@ecodyfi.org.uk

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ecodyfi press release31/8/2006

The co-operative that put up the first community-owned wind turbine in Wales is about to put up its second one - on a hill just north of Machynlleth.

The skyline of the Dyfi Valley will change, with the erection of a 500kW wind turbine on Mynydd Glandulas by the group called Bro Dyfi Community Renewables (BDCR).

This will replace the 600kW turbine currently on the site.

"The existing turbine was a research model on which a number of ideas were tested.

As with all research, some bits worked and some bits didn't, so the turbine has not been operating for a while! However, it's a good windy site for a turbine, so it made sense to buy the site from the Centre for Alternative Technology, take the old turbine down and replace it" explained Duncan Kerridge, of BDCR.

"The new turbine will generate about the same amount of electricity every year as is required to power a third of Machynlleth homes and is expected to operate for fifteen years."

Whilst wind turbines are a great source of clean and renewable energy, most are owned by large companies.

This means that most of the profits they generate can easily leave the area.

This has led to an increasing interest in other ways of financing energy projects.

An obvious alternative is for turbines to be owned by local people, and this is already happening in the Dyfi Valley.

Bro Dyfi Community Renewables was established in 2001 to develop community owned renewable energy projects.

Their first project was a 75kW wind turbine at Cilgwyn, above Pantperthog.

This turbine has been generating renewable energy since 2003 and the 55 shareholders receive an annual dividend.

"Following the success of the first project, we were looking to install another renewable energy system, and this seemed like an ideal opportunity" explains Duncan.

The Forestry Commission provided the Cilgwyn site and have been helpful again in allowing access through their land to Mynydd Glandulas.

In addition, two farmers are involved as landowners, and the rights to the site itself have been bought from the Centre for Alternative Technology.

As with the first project, the share offer for the second turbine was fully subscribed.

150 people bought £175,500 of shares, so they jointly own the 43 metre high turbine.

This is a little shorter than the one it replaces.

Both the BDCR turbines have been refurbished and given a second lease of life, having given several years' service on the continent.

Community projects such as this allow local people to benefit, said the BDCR Chair, John Williams.

"Thanks to grant funding from the European Union via Mid Wales Energy Agency and ecodyfi, 30% of the profit will go back to ecodyfi to be spent on community regeneration work in the Dyfi Valley," he said.

"They will spend some of this supporting and promoting low-carbon travel options such as cycling and buses.

In this way, the community as a whole benefits, as well as the 220 people who are members of the co-op, the landowners who receive rent and the local contractors who erect and maintain it."

ecodyfi's Andy Rowland paid tribute to the Welsh Assembly Government, who paid for some of the development work when they were still known as the WDA, and the voluntary committee of BDCR.

"It's easier to make large projects pay than small-scale ones like this," he said, "and involving so many people takes a lot of time and effort".

John Williams went on to say how vital it is that we reduce carbon dioxide emissions, in order to minimise the effects of climate change.

"The UK Government is working towards a target of renewable energy provision amounting to 10% of electricity supplies by 2010," he said.

"Wind energy has been identified as one of the most viable means to achieve this target and it's great to be a small part of this."

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