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Community turbine blows up another myth

Community turbine blows up the myth that wind doesn’t pay.

July 19, 2011 by LCCN

Hockerton’s community-owned wind turbine is beginning to reap financial rewards for both its shareholders and the village. It has just paid out its first interest payment to members of 5%, only 18 months after production started. It has also made money available to the village.
So how can this revenue support the development of a sustainable future for the village as a whole:
What is the right balance for the social, environmental and economic pillars of sustainable development?
When home heating is such a high proportion of a household’s carbon emissions, what is the fairest approach to incentivise insulation and renewable heating when this could well improve a home’s value?

And how do residents benefit from national programmes such as the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation whilst benefitting from local skills and funding options?
These are the questions we will have to answer as a community, as long-term success of sustainable development depends on decisions and actions by the village. It is not something done to a community - which we hope will be recognised in the trials announced in the Government’s review of ‘Energy Use and Behaviour Change’. Many of these trials focus on information for energy consumers, not least because this is an area that the Government has some control over, but at Hockerton we’re more interested in the trials of community-based approaches such as collective purchasing and community rewards.

Our experience and understanding of community-based approaches has led to our involvement in a new research project run by Leicester University. It is looking at how communities may adapt to the challenges of climate change. Unlike Government’s fragmented policy-making, it is taking a holistic view of a community’s reliance on and access to energy, food and water as well as the impacts on landscape. That is what we try to do here at Hockerton, but no doubt continuing energy price rises can only help our efforts to engage others in the broader issues.

Finally, there is some good news for community interest companies following in Sustainable Hockerton’s footsteps: the Government has announced that it will continue to allow community-based renewable energy schemes to qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme. This is a welcome reversal which again recognises the importance of community involvement in the low carbon transition.

You can find out more of what Sustainable Hockerton have done on their web site - http://www.sustainablehockerton.org