Turbine tours raise profile of community energy co-op

Blustery weather conditions on Saturday, 1st November, provided an excellent opportunity for local residents to see their two community owned wind turbines working close to their full capacity during an open afternoon hosted by Community Power Cornwall at Gorran Highlanes.

Two 80 kW Endurance turbines were installed by Community Power Cornwall working with Transition St Goran at Gorran Highlanes in 2011 and have now generated over 1 million kWh, powering the equivalent of 221 UK homes annually. The event marked the final weeks of the current share offer, providing an opportunity for local residents who want to own shares in and find out about the benefits of renewable energy generation.
Around 80 people, including St Austell and Newquay MP Stephen Gilbert, took the opportunity to take a close up look at one of the turbines and find out more about how they work, and how they generate an income for the community and a return for investors.

Gorran Highlanes is a flagship project for Community Power Cornwall, a pioneering social purpose co-operative created to help local people own and benefit from renewable energy generation. The two turbines generate substantial amounts of clean green energy, much of the proceeds are used to support the co-operative’s social and environmental goals and a percentage of the proceeds are channelled back into the local Parish via a community benefit fund, which has already seen energy efficiency improvements carried out at the church and village hall.

Neil Farrington, Technical Director of Community Power Cornwall, said: “It was great to see such good attendance at the event from our co-operative’s existing members along with prospective investors and locals who were curious about the two turbines and how they are directly benefiting the local community as well as providing a financial return for investors. Our current share offer closes on 28th November so those who missed the event still have time to download our share offer document from our website and apply for shares in order to be part of our growing community-owned renewable energy movement”.

Community Power Cornwall evolved through community demand for ownership and integration of renewable energy technologies into everyday lives and settings. Paul Martin, Executive Director of Community Power Cornwall explains, “The co-operative exists to serve the community by retaining more of the benefits derived from our fantastic natural energy resources here in Cornwall. Each renewable energy development that we bring into community ownership represents an income stream for at least 20 years that should allow us to pay a return to our shareholders as well as supporting our work as it develops. Most shares in the co-operative are held by Cornish residents, retaining more of the financial benefits of harnessing Cornwall’s natural resources in the locality”.

The minimum shareholding in Community Power Cornwall is £50 and the co-operative expects to pay its members a return of 5% pa this year and 6% pa next year before any tax reliefs under the Enterprise Investment Scheme. Close to £200,000 shares have already been applied for in this latest round, eclipsing the co-operative’s first share offer in 2011 which raised £80,000.