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Last Updated:  Friday, 4 April, 2003, 12:12 GMT 13:12 UK
Villagers switch on to wind power
Pantperthog wind turbine
A pioneering scheme has seen residents in mid Wales unite to set up the UK's first community-developed wind turbine.

Based at Pantperthog, near Machynlleth, the turbine is owned and managed by 59 shareholders of Bro Dyfi Community Renewables Ltd.

The idea for the 81,000 scheme emerged three years ago at a meeting in the village hall when local people decided to do all the development and construction work.

The share issue was so popular that maximum investment was reduced from 20,000 to 1,000 so that everybody who applied could be part of the project.

It's taken a lot of effort but it's great to see that we can take energy production into our own hands like this to fight climate change and strengthen the local economy
Vicky Leaney, wind group's co-chair

And from Saturday, electricity from the turbine will start to power the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) at Machynlleth which has agreed to buy all the power generated.

Half of the power will supply its own site with electricity and hot water and the rest is to be sold to the local grid.

Dividend

"It's taken a lot of effort but it's great to see that we can take energy production into our own hands like this to fight climate change and strengthen the local economy," said Vicky Leaney, the co-chair of Bro Dyfi Community Renewables.

The community took up the challenge because CAT could not afford to replace an existing turbine.

"Locals were keen to get a community turbine up and running so we discussed the matter with CAT who agreed to buy all our electricity if we managed the turbine," said Mrs Leaney.

Locals painting the turbine
The whole community helped plan, paint and erect the turbine

It is estimated that shareholders will get an 8%dividend on their investment next year.

Andy Rowland, the manager of community regeneration group, Ecodyfi, which supported the scheme, said:

"This is the UKs first community-developed wind turbine with people from the Dyfi Valley controlling the scheme from the start."

The electricity generated by the 22m tall turbine will slow climate change by preventing the release into the atmosphere of 70 tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.

The turbine's 75kW output provides enough power to provide electricity for 50 houses.

A CAT spokesman said the scheme would benefit the local community as well as the centre.

"It is wonderful to see local people taking control in this way.

The community wind turbine
Height 22m
Diameter 17.5m
Power 75kW
Efficiency 30%

"We would like to see this pioneering project replicated across the country."

The turbine will be switched on by Cynog Dafis in one of his last acts before standing down as a Plaid Cymru AM.

The project was supported by Ecodyfi and Powys Energy Agency which secured European and other grant-aid.




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