Energy Secretary Chris Huhne will today open an £11m upgrade of the UK’s first commercial windfarm.
Delabole windfarm in Cornwall is owned and operated by 100% renewable electricity firm Good Energy and it provides the company with 20% of the total power it supplies to its 26,000 customers.
The company has run the windfarm since 2002 and has replaced its original 10 turbines with four that are more powerful. The facility will now have a total combined capacity of 9.2MW, enough to supply around 7,000 homes with electricity, which is more than double the previous output.
Good Energy has invested £11.8m on the overhaul, with £9.6m debt finance provided by the Co-operative Bank.
Mr Huhne praised Delabole for remaining “at the forefront of best practice”.
He added: “All too often, local communities can see the windfarms but not the windfall.Wind is an abundant, clean, home-grown alternative to fossil fuels. It can’t be blown off course by instability abroad, and so it’s vital that we use it for our low carbon, energy security.”
As part of the upgrade, Good Energy is setting up a community fund worth £9,000 a year to finance projects that benefit the Delabole community.The fund will be supplemented by a community investment bond scheme that will also enable local residents to benefit from the windfarm and which will be rolled out to other future wind developments planned by Good Energy.
Delabole is the first of several renewable energy development projects from Good Energy. These schemes amount to 50MW of new capacity across the UK, enough to power a town roughly the size of Cambridge, and will includecommunity investment schemes similar to that at Delabole.
Good Energy chief executive Juliet Davenport said: “We’d like to thank the Delabole community for their help and support throughout the repowering process. It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate its completion together.”
This week the Co-operative Bank announced it would increase its lending to renewables projects from £400m to £1bn.
In its latest ethical statement the bank said it would be targeting small to medium projects with a capital value of up to £25m.