Westmill Wind Farm Co-op – the first 100% community owned onshore wind farm in the south-east of England – has welcomed more than 10,000 visitors to its site since it first began operating in 2008.
Located in Watchfield, Swindon, Westmill Wind Farm attracts both locals and people from further afield.
The brainchild of Adam Twine – a third generation farmer, who has worked 1200 acres in the Wiltshire countryside for over 35 years – the energy co-operative has five large wind turbines and around 2,500 members.
Profits from the 5 turbines are distributed to community funds, such as sustainable energy and educational activities along with share interest to the members.
In 2012, the co-op ventured in to solar energy when it acquired Westmill Solar Park.
The cooperative’s five turbines and 20,000 solar powers produce around 15GW hours of electricity every year – enough to power 3,700 homes. The wind and solar farm saves up to 5,000 of CO2 a year by generating enough clean renewable electricity to power two nearby villages – Watchfield and Shrivenham.
Adam Twine said: “It took over 12 years to get the wind project off the ground and with the help if a committed group of people we managed to then expand our renewable ambitions with a wonderful solar array.
“This has not only led to the production of clean energy but benefited the local community in so many ways.”
There are currently around 222 community organisations operating solar, hydro or wind power schemes across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They create enough electricity to power 130,000 homes – equivalent to a city the size of Cardiff.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea