The media continue to follow the progress of our community-owned wind turbine with interest, and today BBC Nottingham provides an online update.
So far the turbine has generated over 240,000Kwh of electricity (latest figures from end of December 2010), the equivalent to saving the emission of 136 tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.
The energy generated to date is worth approximately £54,000 and Sustainable Hockerton is hoping to pay investors a return of 5% for its first year of operation, with remaining monies funding sustainable projects in the village.
After reducing the energy demand of the houses significantly through insulation and the harvesting of passive solar energy, one option to offset the remaining energy consumption was to introduce on-site generation. We’re taking a different approach however, and investing in off-site generation.
Each house will have £1,500 of shares in a local community wind turbine project (in reality the house doesn’t have the shares, but the social landlord, Newark and Sherwood Homes (NSH) does). This investment is predicted to generate about 2,500kWh of electricity per year, effectively offsetting the equivalent consumption in the homes. NSH get an annual return on that investment, and no maintenance headaches of on-site renewables; and the tenant doesn’t get technology that they don’t understand and/or cannot operate.
And financially it stacks up too. Consider if we’d put solar panels on the roof (if we’d had the luxury of a south-facing roof). A 1kWp array (occupying around 10sqm of roof space) would have set us back about £6,000 and generated around 800kWh per year. Yet for a quarter of that cost we get in excess of 3 times the output, and none of the hassle of maintaining/operating it.
Today was the official opening (by Alan Simpson MP) of the community wind turbine at the nearby village of Hockerton. The houses couldn’t be there, but we went along for them and recorded the video below.
Hockerton Housing Project launched their new renewable energy systems by holding an event on Saturday 14th September with over 50 guests including locals, promoters and installers of renewable energy systems.
Professor Peter Smith (Sheffield Hallam University), who is Vice President for Sustainable Development(RIBA), was guest speaker at the event. Here is an extract from his speech.
…As I see it, Hockerton symbolizes the ultimate sustainable net zero energy solution in a rural setting…These are the cutting edge and prototypes for the future.
At present housing alone accounts for around 28% of all CO2 emissions in England and Wales. You [at HHP] have demonstrated that housing, far from being part of the problem, can be part of the solution.
In 2002 HHP erected a 5kW wind turbine and installed a 7.65kW array of photovoltaics. The HHP wind turbine is one of very few examples in the UK of a community owned wind turbine, supplying owners directly with ‘clean’ renewable energy.
The HHP development meets a number of the highest environmental housing standards in the UK, namely, Zero CO2 and Autonomous.
The Newark Advertiser covers this month’s voting on our wind turbine, bringing success after five years of planning applications…
Conservation pioneers were celebrating this week after winning a five year battle to build an 85ft wind turbine to power their homes.
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s planning committee backed the Hockerton Housing Project’s latest bid to erect the electricity generating windmill at its meeting.
The proposals, which have divided opinion in Hockerton, were approved by the narrowest of margins – the committee finding in favour of the turbine four votes to three, with one abstention.
Residents of the project have been seeking approval for the scheme since January 1995 and have seen three applications fail.
An appeal to the Department of the Environment against the rejection of their application in August 1995 was dismissed on the grounds the turbine would be an eyesore.
But Mrs Trudi White, a Hockerton Housing Project resident, said the mood at the development was now jubilant.
“It is just fantastic. We have struggled for so long for this, repeatedly hitting our head against a brick wall and having to contend with some very nasty personal comments from objectors.
“We have continued because we believe it to be the right thing to do.”
Mrs White said the residents needed to raise £10,000 to build the turbine but they hoped to have it in place on Mystery Hill next year.
And she said she hoped the animosity between the supporters and objectors would subside.
“What I hope is that, in time, a lot of the concerns will be alleviated. I think people will realise there has been a lot of fuss about nothing.”
At last week’s planning meeting the turbine plan was criticised by the committee’s Conservative members.
Mr Keith Sheppard (Con) said although the Hockerton Housing Project residents would benefit from the turbine, it would be at a cost to other locals.
“It is going to be catering for them but at a price for the village. This structure of 80-odd foot only benefits five houses. If it was going to supply the village I could understand it, but it is not,” he said.
Mr Vincent Dobson (Con) said: “This is going to be a monster. What consideration have we got for the people that live close to it? I think it is outrageous,” he said.
Mrs Sylvia Michael (Con), whose Caunton ward includes the Hockerton site, also addressed the meeting.
She urged members to think carefully before making any decision and said she supported Hockerton Parish Council which objected to the scheme on visual grounds.
“Two hundred metres away from the nearest property is not very far for something that towers 85ft into the sky.”
But council leader Mr Stan Crawford (Lab), chairman of the Newark and Sherwood Energy Agency, strongly defended the turbine plan.
“It is about the future, not only of their families, but others and the wider community and, in fact, the planet.
“I think there is a lot of fear of the unknown. We are talking about the final piece of the jigsaw in a very innovative project.”