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United Kingdom

TAKING THE CO-OPERATIVE IDEAL TO BRITAIN

Vindkompaniet, a small Swedish company specialising in forming wind plant ownership co-operatives among local people, is to develop a project of seven, 500 kW wind turbines in England under a contract won under the third round of the UK's Non Fossil Fuel Obligation. The wind farm will be built in two steps with an evaluation of the impact on local people in between.

Windkompaniet, a small Swedish company specialising in forming wind plant ownership co-operatives among local people, is to develop a project of seven, 500 kW wind turbines in England under a contract won under NFFO-3, the third round of the UK's Non Fossil Fuel Obligation. Together with English architect Keith Boxer, Vindkompaniet has set up a British subsidiary, The Wind Company UK Ltd, to introduce co-operative wind power in England. The NFFO contract was awarded in the category for smaller projects, under 1.6 MW declared net capacity.

The seven turbines are slated for a site at Harlock Hill in Cumbria and The Wind Company has gone to great effort to inform the local population of its plans and get them to support the project -- not hard in an area overshadowed by the Sellafield nuclear facility. The wind farm will be built in two steps, four turbines will be erected in October, followed by an evaluation of their impact on local people, before the remaining three turbines are erected in autumn 1996.

"This is a very good project, also from an economic point of view," says Staffan Nicklasson from Vindkompaniet. The wind speed is around 8 m/s and we get £0.054/kWh for 15 years. Now we are looking for locations along the coast for more projects." Staff from the British Department of Trade and Industry's Energy Technology Support Unit visited Gotland twice last year to get an idea of how community-owned wind power works.

In Sweden, Vindkompaniet has applied for permission to build two wind farms on Öland. The first, at Kastlösam is to use 20, WindWorld 500 kW turbines. The second, at Degerhamm, is to use 13 newly developed 250 kW units, again from WindWorld. Last year, the regional planning authorities formulated guidelines for wind power on Öland, an island with large areas enjoying protected status. A few locations have been identified as suitable for wind development. Both Vindkompaniet projects are located in these areas and expect to win planning permission. The wind farms will be sold partially to a local co-operative, set up for the purpose, and partially to private companies.

Meanwhile on Gotland, Vindkompaniet is busy building Näsudden Väst, a wind plant of 19, WindWorld 500 kW turbines. The company also has planning permission for another ten 500 kW units at Hablingbo, a few miles north of Näsudden. Once these projects are complete, along with the projects of several other developers planned for Gotland, the entire island will be served by wind power when electricity demand is low and winds are strong.

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