Supermarket chain Colruyt offers customers chance to invest in wind

Belgian supermarket chain Colruyt has added a new twist to the traditional co-operative philosophy with the announcement that it is to offer its customers the chance to invest in an 8 MW wind farm planned for an industrial estate in Ieper, Flanders. Colruyt is seeking site permits for four, 2 MW units to be built on land leased from a number of businesses along the Ieperlee canal, says the company's Ludo Swervon. Colruyt intends set up a co-operative society allowing customers, personnel, and local residents and businesses in Ieper to invest in the farm. The canal site has been earmarked for wind development in the Flemish government's regional wind plan and the plant, which is to be built in line formation, should generate some 16 million kWh a year. It was the company's "very positive experience" with a Vestas 1.65 MW used to power Colruyt's refrigerated warehouse complex in Halle since 1999 which provided the inspiration for the project. "The Halle site is very similar to the planned project and we know from our experience there that problems with flicker and noise are virtually non-existent."

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