Gamlingay Community Turbine: Energising village life
17th January 2020
In 2013, a group of people in the village of Gamlingay, Cambridgeshire set up their own wind turbine for the village. Like all good ideas, it started with a conversation in the pub, and grew from strength to strength.
The turbine was installed for three reasons:
- To reduce its carbon footprint (they estimate that the turbine will reduce the amount of fossil fuels used to produce electricity for the village by 10%)
- To raise money for the community by selling the turbine’s power
- To create a good investment opportunity for individuals and businesses in the area.
A small group took on the role of securing buy-in from the rest of the village, holding regular public meetings, leafleting all households, and creating an online forum for enquiries.
We spoke to Mike Brettle, project organiser, to find out how the community turbine has been going over the last few years, and what benefits the village is seeing.
“It’s great to see how the Turbine fund is improving things across the village – long-lasting things like floodlights for the football pitch, and new lighting for the church.”
Mike, you have been a key part of getting the turbine set up. How are you feeling about the project three years on?
It has been great for the village and has had a lot of benefits. In the early days, we had a few objections from people in the village. Many of those people have since said they are happy with the results of the turbine after all, and some have even become friends of mine.
What would you say have been the main benefits of the turbine?
The initial reason for setting up the turbine was to reduce our impact on the environment, and we still see that as a huge benefit.
There have also been numerous benefits to the village. When we set up the contract for Opus Energy to buy the energy generated from the turbine, we also set up a ‘Turbine Fund’. Anyone in the village can apply for funding from this pot – for any project designed to improve the village. So far, the local football pitch has new goal posts and floodlights; the library has a new set of children’s chairs; the history society has a new projector; the church had LED lighting installed and conservation work has taken place at Gamlingay Wood.
How much energy does the turbine generate per year? How many houses does this power?
It generates 10% of the village’s electricity which is about 206 houses per year.
What future plans do you have for the turbine?
We might look at other options for generating renewable energy. We might also look at options for storing the energy which the turbine produces – but we don’t have any concrete plans yet!
Why did you choose Opus Energy as your purchaser for the energy the turbine produces?
I did a lot of research! Opus Energy offered a good price, and great value for money. We needed a lot of technical support getting things started in the beginning. Opus Energy made this easy by speaking with us in plain English, and the technical support and advice they gave was really easy to understand.
“We needed a lot of technical support in the beginning. Opus Energy spoke with us in plain English and made everything really easy to understand.”
And why do you stay with Opus Energy?
We review the rate regularly and are happy with the price we get. We also have a great relationship with the Renewables team at Opus Energy, who are very supportive. I would recommend Opus Energy to other energy generators – in fact, I already have!
Interested in generating your own power? Visit the Opus Energy website to get started.
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