People for wind power
In Scotland, the first 100 percent co-op-owned wind turbine is going up, and in Australia, a new video shows how much locals enjoy the wind turbines on their land.
Over at its new website, the Dingwall Wind Co-op claims to be "the first wind turbine in Scotland 100 percent owned by a co-op." It's a relatively small turbine at only 250 kilowatts – the standard today is around 1.5 megawatts, some six times bigger – but otherwise the business concept seems similar to what is practiced in Germany, a market largely driven by energy co-ops.
For instance, shares of start at a mere 250 pounds, a level low enough to allow people who don't have a lot of money to get involved nonetheless. Furthermore, regardless of your state, you get a single vote; energy co-ops are based on democratic principles, unlike shares in stock corporations, where your number of shares determines your number of votes.
In a phone call with Renewables International, a spokesman for the energy co-op said that "100 percent co-op" means that this is the first project in which the co-op is the primary owner. "We may need bank loans, but we hope we are actually oversubscribed and can do without them," he explained. The other energy co-op projects for wind power in Scotland are apparently owned by a private firm that has set aside a small stake in the project for the co-op. An overview of energy co-ops in the UK is available at the Energy4All website.
The project is literally "open to everyone," but the co-op spokesperson said that, in the case of oversubscription, people would be prioritized by proximity. Energy co-ops generally focus on giving local residents greater input in the project.
In similar news, Australian wind power campaigner Neil Barrett has put together a video containing interviews with local residents who have wind turbines installed on their land. The 12-minute condensed version is here, or see this website for the full-length interviews. Overall, Barrett found that locals are quite happy with their turbines, and none of them had any of the "symptoms" complained about by some opponents of wind power. (Craig Morris)