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Wind Power
1 March 2008

Adam Twine before construction of the windfarm began.

Adam Twine is an organic farmer near Swindon in Oxfordshire. He also established the first community owned windfarm in southern England his own land.

Westmill Co-Op windfarm began generating electricity in February 2008. We spoke to Adam to find out more.

Why did you build a windfarm?

I have been aware of energy issues for a long time. I was inspired by anti nuclear campaigns and pioneering renewable energy projects. 

Then in the 1980s it was important to look at other forms of income for the farm. One of the resources was a huge open field. I realised it had potential for a windfarm.

Why is it 100% community owned?

When I originally started, the idea of having community ownership was a pipe dream. I had no idea whether or not I could make it happen.

The idea of local ownership has always been important to me. There should be something in it for local people.

What's in it for shareholders?

Obviously the feel-good factor of supporting the windfarm and making a change happen. Some people will be looking for a return on their investment.

Three of the five turbines at Westmill windfarm 
Three of the five turbines at Westmill windfarm

How important was it to have local support?

I wouldn't have pursued this project if it was really flying in the face of local opinion. The initial legal and planning process took 5 years.

By then the turbines we originally wanted were no longer available. We then applied for bigger and better turbines but there were more difficulties.

Thank goodness for Friends of the Earth. I am really appreciative of their very strong support.

Adam Twine

Local people actively supported me when I flagged. When I had my work cut out they popped up out of the woodwork and put energy in.

What can such a small project contribute?

The windfarm will provide green electricity for over 2,700 homes. But the significance of the windfarm is much bigger than its overall output.

It has been initiated and carried through by local people. That's what is important, not that there are only five turbines.

The last turbine is erected on 30th January 
The last turbine is erected on 30th January.

What has been the highlight so far?

During a public debate an opponent said the turbines were obscene.  A local supporter replied that the real obscenity is climate change.

That moment is what's it all about, when you get down to what is real

I hope what we have done will be picked up by others and inspire them - I would be disappointed if it doesn't.

Adam Twine

Press for change

You can help support a windfarm on our Press for Change page.

Resource

Are you interested in starting your own community windfarm? Energy4All's great new website will take you through all the necessary steps.

Adam Twine, organic farmer

© Energy 4 all

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