On Saturday 1st November, Community Power Cornwall will be hosting a celebratory event at the base of the first community-owned wind turbines in Cornwall. The turbines were installed by Community Power Cornwall working with Transition St Goran at Gorran Highlanes in 2011, and have now generated over 1 million kWh, powering the equivalent of 221 UK homes annually. The event marks the final weeks of the current share offer; a golden opportunity for local residents who want to own shares in, and find out about the benefits of, renewable energy generation.
The open afternoon, which is open to the general public as well as current and prospective members, will run from 1pm to 5pm. This will be a great opportunity to see the impressive turbines up-close, find out more about how they work, and how they generate an income for the community and a return for investors. Live music from Cornish fiddle group Bagas Crowd and multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Julian Gaskell, light refreshments and the screening of recently produced short films will make for an entertaining afternoon, allowing visitors to get to know the faces behind Community Power Cornwall and experience at first hand the co-operative’s vision for the future.
Gorran Highlanes is a flagship project for Community Power Cornwall, a pioneering social purpose co-operative created to help local people own and benefit from renewable energy generation. The two 80kW Endurance turbines generate substantial amounts of clean green energy, much of the proceeds of which are used to support the co-operative’s social and environmental goals. A percentage of revenue is channelled back into the local Parish via a community benefit fund, which has already seen energy efficiency improvements carried out at the church and village hall. Approximately 75% of the co-operative’s expenditure is spent in Cornwall and 90% in the South West. Most shares in the turbine are held by Cornish residents, retaining more of the financial benefits of harnessing Cornwall’s natural resources in the locality.
The current share offer has encouraged many more people in Cornwall to invest in Gorran and other projects, both established and in development. However Community Power Cornwall want to highlight the opportunity to those in the immediate vicinity of the installation. “We worked in partnership with Transition St. Goran to achieve this major step towards a local energy market,” explained Paul Martin, Executive Director of Community Power Cornwall. “We now want to encourage more people who interact with the turbines every day to join us and become a part of this success story. The minimum shareholding is just £50 and we expect to pay our members a return of 5% pa this year and 6% pa next year before any tax reliefs under the Enterprise Investment Scheme, making this a great opportunity for local people.”
Community Power Cornwall evolved through community demand for ownership and integration of renewable energy technologies into everyday lives and settings. As Paul explains, “The co-operative exists to serve the community by retaining more of the benefits derived from our fantastic natural energy resources here in Cornwall. Each renewable energy development that we bring into community ownership represents an income stream for at least 20 years that should allow us to pay a return to our shareholders as well as supporting our work as it develops.
“We are a group of people who have united voluntarily to meet our common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations around energy, climate and local money flows through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”
Over £180,000 shares have already been applied for in this latest round, eclipsing the co-operative’s first share offer in 2011 which raised £80,000. Approximately 75% of the shares have been applied for by people living in Cornwall.