INITIAL AGREEMENT SIGNED FOR BULLINGTON CROSS WIND FARM COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP SCHEME
Local community ownership of part of the proposed Bullington Cross wind farm has moved a step closer with an initial agreement being reached by the organisations involved.
Hampshire Energy Group (HEG), the local renewable energy co-operative, has now signed a formal memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the wind farm developer EDF Energy Renewables to confirm the joint intent of the parties and the principles of the proposed deal.
Under the terms of the MOU, the proposed Bullington Cross community share ownership scheme will give Hampshire Energy Group the option to purchase a revenue share of up to 10% in the wind farm development on behalf of its co-operative members.
Funds generated by the wind farm stake will be used to pay an annual interest to members, with any surplus being re-invested by the co-operative in other local community owned renewable energy and energy efficiency projects.
Martin Heath, HEG spokesperson, said: “This is a great step forward for community energy in Hampshire. This will give our local community the opportunity to invest in and benefit from wind farming.
“It’s the first time a community wind farm has been developed in Hampshire and will hopefully be the first of many community energy projects in the county.”
He added, “There is still a lot of discussion required with EDF Energy Renewables to complete the deal, but the MOU is an important step.”
The proposed Bullington Cross wind farm would comprise 14 turbines with a generating capacity of 28MW of low carbon electricity – equivalent to the average annual needs of 15,150 households*.
Earlier this year, EDF Energy Renewables submitted a planning application for the development site to Winchester City Council, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and Test Valley Borough Council. A decision on the planning application is anticipated in early 2014.
Darren Cuming, onshore wind development manager at EDF Energy Renewables, said: “The discussions with Hampshire Energy Group have been very positive and we are delighted to have reached this initial agreement.
“The MOU confirms the intention of both parties and our support for their community share proposal. Negotiations will now continue to further develop the details of the ownership agreement.
“This is a potentially significant deal for us as a developer and for the county, and demonstrates the level of support locally for the project. I’m hopeful that we can work towards a final agreement that not only encourages positive local involvement in the scheme but also maximises the economic benefits of the project for the local community.”
* Based on information sourced from Digest of UK Energy Statistics and Department of Energy and Climate Change