Work starts at wind turbine energy co-operative site

Director of Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative, Andrew McMurray, left, with are Sarah (6) and Katie (6) McKee and Paul Phare, right, from Drumlin along with South Antrim MLA David Ford and chairman of Drumlin Nigel Brady mark the beginning of construction on Northern Ireland's first community-owned wind energy project. INLT 47-611-CON
Director of Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative, Andrew McMurray, left, with are Sarah (6) and Katie (6) McKee and Paul Phare, right, from Drumlin along with South Antrim MLA David Ford and chairman of Drumlin Nigel Brady mark the beginning of construction on Northern Ireland's first community-owned wind energy project. INLT 47-611-CON

WORK has begun on Northern Ireland’s first community-owned wind energy initiative.

A sod-cutting ceremony with South Antrim MLA David Ford last week marked the beginning of construction for the Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative.

The event follows a successful public share offer which to date has raised £1.7 million - enough to build two of the five proposed 250kW wind turbines on single sites across the Province.

The ceremony was held at the site of the first wind turbine in Larne and on the day, members who have already invested and visitors had the opportunity to hear more about how the innovative investment model is designed to enable local people to take direct ownership of a sustainable and ethical renewable energy project in their area.

Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative was launched in June and is aiming to raise up to £3.4m by November 30 to build five 250KW single wind turbines across five sites including Pomeroy, Kells, Larne (Ballyboley Road) and Ballyclare. With a minimum share investment of £250, the scheme is open to first-time and seasoned investors.

Director Andrew McMurray, said: “This is a very exciting milestone for Drumlin – the co-operative model has been a huge success for other renewable energy projects across the UK and Europe and now people in Northern Ireland are getting the opportunity to directly benefit from a community co-operative energy scheme.

Alliance Justice Minister David Ford added: “With concerns about sustainability and climate change continually topping the political agenda, it is vital that we consider innovative ways to harness green energy sources. Drumlin is a truly revolutionary project offering local people the opportunity to directly own a stake in renewable energy.”