A community-owned wind energy project – the first of its kind in Northern Ireland – has generated its first units of electricity this week.
Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative launched the scheme in June 2012 with a public share offer and raised £2.7m, enough to build four 250KW single wind turbines across four sites in Northern Ireland, including one in the Larne area,
The innovative model allows local people to take direct ownership of renewable energy, deriving both financial and environmental benefits from the scheme.
The first units of electricity have now been generated and members of the Drumlin Board were there to see it.
Nigel Brady, chairman of Drumlin said: “Today is a little piece of history for Northern Ireland.
“This is the first co-operatively owned wind turbine in Northern Ireland to generate electricity for the benefit of our people and we thank members for their support in helping us achieve this significant milestone.”
“The co-operative model is driven by principles of fairness, democracy and sustainability, and offers a new and viable way of doing business in Northern Ireland.”
The project has been created by Belfast Company NRG Solutions in partnership with Cumbria-based social enterprise Energy4All.
Together they have formed the Drumlin Co-op, with a Board mostly made up of individuals from Northern Ireland. A total of 753 people have invested from as little as £250 to be part owner of the turbines, and £2,000 per turbine per year will be donated to good causes.
Andrew McMurray, a director of Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative and initiator of the project said: “It has taken four years of enjoyable work to bring the project to fruition, and I feel enormously proud to see a win/win for the environment, local community and members receiving their return on investment.”
The success of Drumlin has led the board to propose developing two more turbines, including one in Ballyclare.
The new share offer will be launched in March 2014. Visit www.drumlin.coop or call 0845 373 3612