MY name is John Chater and I am chair of the Heart of Devon Community Energy Ltd, a not for profit company, which is trying to combat climate change by installing a 2MW wind turbine in the rural parish of Thelbridge, mid-Devon.

Our company would make a share issue in order to pay for the cost of its purchase and installation. 

Four years ago, we asked Western Power if we could connect to the grid in our parish of Morchard Bishop but were told that this part of the network had no excess capacity.

They explained that the nearest substation for connection would be in Thelbridge but the turbine output would have to be initially curtailed to 1MW until 2028. 

We obtained an RCEF Government grant of £30k and a Devon County Council grant of £10k in order to carry out a feasibility study by a well respected consultancy firm (Locogen) which has turned out to be positive.

We carried out a survey of community backing for the project which showed that 70 per cent of respondents were either in favour or not opposed to the project.

A preliminary Ecological survey showed that there were unlikely to be any planning objections. A survey of historical buildings in the area was equally positive. 

On applying for grid connection at the beginning of this year, we have been told by National Grid that the curtailment would have to be until 2036.

This makes our project unviable. After four years of hard work, we are very disappointed that Western Power/National Grid cannot increase its capacity to take an extra 1MW of power for 12 years.

The project is not for profit.  The money for paying for the turbine would be raised by a share issue which would give shareholders a return of five per cent and the surplus would go to the people of Thelbridge (approx £2m over the 20-year life of the project).

The only barrier to the successful implementation of our project is the unwillingness of National Grid to upgrade its network.

John Chater

By email