Community wind turbine project wins £500k grant

23/10/2020

A new wind turbine, due to be built at Avonmouth over the next year, will not only help in the fight against climate change but provide a local community with much needed support. 

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has awarded £500,000 for the 150m turbine project, which has recently received full planning permission and is being built on land owned by Bristol City Council (BCC). The project, set up by local charity Ambition Lawrence Weston (ALW), will include an on-site Energy Learning Zone to help schools and communities learn about renewable energy.

WECA and BCC have challenging targets for the region to become carbon neutral by 2030.  This means supporting projects, like the wind turbine, which will help ‘decarbonise’ our electricity. Carbon emissions have been proved to cause global warming which is leading to extreme weather events across the world.

West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “West of England Mayor Tim Bowles said: “Renewable energy is now meeting nearly 40% of the UK’s energy demand. This is an incredible success story and where we will see the decent well-paid jobs of the future. Local green energy schemes like the new turbine in Lawrence Weston are playing an important part in making this happen.

“That’s why the West of England Combined Authority’s Local Energy Scheme is supporting schemes like this so we create a low carbon future for the region. I’m proud that this scheme will have a direct benefit to the community, as it proposes to sell any surplus energy in order to fund local community projects. The project will also help schools develop green skills for the future, which the Combined Authority is keen to support through its Careers Hub.”

A key priority of the West of England’s Recovery Plan is renewing places; creating greener, healthier, more vibrant places to live and work. WECA has committed an extra £1.9m for its Low Carbon Challenge Fund to support organisations to review energy use and renewable resources. 

WECA’s Local Energy Scheme, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, required applicants to put forward innovative projects that also delivered community benefits. 

Mark Pepper, from ALW said: “Its fantastic news that WECA has granted this capital fund to a truly grassroots community group, Ambition Community Energy CIC. This will greatly help oversee our areas regeneration for many years into the future, whilst enabling us to reduce our carbon footprint. This will also ensure the project delivers a mass of community benefits to Lawrence Weston and the surrounding areas.

“Not only will this project provide the direct environmental and financial benefits to Ambition Lawrence Weston, but we also hope this will give confidence to other community groups to make positive ambitious changes to their own communities in the future.”

Councillor Kye Dudd, Bristol City Council’s Cabinet Member for Energy and Transport, said: “I’m delighted to see this project going ahead and proud that Bristol City Council has been able to play a key enabling role to support new renewable generation in the city. Community owned energy assets like this must be at the heart of our efforts to address the climate emergency and create a cleaner, greener, healthier Bristol.

“We are true believers in community energy and will continue to champion initiatives like this one and the many others that we have supported in recent years. Bristol has supported the project through grant funding as well as providing the land to locate the wind turbine alongside the council’s two existing wind turbines. This is no doubt the first of many new wind projects as we continue our journey towards carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Details about Ambition Lawrence Weston can be found here and their Community Plan here.