A COMMUNITY wind farm is one step closer to becoming reality.
Totnes Community Wind Farm has filed a planning application with South Hams District Council to erect two wind turbines between Totnes and Harbertonford on the A381 at Peak Cross.
If approved, the £6.5million project, of which the Totnes Renewable Energy Society and Infinergy Ltd are partners, would produce 4.6 megawatts of locally installed renewable energy capacity and replace between 4,200 and 10,100 tonnes of CO2 every year that it runs.
A spokesman for the project said 20 to 30 per cent of the cost would be raised through private equity and 80 to 70 per cent from bank loans.
The cost includes the land agreements, planning process and the purchase, construction, operation and maintenance of the turbines.
Ian Bright, managing director of TRESOC, said it had taken two years of planning and looking for the right site before any planning application could be made.
He said: "As a community owned enterprise, our main aim is the profitable development of local renewable energy resources for the benefit of the local community.
"Wind power is the most cost-effective and abundant renewable energy resource available and we are delighted to see our flagship project move forward into the next stage of development.
"A lot of effort has gone into selecting the site and presenting the best possible proposal to South Hams District Council.
"Our developer partner, Infinergy, has taken great care in preparing plans that are responsible, suitable for the site and represent a huge step forward in ensuring that the South Hams plays its part in meeting ambitious government objectives for renewable energy production and the development of the green economy."
If planners give the project the green light, which is expected before the end of the year, work could start on site early in 2014 following more data gathering and further consultation.
Mr Bright said: "If planning consent were granted, just over 500 local residents would become co-owners of the twin turbines through their membership of TRESOC, with the opportunity to invest extended to everyone in Totnes and surrounding parishes through a further share issue.
"Experience shows that community ownership is key to local acceptability of wind turbines and that a healthy return can be made from investment in these developments.
"We are proud to present this proposal with benefits for the local economy, for the environment and for our national energy security."