Britain’s first commercial wind farm celebrates 25 years of power 21.12.16

  • British wind industry was born in the village of Delabole, Cornwall on 21st December, 1991
  • Since 1991, the wind farm has generated over 340GWh of renewable electricity, enough power to boil 3.4 billion kettles and cook more than 40 million Christmas turkeys
  • In 2013, the site became the first in the UK to offer its own local tariff, rewarding residents with lower electricity bills

Britain’s first commercial wind farm will celebrate its 25th anniversary on December 21st; a major milestone for the nation’s wind power industry.

Located near the North Cornwall coast, Delabole Wind Farm first began generating renewable electricity in 1991, before being bought by independent renewable energy company, Good Energy.

Juliet Davenport OBE, chief executive of Good Energy, said:

“This is an incredible achievement for the renewable industry – and a big moment for Delabole.

“Since the turbines started turning, renewable technologies have come a long way, with wind power generating a record-breaking 12% of the UK’s electricity in 2015.

“The success of the wind farm has largely been down to the support of the local community who are the real custodians of this site. It’s thanks to them, and their belief in the project, that has helped make Delabole the perfect model for further wind power developments here in the UK.”

Peter Edwards - known as the ‘Grandfather of Britain’s wind industry’ - who first developed the wind farm in 1991, said:

“After the wind farm started generating in 1991, one of the main criticisms was that the amount we contributed to the National Grid was so insignificant that we shouldn’t have bothered. That’s why it’s so satisfying to see just how far wind energy has come and how it now competes with nuclear. As Bob Dylan once wrote ‘The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind’.”

Local resident Susan Theobald, who has lived in Delabole for 20 years, said:

“I’ve always been hugely supportive of wind farms as a source of renewable energy and I’ve loved seeing the Delabole turbines out of my window for the last 20 years. Wind farms are elegant, productive and sustainable and induce a real ‘feel good factor’ amongst the community. We’ve always felt like part of the project and have really benefitted from the community funds and local tariff which is linked with the turbines.

“For me wind farms are a better way forward, are safer and reduce the need to build more dangerous, expensive, unsightly, and land hungry power stations.”

RenewableUK’s Executive Director, Emma Pinchbeck said:

“1991 was a year for innovation: in the spring of that year, a British scientist launched the world wide web, and by Christmas, Delabole’s turbines were turning.  And just as the dawn of the internet has changed how we communicate, so renewables have revolutionised the way we generate electricity, replacing old technology with new.

“Wind is now a mainstream power source in Britain, outperforming and replacing old fashioned coal. And this is helping consumers, as onshore wind is the cheapest way to generate new power. Onshore and offshore wind is providing industrial-scale benefits to our modern economy, supporting tens of thousands of jobs, and attracting billions of pounds in investment to the UK, as the global energy market goes renewable”.

Dr Doug Parr, Greenpeace Chief Scientist said:

"This wind farm is a wonderful symbol of the UK seizing the potential of our natural resources. It was a cutting edge project at its inception and since then it has grown, and the wind industry has grown enormously too.

“Onshore wind has become incredibly competitive and deserves more support, especially where communities actively back them. It would really contribute to generating cheaper bills and new jobs in the future if onshore wind, solar and battery storage was given more backing."

Alasdair Cameron, Renewable Energy and Climate Campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said:

“What began at Delabole was nothing short of a UK energy revolution - the first commercial wind farm in the country and the first step on a much bigger journey to a cleaner and more democratic energy system.

“Since then, renewable energy like wind and solar has gone from strength to strength, and now generates a quarter of the UK’s electricity, but much more will be needed as we race to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change.”

Julian German, Cornwall Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Culture, said:

“Cornwall has long been a pioneer in low carbon energy. 25 years ago we were at the forefront of the emergence of commercial wind energy. The Delabole wind farm was one of the first projects in the country to explore ways of sharing the benefits of wind energy with local residents. I look forward to seeing these kinds of opportunity grow as Cornwall continues to lead the transition towards a low carbon world.”

The achievement comes a week after research from Edinburgh University revealed that wind power is playing a key role in curbing carbon emissions released from other energy sources such as coal and gas.

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