Turbine 'vital to survival of Fowey Renewable Energy Enterprise'
THE future of a community green energy scheme for Fowey could be decided at a crunch public meeting taking place tonight.
Fowey Renewable Energy Enterprise (FREE) is hoping to gain the support of the public and town councillors for a 50kW wind turbine at Penhale Farm.
Rejection at town and ultimately county council level could put an end to the scheme and FREE's grand plans to make Fowey a greener place.
The group first put forward its plans for a host of renewable energy schemes, from solar panels to wind turbines, two and a half years ago.
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Despite gaining approval for several applications, the group says it needs the latest turbine proposal to be accepted to underwrite the whole project. FREE's Christie Wharton told the Cornish Guardian: "Because of the change to the government's Feed-In Tariff… the project stands or falls on getting planning approval for this turbine."
FREE was launched back in 2011 by the town forum as a community project that would generate renewable energy for the benefit of the community, with any money made by selling electricity from its solar panels or turbines ploughed back into town projects or services.
FREE put forward ten planning applications last year, with a large number gaining planning consent.
However, there was strong opposition to the latest wind turbine proposal, which has prompted FREE to go back to the drawing board.
Mrs Wharton said: "We have listened to what people have said and have lowered the height from 36 metres to around 24.
"It's outside the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty; we've moved it away from the road and away from Newtown.
"This will be a community-owned turbine. There are plenty of other communities out there who want to follow in our footsteps and we're ahead of them.
"Maybe if other communities had done it first then this wouldn't be so difficult.
"I've been accused of lining my own pockets, but nothing could be further from the truth.
"This turbine will give cash back to the community.
"We will set up a separate body of eight trustees where people and groups could apply for grants for specific projects."
Mayor John Berryman said he hoped townsfolk would turn out tonight for the public meeting to put across their views on the plan.
It will be heard at the town council's planning meeting, starting at 6pm. The public meeting to discuss the wind turbine will begin at 6.30pm.