A South Yorkshire wind farm has breezed past a major green energy generation landmark.
Banks Renewables’ Penny Hill wind farm, which sits to the south east of Rotherham and west of the junction of the M1 and M18, has now generated enough clean renewable energy to meet the equivalent of the annual electricity demanded by 100,000 homes – which is approximately all of the houses in Rotherham and Doncaster.
The six-turbine scheme came online in 2013, and as well as displacing over 110,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the electricity supply network during that time, it has also generated around £180,000 for the Penny Hill Wind Farm Community Fund.
The fund, which will provide more than £500,000 of community funding over the wind farm’s 25-year lifespan, is ring-fenced for use within the parishes of Aston, Thurcroft, Treeton, Ulley and Whiston, and aims to make a positive, long-term difference to local voluntary groups, environmental projects and community facilities in these areas.
Grants totalling almost £140,000 have so far been made from the independently administered fund, with recipients including Holy Trinity Church in Ulley, the village committee for Brampton-en-le-Morthen, Treeton Community Centre, Ulley Sailing Club and Thurcroft Welfare Community Hall.
Cllr Patricia Smith, chair of the Penny Hill community liaison panel, which meets twice a year to discuss the wind farm’s ongoing performance, says: “We always felt it was important that direct benefits resulted for the surrounding communities from the wind farm’s presence here and grants from the fund have indeed made a big difference to lots of local groups and good causes.
“We get regular reports back from Banks on the wind farm’s performance and can always raise any questions we have about its operation if we need to.
“We’d love to see more funding applications coming in and would encourage local people to think about how the projects with which they’re involved could best utilise some of the money generated by the wind farm.”
Penny Hill is one of four onshore wind farms in Yorkshire that are owned and operated by Banks Renewables, with the other three being the Hook Moor scheme to the east of Leeds, the Marr wind farm to the west of Doncaster and the Hazlehead wind farm to the west of Barnsley.
During the family-owned firm’s last financial year, the four schemes generated almost 110,000 MWh of electricity between them, which is enough to meet the annual electricity needs of more than 35,000 homes.
Lewis Stokes, community relations manager at The Banks Group, says: “The Penny Hill wind farm has been operating smoothly for the last eight years and we’re excited to see it reach this latest green energy generation milestone.
“The benefits that we promised would be delivered to local communities when we built Penny Hill have very much been realised, from the seven-figure investment in local firms when it was built through the substantial funding that’s been awarded to community groups and the wider environmental benefit that we all gain for more of the energy we use being via renewable means.
“The UK has set itself ambitious future targets for renewable energy generation, and making the widest possible range of renewable energy generation technologies will allow it to decarbonise its power supply and achieve its climate change targets more quickly, while also benefiting British consumers through lower energy prices.”
Community groups or voluntary organisations in the vicinity of the Penny Hill Wind Farm which are looking for a grant of up to £3,000 should contact the Banks Community Fund on 0191 378 6342 to check if their group or project is eligible.