Leighton Buzzard-based renewable energy and land development business AWGroup is due to start electricity generation from its newly installed 4.1MW Vensys Energy onshore wind turbine at its Checkley Wood site, northeast of the town and south of the A5.
The onshore turbine – the first to be commissioned and installed since the Government announced a series of changes to the UK’s planning system that will lift the de facto ban on onshore wind – is capable of producing more than 10,000,000 kWh of power each year, enough to power over 2,500 homes. The turbine is being prepared for energy generation later this month.
Power produced by the turbine will initially connect locally to the grid in Leighton Buzzard and it is expected that the energy will be consumed by local residents, homes and businesses in the town and surrounding villages. It will also be used to directly supply a new ultra-rapid EV charging station and electric bus depot also under construction at AWGroup’s Checkley Wood site, which is set to open in early 2024.
Bob Williams, Chief Executive of AWGroup, said:
“With energy security and decarbonisation more important than ever, our new turbine at Checkley Wood is evidence of our commitment to delivering solutions that provide the infrastructure the UK needs to generate locally sourced, secure, renewable energy.
AWGroup has long recognised the importance of sustainable investment in rural communities and we are pleased that the Government have viewed the benefits of onshore wind with a fresh, more supportive perspective. We would however encourage the Government to publish its response on the onshore wind consultation; and to further clarify its onshore wind position within the National Planning Policy Framework by positively encouraging and enabling the development of this vital energy resource.”
Baroness Hayman, Chair of Peers for the Planet, said:
“It is very welcome news that electricity is now being generated at the AWGroup’s Checkley Wood site. This is a positive step forward for onshore wind in England and I hope it will be the first of many new projects that will help unlock the great potential of this technology to lower bills, tackle climate change and improve our energy security.”
To date AWGroup has invested more than £10m in its own renewable energy infrastructure, of which its existing turbine fleet also includes the two of the tallest onshore wind turbines in England.