Britain has the best wind resource of any county in Europe, yet we only generate about 2 % of our electricity from wind, whereas the Danes generate about 20% of their electricity from wind (and plan to increase this to 50%!). In 2003 over 20,000 people were employed in the Danish wind industry and it generated 3 billion Euro. In Britain there is huge opposition to windfarms, whereas in Denmark they are generally popular, with 86% of Danes in support. One might ask why the big difference?
In Denmark there is longstanding political consensus that Co2 reductions need to be made, that wind power is part of the answer and that cooperatives are the best way to maximise benefits. People investing in local wind power get tax breaks, and so they often organise themselves into cooperatives to build windfarms, with over 150,000 families now having a stake. Middelgrunden offshore windfarm is 50% owned by the municipality and 50% by the 10,000 investors in the Middelgrunden Wind Cooperative. This model has spread extensively in Holland and Germany. See Wind power in Denmark
In USA Minneapolis based National Wind Company, with its partner National Wind Assessments, do the technical side of things while teaming up with local communities to form their own Limited Liability companies and together they build, operate and benefit from commercial scale (50 to 750 MW) windfarms. Since founding in 2003 they have thirteen windfarms across the American Midwest, either operating or in the planning and development stages, which will have an installed capacity of nearly 4,000MW. Ref National Wind
Meanwhile in the UK most windfarms only benefit the power companies and a few local land owners. Existing community owned projects are few in number and tiny in scale. This needs to change for wind power to win hearts and minds in the UK. Encouragingly Community Windpower Ltd now has a number of windfarms in the planning stage, mainly in Scotland and up to 50MW3. We wish them well!