72 MW Community-Owned Wind Farm Installed in Germany

By Paul Gipe

Enercon’s inhouse newsletter, Windblatt, reported in its 3/2013 issue that the company had installed 24 Enercon E-101 turbines for a community-ownded wind farm or Bürgerbeteiligung.

This is the largest community-owned wind farm in Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) and may be one of the largest community-owned wind plants in the world. More than 700 regional property owners and residents invested in the project.

The local cooperative, Raiffeisenbank, managed the project and arranged the financing.

“This is a totally community-owned project,” said Hubert Frye, Bürgermeister of the community of Saterland. “Everybody was on board during the planning [of the project] as well as for operation [of the project]. “This was the winning formula,” Windblatt quoted him as saying.

Stephan Kettler, the project’s manager, explained that everyone had to be in the same boat to ensure smooth planning, according to the newsletter. Interestingly, he said that the local council would only grant planning permission if the project were owned by local residents.

Because of the size of the project and the communities affected, a compromise was reached to establish two operator associations. Out of the 24 3-MW machines, 13 are operated by one wind farm association with 666 local owners. The remaining 11 turbines are operated by a second association with 50 landowners who provided the land on which the project rests.

The local community will earn about €350,000 per wind turbine in business taxes over the 20-year period of the project. The developers also awarded several local firms contracts during the construction phase. “For the community, the wind farm’s economic value added is nearly 100 percent,” Windblatt quoted Guido Reiners as saying.