A renewable energy project near Watchfield has been recognised in a new national report.

Westmill Wind Farm, near Watchfield, was one of more than a hundred renewable energy projects surveyed for Community Energy England’s new State of the Sector report.

The wind and solar farm, which began operating in 2008, was the first wholly community-owned onshore windfarm.

The energy co-operative, whose five large wind turbines are a distinctive landmark east of Swindon, has around 2,500 members.

The cooperative’s five turbines and 20,000 solar powers produce around 15GW hours of electricity every year – enough to power 3,700 homes.

Farmer Adam Twine, on whose land the solar and wind farm is based, said: “It took over 12 years to get the wind project off the ground and with the help if a committed group of people we managed to then expand our renewable ambitions with a wonderful solar array.

“This has not only led to the production of clean energy but benefitted the local community in so many ways.”

The Westmill Wind Farm was one of 124 community-owned organisations interviewed by organisation Community Energy England for their nationwide survey of the community energy sector.

The report’s authors say that 222 community organisations are now operating solar, hydro or wind power schemes across England, Wale and Northern Ireland. They create enough electricity to power 130,000 homes – equivalent to a city the size of Cardiff.

Community Energy England chief executive, Emma Bridge, said: “The achievement of community energy organisations, such as Westmill, is incredible and shows how they are delivering real benefits for local communities, the wider environment and the UK energy sector too.

“These projects have proved that they are both innovatory and resilient in a very tough climate but the unprecedented cuts in subsidy and tax incentives present them with their biggest challenge yet.”

For more on Westmill, visit: www.westmill.coop.