First UK wind farm transfers from commercial to community ownership
Over 400 individuals raise an impressive 2.8m pounds in just two weeks to refinance the Mean Moor community wind farm in Cumbria. It’s thought to be the first wind farm in the country to be transferred to community ownership from a commercial developer.
Thanks to support from Energy4All, and financing from ethical investment company, Thrive Renewables, three renewable Energy Co-operatives – Energy Prospects, High Winds and Baywind were able to purchase Mean Moor wind farm. The wind farm is now 100% community owned.
The three-turbines at Mean Moor are adjacent to the original Baywind project, an historic site, and the first community owned wind farm established in 1996.
Rod Blunden, Chairman of Energy Prospects Co-operative said: “We are overwhelmed with the response we have received from both Energy Prospects members and the wider Renewable Energy community. It is fantastic that we have been able to bring a commercially owned wind farm into the community owned sector”.
The purchase demonstrates the ability of the community sector to operate in the commercial world and reflects the appetite for greater community ownership of renewable energy as an end in itself, especially important as the challenges for developing new onshore renewable electricity projects continue to grow.
Matthew Clayton, MD of Thrive Renewables said: “We co-invested with Baywind over 20 years ago and are delighted to continue this legacy by facilitating the next generation of community owners. We are thrilled to have helped plug a funding gap and to have contributed to the local ownership of Mean Moor wind farm.
“Thrive Renewables exists to provide individuals with a rewarding relationship with renewable energy. Our 6,300 investors are motivated by changing the UK’s energy system, both in terms of cleaning it up, and how it is owned, providing direct access to the value of renewable energy.” Said Matthew Clayton.
Over 400 individuals invested in the scheme, the minimum investment was 500 pounds with the maximum investment capped at 50,000 pounds.
Financing from Thrive Renewables enables communities to purchase a renewables project from a developer giving them time to raise the funds themselves and then pay back the company over an agreed period. It also provides the speed and funding certainty for the seller of a project.