Energy co-op secures turbine funding from locals

An energy co-operative has been given the green light to build a wind turbine in Derbyshire having raised more than £2.6m through a successful public share offer with 600 local investors.

Four Winds Energy Co-operative now has planning permission for two wind turbines and has been raising money for the projects. The locally funded turbines offer members of the public a stake in the renewable energy source and will receive benefits from the sale of green electricity produced during the lifecycle of the turbines.

With more than enough funding raised to build the first of the 500kw wind turbines at Duckmanton, near Chesterfield in Derbyshire, the group this week announced that it will be extending the share offer in the project until 21 August, which Four Winds Co-op says will offer returns of between 6-8% over the life of the project.

The strong response from local investors means the Duckmanton turbine will be completed in early December and start feeding power into the national grid and local homes.

Local investment

Four Winds Co-op’s chairman Paul Rea said: “We are delighted with the response we have received from local people over recent weeks. It’s great to see the community getting involved. In fact, we’re extending the public share offer period as we have planning permission to build another turbine at Shafton in Yorkshire. We would like to give more people, particularly those living locally, the opportunity to invest.

“Local residents can invest as little at £100 in the scheme, which is projected to generate returns of between 6-8% averaged over the life of the project. This is currently higher than any return offered by the high street banks. Four Winds has also received Advance Assurance from HMRC that the shares in Four Winds will qualify for EIS [Enterprise Investment Scheme] tax relief of 30%.”

With help from Energy4All, a not-for-profit company which supports locally owned renewable energy projects, the Co-operative’s turbines have received backing from more than 600 individual investors.

The project takes much of its inspiration from the Baywind Energy Co-operative which has operated turbines in Cumbria since the 1990s. Wind co-operatives have been particularly popular in Scandinavia – in Denmark, more than 150,000 people belong to wind co-operatives.

Matt Field

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