BY KATIE - MYGREENPOD, 17 Feb '18

A UK wind farm has been transferred from commercial to community ownership

Over 400 individuals have raised an impressive £2.8m 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.

Mean Moor wind farm

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 – a historic site and the first community-owned wind farm, established in 1996.

‘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.’

ROD BLUNDEN
Chairman of Energy Prospects Co-operative

Appetite for community ownership

The sale proves the community sector can operate in the commercial world and reflects the appetite for greater community ownership of renewable energy as an end in itself. This is becoming increasingly important as the challenges for developing new onshore renewable electricity projects continue to grow.

Over 400 individuals invested in the scheme; the minimum investment was £500 and the maximum investment was capped at £50,000.

Financing from Thrive Renewables enables communities to buy a renewables project from a developer by providing time to raise funds and allowing money to be paid back to the company over an agreed period. It also offers speed and funding certainty for the seller of a project.

Mean Moor community owners
Mean Moor community owners

‘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.’

MATTHEW CLAYTON
MD of Thrive Renewables