Cumbria wind farm first to transfer from commercial to community ownership

Date: Tuesday 13th February 2018
Some of the Mean Moor members who raised more than £2.8m in just two weeks
Some of the Mean Moor members who raised more than £2.8m in just two weeks

MORE than 400 individuals raised £2.8 million in just two weeks to refinance the Mean Moor community wind farm, near Ulverston. It is 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 the wind farm. It is now 100 per cent community owned.

The three turbines at Mean Moor are adjacent to the original Baywind project 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, managing director 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."

More than 400 individuals invested in the scheme. The minimum investment was £500 with the maximum capped at £50,000.