The Power of Co-operation - in the Community Owned Renewable Energy Sector
Three renewable energy co-operatives unite to deliver community owned wind farm
On July 11th 2017, three renewable energy co-operatives, High Winds, together with Baywind and Energy Prospects, and with the support of the ethical investment company Thrive Renewables, have acquired the Mean Moor wind farm in Cumbria.
The wind farm comprises of three 2.3 MW Enercon turbines across the valley from the existing High Winds two turbines at Harlock Hill in south Cumbria. Through co-operation, the Energy4All family of Co-ops has been able to acquire an existing wind farm from a commercial operator.
This purchase demonstrates the ability of the community sector to operate in the business world, and reflects the appetite for greater community ownership of renewable energy as an end in itself, especially important since most of the government subsidies for new build have been substantially reduced.
In a joint chairmen’s statement, David Eastlick (HighWinds), Richard Scott (Baywind) and Rod Blunden (Energy Prospects) of the three community parties said:
"We are delighted that we have been able to acquire the wind farm at Mean Moor. It is important that co-ops work together and show communities that individual people can make a difference to climate change. As well as the electricity generated feeding into the local grid, payments will be made to a local community fund, which will offer grants to small charities and organisations in South Cumbria."
Matthew Clayton, Managing Director of Thrive Renewables shared that “Thrive is delighted to be working with the three communities, providing the interim finance needed to allow the communities acquire this wind farm. Thrive is committed to allowing people and local communities directly contribute to the transition to a cleaner, smarter energy system”