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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

WIND FUND OPENS

An investment fund has been launched in Britain specifically for wind energy projects. Triodos Bank of the Netherlands and Mercury Provident of the UK -- both social banks which are expected to merge soon -- opened The Wind Fund to the public in January. It is looking to raise up to £10 million and is geared to provide equity finance for smaller wind projects. The fund offers individuals an opportunity to invest in a way that directly benefits renewable schemes, says The Wind Fund's Glen Saunders. It will allow investors to target their support to particular projects.

Minimum investment has been kept to just £300 to encourage public and community participation. "We firmly believe that community ownership of, and involvement in, wind projects is vital for the development of wind energy in this country and that the provision of appropriate financing mechanisms to achieve this is essential," he says. A code of practice will be used. "There have been previous instances where wind projects have been developed in an insensitive manner. We will support only those proposals which can demonstrate that any environmental or social impacts are at a minimal and acceptable level," explains Saunders.

The launch of the fund coincided with the DTI's notification of NFFO contracts and initially will focus on NFFO-3 schemes. But it intends to seek investments in subsequent schemes and projects outside the UK and look at other forms of renewable energy.

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