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United Kingdom

Commercial site bought by community in 'UK first'

UK: More than 400 people have bought a wind project in Cumbria, which is thought to be the first to transfer from a commercial developer to community ownership in the UK.

Mean Moor comprises three of Enercon's E70 2.3MW turbines
Mean Moor comprises three of Enercon's E70 2.3MW turbines

The Mean Moor site in the northwest of England is now owned by more than 400 people who crowd-funded £2.8 million (€3.15 million) in two weeks to buy the project.

Investors Thrive Renewables initially covered the funding for the 6.9MW site, allowing members of three renewable energy co-operatives to raise the sum.

Funding from members of Energy Prospects, High Winds, and Baywind, were capped at £50,000, with a minimum contribution set at £500. On average, each individual would have invested about £7,000 in the site.

The three co-operatives bought the three turbines at Mean Moor, which is part of a five-turbine cluster collectively referred to as Furness Wind Farm, from UK developer Infinergy

Each co-operative receives a dividend from the profits generated by Mean Moor and then distributes this among their members and investors.

Thrive Renewables set up its ‘Community Bridge’ finance model in 2016, and has since invested £12 million in UK wind and solar projects, it claims.

It believes the purchase of Mean Moor, which comprises three of Enercon’s E70 2.3MW turbines, was the first time a UK wind farm has transferred from a commercial developer to members of the community.

The investors said the transaction demonstrates "the ability of the community sector to operate in the commercial world" as well as "the appetite for greater community ownership of renewable energy".

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