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Minister visits community project

Britain's energy minister recently visited Harlock Hill in Cumbria to see Baywind, Britain's only co-operatively run wind farm in action.

Britain's Energy Minister John Battle recently visited Harlock Hill in Cumbria with the expressed purpose of seeing Britain's only co-operatively run wind farm in action. Battle, who is conducting a review of the future of renewable energy support in the UK, made the trip to Cumbria from his Leeds constituency in December specifically to meet members of the Baywind Co-operative.

Baywind -- most of whose members are local people -- has raised £1.2 million so far and now owns two of the wind turbines at Harlock Hill. It hopes soon to buy a third from The Wind Company, which developed the wind farm. Baywind plans to own all five units.

According to The Wind Company's Simon Boxer, investors in Baywind can expect dividends of 8% for the first year, with an average of 9% over 15 years. The wind farm has a NFFO-3 power purchase contract.

Boxer stresses that the wind farm would not have been built if it had had to compete for its contract against large wind schemes -- a point he was anxious to put to Battle, who is to conclude his review in spring. "We wanted to make it clear that without the protection of the small wind band, this project would not have gone ahead," he says.

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