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United Kingdom

No shortage of investors

Britain's first wind energy share issue has comfortably reached its initial target -- £620,000 to buy the first of five 500 kW turbines for a site at Harlock Hill near Ulverston in Cumbria. The share issue was launched in April by Baywind Energy Co-operative. According to Simon Boxer of The Wind Company -- the project's developer -- the co-operative not only met its end of October deadline for raising the sum, but is now well on its way to being able to buy its second turbine.

The Wind Company is arranging all the development work and financing of the Danish Wind World turbines, going up this month on a hillside overlooking Morecambe Bay. The project is to be sold to the local community, following the co-operative model pioneered by its Swedish parent company, Vindkompaniet AB, in Sweden. Baywind will buy the turbines one at a time as money becomes available. They are expected to be operating by the beginning of January.

"Once the turbines are fully operational I think that people will perceive that they are a good investment," says Boxer. Already there are signs of people reinvesting. "After testing the water with an initial investment of £500, say, they are already wanting to increase it," he claims. The minimum is 300 shares at £1 each, but so far shareholders have invested an average of around £1000, indicating that the minimum investment level was no deterrent.

Boxer reports that Baywind's project is also generating interest from people in other parts of the country who are looking at a co-operative approach to community ownership. "We are very optimistic that there is a future for this type of development," he says.

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