Kids own wind movement

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The first wind turbine in the world entirely owned by children has been inaugurated at Houyet in the south of Belgium by a non-profit association based near Namur. Eight hundred local children bought 2000 shares in the machine at EUR 100 each. This provided sufficient capital to secure a bank loan of EUR 520,000, while the remaining EUR 80,000 came from local and regional subsidies.

The aim of the initiative is to let children learn first hand about renewable energy and environmental issues, encourage them to get to grips with managing and saving money, give them a direct stake in their future, provide them with cheap electricity and let them earn money -- all at the same time. The children belong to a cooperative, Allons en Vent, which manages the Enercon 800 kW unit. It will allocate a dividend once the loan is paid off.

Now the association wants to replicate the idea elsewhere in Europe. "Kids and Wind," as the scheme is known, aims to set up a similar project in each EU member country. The first is likely to be in France, where energy agency ADEME will help launch a publicity campaign.

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