A new initiative is being launched this month offering local communities around four wind farms in the east of England a stake in the projects. The Fenland initiative is a venture between developer Wind Prospect and Energy4All, a Cumbria based company which aims to extend community ownership of renewables projects throughout the country. Members of Fenland Green Power Co-operative will benefit from sale of power produced every time the wind blows, receiving an annual dividend and their capital back at the end of the project's lifetime. The model is based on experience with the Baywind Energy Co-operative in Cumbria -- the UK's first community-owned wind farm. Groups and individuals can invest as little as £250. Preference will be given to people living near the wind farms so that maximum benefit flows to local interests, says Energy4All's Andrew King. Baywind, now seven years old, has around 1300 investors receiving annual dividends of 6-8%. Wind Prospect has permits for four wind farms in the Fens of Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire totalling 70 MW. The projects will be built by Wind Prospect Developments, a joint venture with SIIF Energies of France, which is half owned by French nuclear utility EdF. SIIF will provide the equity investment needed. At first the co-operative will raise money to buy one wind turbine, with the option to purchase more if there is enough investor interest. Wind Prospect's Colin Palmer says investment in local wind farms is of great interest to people in the area. "For this reason we established Fenland Green Power Investments a number of years ago," he says.
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