Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Stuart McMillan has urged local people invited to help fund innovative new local community energy project at Kelly Bank, Wemyss Bay
The Small Wind Coop is inviting people via Crowdfunder to support two small farm wind turbines at Kellybank Farm in Wemyss Bay and a second farm wind project in Wales – the first time a community energy project has brought together farm-scale wind projects in different countries within the UK.
The minimum to take part is just £100, with annual returns forecast of between 4.5% and 6.5%
Small Wind Co-op members will be able to use the energy generated at home thanks to a unique deal with energy supplier Co-operative Energy
As well as offering those who join a return of between 4.5% and 6%, the project will generate a community fund of £3,000 a year (index-linked) for 20 years to support local projects bringing social, economic and environmental benefits to the area around Inverclyde.
Stuart McMillan MSP raised a motion in the Scottish Parliament to support the initiative, and has highlighted the potential benefits of the project:
“The community fund from the Kellybank turbines will be targeted to support initiatives that improve employment prospects and grow a further sense of community in Inverclyde.
“The aim is to use turbine funds to support community trusts that are already helping people in the area and will allow people in Inverclyde to use the energy generated in their own home or business.”
A launch event was held in Inverkip for local people to find out more about the project and discuss ideas for how best to use the community fund. Leila Sharland, Community Renewables Adviser, Sharenergy, said:
“We’ve been very pleased with the interest so far – people understand that this is a fantastic local opportunity to support sustainable energy, local farming and the wider community, and earn a decent rate of return.”
Kellybank is a small farm in Inverclyde, overlooking Bute. With a small head of quality beef cattle, it is run by retired local milkman Alister McIntyre with the goal of having a going concern for his family to take over.
Alister McIntyre said: “We already have one small turbine on the farm and we felt it would be good for the community, good for us all, if we made use of land that wasn’t doing a lot at present. We’re using the resource we’ve got, and that’s wind, and it will always be windy here.”
The Small Wind Coop has been set up by Sharenergy, based in Shrewsbury, who have facilitated over 30 community energy projects throughout the UK, and their extensive experience is being brought to bear on this project.
Thanks to the government’s new Personal Savings Allowance, for most people the returns will be tax free. People opting to invest through community shares and fully join the cooperative will enjoy another unique benefit – the chance to use the electricity they generate themselves, by signing up to Co-operative Energy for their energy supply.
Leila Sharland “Our three wind turbines will be in windy spots on two small farms in Wales and Scotland, but you can choose to use the electricity generated wherever you are in the UK. It’s like having your own bespoke green tariff – and you know exactly where your energy is coming from because you co-own the turbines.”
The total fund raising target is £1,591,000, which will enable all three turbines to be built across both sites. An initial target of £700,000 has been set which will allow one of the turbine sites to be built. Over £307,000 has so far been raised.
People can find out more or sign-up online via the Crowdfunder website http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/smallwind where they can watch a short, 3-minute film about the project and also download a Share Offer Document giving all the details about the project.
NOTES TO EDITOR
For interviews, more photographs, and more information please contact:
Sophy Fearnley-Whittingstall, SFW Communications, firstname.lastname@example.org or 07979 368238
Leila Sharland, Sharenergy
email@example.com or 01743 277119 or mobile 07792 152756
The offer is open to 22nd August 2016.
Sharenergy is here to help grow the community energy sector in the UK. We are a not-for-profit organisation which helps communities find, build and own renewable energy generation. We work with hydro power, wind, biomass, biogas and solar projects throughout the UK. We always work closely with community groups and aim to fill in the gaps in their knowledge and capabilities so that more communities can take ownership of generating their own power. Sharenergy is a Registered Society (Co-operative) which was established in April 2011.
Visit www.sharenergy.coop, follow @sharenergy_uk