Three energy co-ops acquire Mear Moor Farm in Cumbria

Mear Moor Farm is the first wind farm to be transferred from a commercial developer to community ownership

Three renewable energy co-operatives have brought Mean Moor wind farm in Cumbria. A total of £2.8m was raised to refinance the wind farm, which is the first in the country to be transferred to community ownership from a commercial developer. Over 400 individuals invested in the scheme, with a minimum investment of £500 and a maximum investment capped at £50,000.

The three co-operatives – Energy Prospects, High Winds and Baywind – received support from Energy4All, a group of 23 independent renewable-energy co-operatives, as well as financing from ethical investment company, Thrive Renewables.

Thrive Renewables enables communities to purchase renewable projects from a developer by giving them time to raise the funds and pay it back over an agreed period.

The wind farm comprises three 2.3MW Enercon turbines across the valley from the existing High Winds two turbines at Harlock Hill in South Cumbria. The turbines have a total capacity of 6.9MW, generating enough electricity to power almost 4,500 homes.

The three turbines at Mean Moor are adjacent to the original Baywind project, the first community owned wind farm, which was set up in 1996.

Commenting on the purchase, Rod Blunden, chair of Energy Prospects Co-operative, said: “We are overwhelmed with the response we have received from both Energy Prospects members and the wider Renewable Energy community. It is fantastic that we have been able to bring a commercially owned wind farm into the community owned sector.”

Matthew Clayton, managing director of Thrive Renewables, added: “We co-invested with Baywind over 20 years ago and are delighted to continue this legacy by facilitating the next generation of community owners. We are thrilled to have helped plug a funding gap and to have contributed to the local ownership of Mean Moor wind farm.

“Thrive Renewables exists to provide individuals with a rewarding relationship with renewable energy. Our 6,300 investors are motivated by changing the UK’s energy system, both in terms of cleaning it up and how it is owned, providing direct access to the value of renewable energy.”

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