OXFORD, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op is to invest £ 100,000 in a new wind farm co-operative near Watchfield in Oxfordshire.
OSG directors agreed to the investment because the Westmill Wind Farm is a co-operative enterprise owned and run by local people and has the potential to be a profitable business.
It was formed in June, when the foundations were first dug on the old airfield site at Westmill Farm. The community-owned wind farm will not only supply green electricity to several thousand homes and promote energy efficiency measures but also provide valuable educational visits for local schools and colleges.
Preference for joining the co-operative is being given to local people to ensure maximum benefits from the scheme remain in the community. The minimum cost of becoming a member is £ 250 and a savings scheme will be in place before the share offer is launched. Each member has an equal say in how the co-op is run, regardless of whether their stake is £ 250 or £ 20,000, with the seven directors drawn from the local community.
Adam Twine (pictured far right), farm owner and member of Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative, said: "The 4.25 MW community-owned wind farm will not only supply green electricity to thousands of local homes and promote energy efficiency measures, but also provide valuable educational visits. Having OSG Co-op on board is a great boost to the scheme and a positive signal of the society's commitment to a sustainable future for everyone."
Neil Homer (pictured left), OSG's Head of Corporate Development, said: "The Westmill Wind Farm project will supply renewable energy to around 2,500 local homes. The investment shows our commitment to supporting community ownership and renewable energy projects. We hope this will encourage others to bring forward projects for all types of renewable energy, not just wind farms.
"Our society has a commitment to increasing its own use of renewable energy in the coming years. Whilst we understand that not everyone likes wind farms, we believe they play an important role in meeting our future energy needs and combating climate change."
Harvey Tordoff, Director of Energy4All, a company backing the co-operative, added: "As oil prices rise and impacts of climate change are better understood, more and more people want ?to do their bit' to secure our future. We are very pleased that the first wind farm in the South East will be 100 per cent community owned."
For further information on the project, visit www.energy4all.co.uk or call 01229 821028.