A first for the UK

Mean Moor Community Wind Farm in Cumbria is thought to be the first wind farm in the country to be transferred to community ownership from a commercial developer.

The new owners, three co-operatives – Energy Prospects, High Winds and Baywind – impressively raised £2.8 million in just two weeks with the help of Energy4All. These funds are being used to pay-off part of a loan from Thrive Renewables, which had stepped in to provide the funding for the acquisition and enable the communities to acquire ownership.

Friends Provident Foundation is a big fan of community energy, viewing it to have a myriad of environmental, social and economic benefits with the potential to bring about real systemic change. As such ‘Building economic resilience through community energy and engaging the utilities market’ is one of our current investment engagement priorities.

This involves supporting community energy via grants, shareholder engagement, and impact investing. With regard to the latter, we invested £100,000 in Thrive Renewables in early 2017, receiving assurances that they would be acquiring renewable energy projects to transfer to community ownership.

Our aspiration is that all our investments should generate both financial returns and positive social and environmental returns, and in this instance, we are delighted to see it has played a small role in securing a three turbine 6.9MW wind farm that will power approximately 4,500 homes per annum and operate for community’s benefit.

We congratulate the pioneers who have made this happen and we hope Mean Moor Community Wind Farm is the first of many.

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