Boyndie Wind Farm Co-operative set up a community co-op
Boyndie Wind Farm Co-operative was set up in 2005 to allow the community in Banffshire to own a share in the first wind farm co-operative in Scotland.
Located at the previously derelict site of an old WW2 airfield at Boyndie Airfield in Banffshire, the venture has given local people and other investors an opportunity to invest in the commercial production of renewable energy, and to make a difference to climate change.
The share issue was managed by Energy4All Ltd, which supports co-operative wind farm projects around the UK and was set up by Baywind Energy Co-operative, a highly successful wind farm in Cumbria. "Whoever owns the wind turbines receives the benefits from the sale of the electricity that is produced," explained Andrew King, Chair of Baywind.
"Local and community ownership of wind projects, ranging from 100% ownership of small projects to minor participation in larger schemes, can bring significant benefits to the local community and economy.
Throughout Denmark and Germany, renewable energy co-operatives are the dominant form of ownership. However there are very few such schemes in the UK, where large commercial developers dominate." Every member of Boyndie Wind Farm Co-operative has an equal vote and receives annual interest on their investment.
The minimum investment is set at £250 to ensure the broadest possible membership.
Members also receive advice on reducing energy bills through energy conservation. If the co-op wishes, it can allocate funds for an energy conservation trust to promote energy conservation in the local community.
When the Boyndie share offer was launched in May 2006, the target of £730,000 was rapidly exceeded. Ninety five percent of members live in Aberdeenshire and Moray; 712 local people have a share in the project. In 2009 the members received a share interest payout of 10.3% for the electricity produced by the wind farm in 2008. "We are delighted that so many local people joined and will share directly in the benefits of the wind farm," King said.
The community business model