The launch of a Scottish renewable energy project that aims to be the first with 100% co-operative ownership has begun in Dingwall, in Ross-shire. Dingwall Wind Co-op held its official launch event at the Dingwall Auction Mart last month and followed this up with a drop-in session.
The people of Ross-shire and the surrounding area are being offered the chance to own a 250 kilowatt wind turbine at Knockbain Farm, just above the town of Dingwall.
A staggering 75% of shares have already been sold to date, with the majority being bought by Dingwall residents. The percentage already sold equates to £649,000 of the £856,000 on offer.
Members of the public are being invited to become members of the co-operative. They can buy shares from as little as £250 and up to £20,000 and will receive a good return on their investment, along with substantial tax benefits.
Anne Schiffer, Community Power campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said, “The sheer speed at which shares have been taken up is a clear indicator that people in Scotland have the desire and financial ability to own renewable generation.
“We’re campaigning for more projects to encourage renewable energy across Scottish communities. If you’d like to know more then please get in touch with us here at Friends of the Earth Scotland.”
The co-operative will also contribute an estimated £8,000 to a local community fund.
The turbine was initially developed by the Lockett family of Knockbain Farm. Planning permission for the turbine was obtained in December 2012.
David Lockett, of Knockbain Farm, said, “We were initially intending to take out a loan to build the turbine. When we heard about the co-operative route it seemed like an obvious way to go with the benefits going back to local people and the community.”
The co-operative is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and has launched a website at http://www.dingwallwind.org.uk with more information about the co-operative and a mailing list to sign up to for news of developments.
Jon Halle, from Sharenergy, said, “Co-operatives are common in the rest of Europe and are now taking off over here as a democratic way to share the benefits of renewable energy. We’ve been involved in several successful share launches recently and already this one has been a success with 75% of shares sold. This is a great example of people investing in their own community.”
The share offer will run until the end of November 2013 with the turbine being built in the spring of next year.
The co-operative is being developed in collaboration with Sharenergy, a not-for-profit organisation that helps community groups develop renewable energy co-ops throughout the UK.