Community renewables project forging ahead in Dingwall

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  Dingwall Wind Co-operative has sold a staggering 75% of the shares it offered after its launch at Dingwall Auction Mart last month. 

The renewable energy project aims to be the first such project funded by 100% co-operative ownership.

It offers a unique opportunity for local people to be co-owners of a 250 kilowatt wind turbine to be situated at Knockbain Farm just above the town of Dingwall.  The turbine was initially developed by the Lockett family of Knockbain Farm.

Commenting, David Lockett, who is the Co-op Director 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.”

Planning permission for the turbine was obtained in December 2012 and a grid connection date of May 2014 has been secured.  The co-operative will contribute an estimated £8,000 to a local community fund as well as hopefully giving investors a good return for their money and 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.”

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.  The percentage already sold equates to £649,000 of the £856,000 on offer.

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.

Jon Halle, from Sharenergy commented, saying: “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 co-operative is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority and has launched a website at http://www.foe-scotland.org.uk/node/1689 with more information about the co-operative and a mailing list to sign up to for news of developments.

The share offer will run until the end of November 2013 with the turbine being built in the spring of next year.