Grid-connected Mean Moor produces enough energy to power 4,500 homes annually. Source: Thrive Renewables
High Winds Community Energy Society plans to raise £2.8m in loan notes and issue 2.9 million £1 shares to fund the acquisition of Cumbrian wind farm
A community energy group in Cumbria plans to raise £5.7m in order to become the sole owner of the Mean Moor Wind Farm, just three years after the farm’s acquisition from a commercial developer earned its joint owners industry recognition.
The High Winds Community Energy Society said it intends to raise £2.8m in loan notes and 2.9 million £1 shares in order to fully acquire the three-turbine 6.9MW project from two other local community energy groups.
The group has already raised the lion’s share of funds needed, with some £4.2m committed as of Wednesday morning.
Some £3.6m was raised from existing loan note holders in funding rounds that have closed, High Winds Community Energy Society explained, but a third funding round for new investors that opened last Thursday will remain open until late May. The group is offering five-year loan notes with a four per cent annual interest and withdrawable shares with a projected return of 4.5 to five per cent to interested parties.
Mean Moor, which is located on the outskirts of the Lake District in Cumbria, made headlines in 2017 when it became the first wind farm in the UK to transfer to community ownership from a commercial developer. In just two weeks, High Winds Community Energy, Energy Prospects, and Baywind Energy Trust raised £2.8m to purchase the farm. The move won the development and its innovative funding model, which was devised by project manager Thrive Renewables, an award at the Community Energy England Awards in 2018.
The planned takeover comes as community energy projects across the country have mobilised hundreds of thousands of pounds towards local Covid-19 relief programmes.