The successful launch of a £3.75m public share offer for Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative in Watchfield, Oxfordshire - which will be the largest community-owned wind farm in the UK – was celebrated at a party on Wednesday, November 30.
Westmill supporters gathered at the Said Business School in Oxford to toast the strong response to the share offer, which enables people to buy a stake in the wind farm, and has generated more than 1,500 requests for prospectuses so far. There are also 2,000 people on a waiting list for shares.
At the party, Vivian Woodell President of The Midcounties Co-operative (formerly Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op), presented a cheque for £100,000 to Harvey Tordoff, chairman of Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative. The Midcounties Co-operative made this investment as part of their ongoing support for co-operative and community owned renewable energy projects.
Key speakers at the event included Brenda Boardman, head of the Lower Carbon Futures team at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute, who spoke of the importance of wind energy and the value of the Westmill scheme.
Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative continues to receive hundreds of enquiries from prospective shareholders each day. Enquiries have come from across the UK.
The share offer will remain open for about three months and the co-operative has promised that people living within a 50-mile radius of the site will have priority to buy shares if the scheme is over-subscribed.
The public share offer will finance the purchase and construction of five wind turbines, supplemented by a bank loan. The turbines are expected to become operational by the end of 2006 and will provide enough ‘green’ electricity to power more than 2,500 homes.
Annual interest will be paid on members’ shares from trading surpluses from the sale of the electricity. Rates will vary according to financial performance. However, they are expected to be approximately five per cent annually in the first five years rising to an average of 12 per cent over the 25-year life of the project.
Membership will be available to anyone. Each share is worth £1. The minimum investment is £250 and the maximum is £20,000. The original investment will be returned in full when the wind farm is decommissioned at the end of the 25-year duration of the scheme.
Watchfield farmer Adam Twine, who owns the land on which the turbines will be sited and is a director of the co-operative, said: “We have been delighted by the response to the launch of our public share offer for Westmill Wind Farm and the very generous support that we have received from local organisations, particularly The Midcounties Co-op.
“Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative is a unique enterprise and one that has clearly captured the imagination of many people keen to support clean, green renewable energy projects in the UK.”
The information given is intended as a general introduction to the opportunity detailed in the prospectus, which sets out the basis upon which shares may be acquired in Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative Ltd. The sole purpose of the limited and general information included in this release is to introduce the opportunity detailed in the Prospectus and this introductory information should not be relied upon for investment purposes.
For more media information, please contact Catherine McNulty or Neil Coffey at BANC Communications on 01865 310 565.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative
Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative was set up in 2004, under the guidance of Energy4All Ltd, to build a wind farm in Watchfield, South Oxfordshire. The co-op will sell electricity from the operation of five wind turbines at the leased site. Westmill Wind Farm Co-op has a board of seven directors, including the land owner, Adam Twine. Its activities will be modelled on Baywind - the UK’s first and largest community-owned energy project, which is run entirely by its 1,300 members.
Westmill Wind Farm is supported by The Midcounties Co-operative (formerly Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op). Last year the Society agreed an investment of £100,000 as part of its ongoing support for co-operation and community owned renewable energy projects.
Energy4All was set up by Baywind in 2002 to facilitate the ownership and operation of renewable energy projects by local or community-based co-operatives across the UK. The not-for-profit organisation is based in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria. It will oversee the construction of Westmill Wind Farm and manage the day-to-day operations. Energy4All is owned by the co-operatives it creates.
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