Bonds without borders

Written by Lisa Stanley Mann on 20th June 2016

This week sees the launch of an innovative new community energy project focused on farm-scale wind turbines in Wales and Scotland.

The Small Wind Coop, from Sharenergy, offers people the chance to support three community turbines: one at Troed y Bryn in Ceredigion, Wales and two at Wemyss Bay, Inverclyde, Scotland.

There is a minimum investment of £100, with annual returns forecast of between 4.5 per cent and 6.5 per cent for six to 20 years.

Irrespective of where in the UK they live, cooperative members will be able to use the energy generated at home through a deal with energy supplier Co-operative Energy’s ‘User Chooser’ tariff.

Small Wind Coop is offering two types of investment: bonds, which have a return of 4.5 per cent and will be repaid after 6 years; and shares, which offer a projected average annual return of 6.5 per cent over 20 years and entitle people to become members of the co-operative and have a say in how it’s run.

The project will also generate a community fund of £3,000 a year (index-linked) for 20 years at each location, to support local projects bringing social, economic and environmental benefits to the area. It is also supporting the small farms in the areas where the turbines will be built.

Troed y Bryn in Wales has been farmed by the Davies family for generations. It is mainly a sheep farm, although the family has also been rearing horses, which have been in the Welsh stud books for 100 years.

Farmer Aled Davies said: “Farming has become increasingly hard. We wanted a wind turbine on the farm to keep us going for the next generation. A community-based turbine will generate income for the farm, for the village and everybody who becomes a member.”

Jon Halle, Director, Small Wind Coop, said: “We know that people don’t trust the big energy companies, which is why we are a small co-operative, which is completely owned and run by our members. And we know that people want to support renewable energy in the UK directly – so we set up the Small Wind Coop to make that possible.”

People can invest online via the Crowdfunder website, http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/smallwind and can find out more by visiting the Small Wind Coop website www.smallwind.org.uk where they can also download a Share Offer Document giving all the details about the project.

Your capital is at risk.