Too big to wrap: the gift of energy shares this Christmas

Written by Rebecca O'Connor on 27th November 2016

If your father-in-law seems totally non-plussed with travel poker sets and cufflinks; if your sister hates toiletries, or if you think your kids really need to start understanding delayed gratification, then you might be interested to learn that the Small Wind Co-op is now offering shares in community wind turbines in Scotland and Wales as gifts.

The wind energy gift certificates are available from the Co-op, part of Shrewsbury-based Sharenergy, in any amount from a minimum of £100, up to December 16. They can be exchanged for shares in the Co-op, which is building three farm-scale turbines in Wales and Scotland.

Jon Halle, director of the Small Wind Co-op, said: “This must be the most positive Christmas present you can give someone: the gift of wind energy and a stake in the UK’s green energy future. Not only does the recipient get a chance to own part of a community wind turbine, with a say in how the Co-op is run, but they can earn a good annual return for the next 20 years.

“There hasn’t been much good news around lately – but this is a chance to step out of the bubble, do something positive and make a genuine difference for the futu160x600-v1-1-1re.”

The Co-op has so far attracted more than 350 members, raising £1.1 million to fund the installation of farm-scale wind turbines at Wemyss Bay, Inverclyde and in Ceredigion, Wales.

Projected average annual returns for shareholders are 6.5% over 20 years. Returns are derived partly from feed-in tariffs and partly from electricity prices, and so can go up and down.

Work is already underway on building both schemes, and the second tranche of shares closes on December 16. As well as offering a stable return for members, supported by the government-guaranteed Feed-in Tariff, the project will generate a community fund of £3,000 a year (index-linked) for 20 years at each site in Scotland and Wales, so there is a positive social as well as environmental impact.

Sharenergy has helped set up over 30 community energy projects throughout the UK.

The Christmas gift certificates are available from the Small Wind Coop website http://smallwind.org.uk/gift which also includes a downloadable share offer document and comprehensive details about the project.