The Fens Co-op was created in 2007 to enable members of the public to own a stake in their local renewable energy wind farm and thus benefit from the sale of green electricity, produced when the wind blows. Click on the link to download the Fenland Greenpower Rules.
Energy4All negotiated with the wind farm developer, Wind Prospect, for Fens Co-op to part own wind turbines at the Deeping St Nicholas wind farm, in South Lincolnshire which consists of eight 2MW RePower wind turbines. Fens Co-op were offered community ownership of two of the turbines.
Energy4All established the Fens Co-op based on the Baywind Energy Co-op located in Cumbria. Baywind was the first community owned wind farm in the UK with over 1,200 members who raised funds between 1996 and 1997 to purchase 6 wind turbines on two sites in Cumbria.
The site at Deeping St Nicholas is one of a group of Fenland wind farms originally developed by Wind Prospect. When developing this clean, sustainable, everlasting energy supply Wind Prospect encourage local ownership and investment and contract with local companies wherever possible. Before construction began Wind Prospect sold the consented site to EDF Energies Nouvelles with the provision that community ownership would continue through the Fens Co-op.
The two Fens turbines cost £4.4 million. The cost was financed through a public share offer in September 2007 which successfully raised £2.66m and the balance through a £1.74m bank loan. Fens Co-op eventually purchased the two turbines in January 2009. By the end of 2014 Fens Co-op repaid the loan in full.
Social Enterprise East Midlands awarded Fens Co-op a development grant of ₤50,000 and the Co-op is also supported by the Lincolnshire Co- operative Development Agency and Lincolnshire Co-operative.
Under the Co-op structure, every member has a single vote, regardless of the size of his or her investment so that each member has an equal say. As well as an annual share interest, members will receive their capital back at the end of the project lifetime and play an active role in their local green power social enterprise.
The Deeping St Nicholas wind farm in Lincolnshire, comprises eight 2 MW REpower wind turbines on land at Vine House Farm and Worths Farm in South Holland District. The two wind turbines owned by Fens Co-op will on average produce enough electricity to power 2,100 homes and avoid the release of carbon dioxide which is the main contributor to global warming and climatge change.
Fens Co-op also intends to establish a Trust to promote energy conservation measures and sustainable energy educational activities throughout the Fens and provide a focus for environmental improvements.