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SHARENERGY will make history when its community turbine is officially launched on 12 July in Dingwall.

The 250kW turbine is the first in Scotland to be 100 per cent owned by a co-operative – Dingwall Wind Co-Op – and demonstrates how communities are increasingly taking their energy future into their own hands. Now Wester Derry Wind Co-op near Perth is following in the footsteps of the Dingwall model, with a public share offer open to members of the public.

Both wind co-ops operate without any involvement from large energy companies or banks; the money needed to install the Dingwall turbine has been raised by subscriptions from 170 members. Co-op members receive an annual interest payment and the co-ops pay into local community funds – at a much higher rate than offered by larger power companies.

Both projects are supported by Sharenergy Co-operative, which helps people set up renewable energy co-operatives across the UK.

Jon Halle from Sharenergy said: “It is very exciting to see the Dingwall co-op turbine in action – it’s been such a popular project and we’re hoping that people will take up the opportunity to join the Wester Derry Co-op”

The wind co-ops allow investment from as little as £250 and up to £50,000. Each co-op member, irrespective of how much they invest, gets an equal vote in any decisions about the project.

Niall Stuart, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “These are fantastic projects which demonstrate very clearly how communities are taking their energy future into their own hands. They show that wind turbines can be a great asset to a local community – by generating income as well as power. Getting local people to invest in the wind turbine completes the circle and ensures that profits are also indirectly put back into the community via investor dividends.”

Mr Halle added: “This is the future of onshore wind generation. Scotland is moving towards 50 per cent renewables generation but much of the money is going overseas to the parent companies of the businesses building wind farms in Scotland.

“In our projects, no banks or big energy companies are involved – just normal people coming together for mutual benefit. The co-ops have a strong local focus – but we welcome members from further afield”.

Any surplus after paying maintenance, rent and other expenses goes to members of the co-op and the community fund. Members of the co-op receive a good return on their investment (projected at around 7 per cent) as well as EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) tax relief – a member investing £1000 can expect a £300 rebate from the taxman.

The share offer for Wester Derry Wind Co-Op can be found at http://westerderrywind.org.uk/