Denmark generates a whopping 20% of its electricity from wind. Virtually every wind farm in Denmark is a cooperative which means the local community has a financial stake. Bar some notable exceptions like the Energy4All wind farms, virtually no wind farms in Britain are cooperatives. In the UK large energy companies apply for planning permission to plonk mega wind farms in peoples’ back yards. Nothing comes back to the local community. It should therefore come as no surprise when residents object.
Energy4all was created in 2002 to facilitate the expansion of renewable energy co-operatives in the UK. It was a response to the phenomenal number of enquiries received by Baywind Co-operative from people looking to replicate the success of the UK’s first community-owned wind farm, which was set up in Cumbria in 1996.
Baywind has generated enough green electricity to power 1,300 homes a year whilst paying an attractive return to its 1,350 members (averaging 7% per annum), and supporting local initiatives. Energy4All is owned by the seven co-operatives it assists. As additional co-ops are established they too will take a share in this growing organisation. Energy4All offers a highly successful combination of industry experience, community involvement, and business acumen providing a package of sector, admin, and financial services to co-ops in return for an annual fee.
If you'd like to set up a wind farm cooperative then read the Energysteps website, which is designed to provide clear and practical information on the process of building a wind farm, then talk to energy or sustainability officers at your local council to see if they can help.