An Oxfordshire farmer is enabling people to invest in a greener future by buying a share in the first community-owned wind farm in the South of England, which is due to be built on his land next spring.
Environmental campaigner Adam Twine, pictured below, who has been in farming all his working life, has planning permission to build the largest community-owned wind farm in the UK on a former airfield in Watchfield, on the Oxfordshire/Wiltshire border, six miles from Swindon.
Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative Ltd, of which Adam is a director, was established in 2004. It will finance the construction of five wind turbines through a ?3.75m public share offer, supplemented by a bank loan.
The turbines are expected to become operational by the end of 2006 and will provide enough ?green? electricity to power more than 2,500 homes.
Shares went on sale on Tuesday, November 22 and the share offer is expected to be open for about three months. The minimum investment is ?250 and the maximum is ?20,000. Demand for the shares, which are available to anyone, is expected to be high and people living in a 50-mile radius of the development will have priority if the scheme is over-subscribed.
The Westmill project is modelled on the successful Baywind Energy Co-operative in Cumbria, which owns and operates six wind turbines. Baywind is the UK?s first community-owned energy project established in 1996, which is run entirely by its 1,300 members.
Baywind has paid its members annual interest averaging seven per cent gross since it launched. Although Westmill has lower wind speeds, the bigger and more efficient turbines are expected to generate up to 12 per cent gross annual interest for investors.
Investors should also be eligible for tax relief through the Government?s Enterprise Investment Scheme, and their original investment will be returned at the end of 25 years.
Adam took over his father?s farm in Oxfordshire in 1984 after completing a degree in agriculture. He has long been interested in organic farming and switched to this method in the early 1990s. He farms a total of 1,200 acres, and keeps dairy and beef cattle, and grows a wide range of arable crops.
He also helped to set up a charity on his farm that enables local people with mental health problems to enjoy gardening.
The Westmill co-operative will be run with assistance from Energy4All ? a company set up by Baywind Co-operative in 2002 to facilitate the ownership and operation of renewable energy projects by local or community based co-ops.
Adam said: “As an environmental campaigner and former anti-nuclear power protestor, I have been interested in the use of energy on my farm for a long time and I am delighted that my land is to be used for this unique initiative.
“Westmill offers an ideal opportunity to help to create a greener and more sustainable future. By simply buying shares in our scheme, people can play an active and direct role in the fight against climate change and dwindling energy supplies.”
The wind farm will help reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases, which are produced in part by burning fossil fuels in conventional power stations. It will also contribute towards the Government?s target of generating 10 per cent of electricity from renewable sources by 2010.
Anyone wishing to become a member of the co-op by buying shares or wanting to find out more information about Westmill Wind Farm should call 0870 234 2002 or log on to
Important Notice The information given is intended as a general introduction to the opportunity detailed in the prospectus, which sets out the basis upon which shares may be acquired in Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative Ltd. The sole purpose of the limited and general information included in this release is to introduce the opportunity detailed in the Prospectus and this introductory information should not be relied upon for investment purposes.
For more information, please contact Andrew Baud, Catherine McNulty or Neil Coffey at BANC Communications on 01865 310 565.