Larne man, Alan McKee, has just helped to launch a pioneering co-operative venture into Northern Ireland.
Alan, a sheep farmer from Ballyboley Road, will soon be welcoming a new feature onto his farm – a 45m to blade tip, 250kW wind turbine that will make up part of the new Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative.
The project has been created by local company NRG Solutions in partnership with Cumbria based Energy4All, whose proven track record in co-operative wind projects is second to none.
The Co-op consists of up to five turbines throughout Northern Ireland all supply electricity into the Grid and in turn generating an income for the Co-op. Alan decided to provide a site for one of the turbines as his land had easy access for grid connection and he was keen to explore the possibility of sustainable energy.
Alan explained: “The attraction of the Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative was that it was a small scale project that would allow NI people to become the shareholders and take ownership of local green energy. We had the land available but also had a genuine interest in sustainable technology so it made sense to become involved in the project”.
Nigel Brady, from Bryson Energy, and chairman of Drumlin Wind Energy Co-operative, said: “This is a Northern Ireland project for Northern Ireland people. We have just launched the official share offer document and are keen to ensure that Northern Ireland people get priority when the shares are issued.
“The minimum investment is £250 which is a small amount that would enable environmentally conscience individuals and businesses to become involved in a sustainable green energy project right on their doorstep”.
Although this is the first time the Co-op model has been used within Northern Ireland to finance a wind energy project it is hoped that this is just the beginning.
Energy4All’s success in England and Scotland proves that the model works and local people do want to own part of a local energy project.
Surplus profits from the project will be available to distribute as a share interest payment to members and there will also be a Community Fund available to support local community initiatives around each site.
Drumlin has also received advanced assurance through the Governments Enterprise Investment Scheme, so investors will also be eligible for tax relief and their original investment returned at the end of 25 years. By getting involved in the co-op, individuals are co-operating together with others to support the growth of efficient renewable energy generation.
Anyone who is interested in finding out more can download a copy of the share offer document at www.drumlin.coop or telephone 0845 373 3612 under no obligation.