How an award-winning funding model is empowering community energy projects

How an award-winning funding model is empowering community energy projects

Starting a community energy project can often feel like an impossible mission. That’s why Thrive Renewables’ award-winning funding model is working to bridge the gap between vision and reality. The Community Funding Bridge provides people with the initial resources to progress a community energy project, raise funds and secure ownership.

One of the most successful projects backed by Thrive’s Community Funding Bridge is Mean Moor, a community-owned three-turbine wind farm situated on the outskirts of the idyllic lake district in Cumbria.

With investment and support from the Thrive Bridge, Mean Moor was acquired in 2017 by three community energy co-operatives, High Winds Community Energy Society, Baywind Energy and Energy Prospects. The transfer of the wind farm from a commercial developer to complete community ownership was hailed the first of its kind in the country, pioneering a blueprint for future community-ownership renewable energy projects.

Through the Community Bridge, Thrive provided expert advice, community liaison and all-important finances to help the community get the ball rolling. This gave each group the time and support needed for two rounds of fundraising, attracting over 700 investors and raising £4 million in just a few weeks.

Mean Moor is now 100% community owned and generates enough renewable electricity to meet the annual demand of 4,556 UK homes. With 6.9MW of capacity, it is one of the UK’s largest community-owned renewable energy projects. Last year’s Community Energy England State of Sector Report attributed 20% of the new community energy capacity added in 2017 to Mean Moor.

The project’s successful co-operative ownership hasn’t gone unnoticed in the renewable energy industry, with Mean Moor Wind Farm and Thrive Renewables winning the Finance Award at the Community Energy England Awards 2018. The award recognises community groups, funders and advisers who have achieved the most impact through innovative models of funding.

So far, Thrive Renewables has invested over £12 million in community-lead renewables projects throughout the UK, but they are not stopping there! If you have a renewable or sustainable energy project seeking investment from anywhere between £0.5m to £20m, then visit them at All-Energy, stand K72, email or call on 0117 428 1850 to find out how they could help.


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