Cornwall’s first community-owned energy co-operative, Community Power Cornwall Limited, has acquired a wholly owned subsidiary called West Country Renewables Limited for approximately £1.34m.
This is the first time a Cornish community energy society has bought a private company, and the sale brings five solar arrays and three wind turbines in the county into community ownership.
The acquisition was funded by a loan of £1.43m from a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) called The Low Carbon Society Limited which makes loans to Community Enterprises to support projects with positive social and environmental outcomes.
The Low Carbon Society has a loan facility with Cornwall Council which funded £1.27m of the acquisition.
Bob Egerton, Cornwall Council Cabinet Porfolio holder for planning and the economy said: ‘Community energy is an important part of the devolution deal we have with government and I’m very pleased that the support provided by Cornwall Council with its £2.5 million loan fund for community-run renewable energy projects has played a part in this achievement.
‘I would like to congratulate everybody, many of whom are volunteers, for making this initiative such a success and I look forward to seeing how it develops in the future.’
Neil Farrington, of Community Power Cornwall said: ‘We’re thrilled West Country Renewables is now community-owned. It shows the power of ordinary people doing extraordinary things to make their communities and local businesses stronger.
‘Not only are we generating home-grown clean energy, we’re keeping it in Cornwall and we’re maximising the value of projects by employing local people. This community ownership is happening thanks to the dedication and determination of a few individuals.
‘I would encourage everyone to join this quiet revolution, get involved in your local group, become a supporter or volunteer, because this is a story of true local empowerment with green community projects run by the community, for the community.’