Belfast Telegraph

Call for local investors in co-operative wind energy farm

By David Elliot

Investors wanting to put their money into Northern Ireland's first community-owned wind energy co-operative are running out of time to stake their claim.

The pioneering project was launched in June and aims to raise up to £3.4m to build five 250KW single wind turbines across five sites in Northern Ireland including Pomeroy, Kells, Larne and Ballyclare.

The deadline for application is September 21.

Individuals, businesses and organisations from Northern Ireland were the first to be offered the chance to invest between £250 and £20,000 in the shares, which are eligible for Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) Tax Relief at 30%.

Drumlin is a joint venture between local entrepreneur Andrew McMurray and social enterprise Energy4All, which is currently involved in seven successful wind energy co-operatives in the UK.

The Drumlin project has already secured planning permission for five single wind turbines, which it hopes will be operational by March next year should its public share offer be successful.

However, more funds are needed for the project to go ahead and Drumlin is now appealing for more local people to take up the opportunity.

"We have considerable experience in running similar wind energy projects in the UK where people recognise the benefits of this type of investment and the merits of the co-operative model," Drumlin director and development manager for Energy4All Paul Phare said.

"While we've had a lot of interest in this scheme to date from UK investors, priority will be given to investors from Northern Ireland and we'd really like to see a lot more local people getting involved.

"It is an exciting opportunity for local people to directly profit from wind energy by investing in an ethically and environmentally sound project which offers a forecast annual average rate of return of 10% over 20 years with the tax relief."