Getting communities involved
A commitment to local communities
While renewable energy benefits everyone in society, engaging and involving local communities who live near to proposed wind farms can be crucial to a project’s success.
At BayWa r.e., we are committed to working together with local communities and our colleagues in France have been leading the way with their involvement in the country’s pioneering adoption of ‘crowdlending’ to support windfarm development.
The benefits of crowdlending
The crowdlending schemes give local communities the chance to directly invest in nearby windfarms development. We think this is a great way to r.e. think energy. It gives communities a sense of ownership and the opportunity to directly benefit from new renewable energy development in their area.
We already have three projects in progress. One is Tout Vent, in the southwest of France in the Charente-Maritime region, and another is Botsay in the Côtes d'Armor, in Brittany. The third is Deux Plateaux in the Haute-Loire. These are all significant projects and together will generate over 42.5 MW, enough power to supply 40 000 homes with green energy.
An attractive investment
Through the crowdlending scheme, local residents get the opportunity to invest in neighbouring wind farms. You can invest a little or a lot, and invest for two years with quarterly reimbursements. This helps to make the scheme accessible to almost everyone.
Interest rates are often much better than banking rates and there is the added benefit of investing in something that will directly contribute to the long-term sustainability of the local area.
Local communities first
Not surprisingly, the schemes are proving a great success. The Tout Vent scheme opened on 23 January 2017 for one month. Our first goal of €70,000 was reached after one hour, a record for a crowdlending scheme for a wind farm! Our target of €120,000, reserved for local residents only, was reached in under the month. And the other schemes are proving just as successful with the same amount collected exclusively from local residents.
With more schemes planned for the future, crowdlending is proving a great way for France and BayWa r.e. to r.e. think energy together with local communities.