Early in 2015 we also welcomed 800 more shareholders bringing our community to over 5700, the £4.1m raised from both existing and new shareholders allowed us to complete the three construction projects and invest in another 6.9MW wind farm where construction is now underway.
Triodos Renewables keeps on growing
2015 was a great year for the expansion of our portfolio. We completed the construction of three new onshore wind projects, two based in Scotland and the third located in East Anglia, where Triodos Renewables owns 75% of this 10 MW project. Us taking a part stake in this project filled a funding gap and allowed the landlord and developers to finish the project ahead of time.
The operational portfolio generated 18% more green electricity than ever before, generating enough to power the equivalent of more that 39,500 UK homes.
We also increased our presence at a number of sustainable energy events to broaden our network into new markets and technologies, as a response to recent political impact on wind and solar project pipeline and our interest in diversification.
A successful year for shareholders
This time last year, our eighth share issue was closed on 30 January 2015, with a private placement for a large shareholder completed in April 2015. We raised £4.1million which has been used to fund the year’s growth in projects. With a further 800 shareholders supporting the company, it feels like a year where both the importance and contribution of renewable energy is part of the nations growing consciousness.
We celebrated in style at our birthday themed AGM on 19th June, which marked our 20th anniversary. Two decades is a long time in the UK renewables industry. We’ve seen a lot of change and huge achievements, with renewable technologies now no longer ‘alternative energy’ and generating more power than nuclear. It was great to share this achievement with our shareholders, some of whom have been with us from day one.
Triodos Renewables in the community
We supported a wide range of community engagement initiatives during 2015, both through established local benefit schemes and wider initiatives. Just a few of our achievements included more sustainable street lighting at Eye and LED Christmas lights at Doddington, near our Boardinghouse wind farm in Cambridgeshire. We also contributed to Ambition Lawrence Weston, a community driven social regeneration project near our Avonmouth wind farm.
Our second family open day at Avonmouth was a success in the summer, raising awareness of renewable energy and aiming to dispel common myths about wind power. We plan to roll out open days to other parts of the country to reach a wider audience and further engage with the communities around our projects.
For the inaugural open day in 2014 we commissioned the ExplorerDome renewable energy show. In 2015, we both used the show at the open day and took it into schools. Plus, our Avonmouth site was chosen for the filming of a virtual field trip as a resource for teachers all over the UK to supporting education and curriculum learning.
The launch of the Community Benefit Fund
Extending this good work is our new Community Benefit Fund , which opened on 30 November 2015 to enhance specific local work already being done. It has nationwide coverage with initial focus close to our project sites, and involves a process in which communities can get free advice and apply for funding for sustainability measures. The grants will make community buildings more sustainable and accessible to groups and individuals who rely on them.
The fund is being administered by the national charity, Centre for Sustainable Energy. Although it has only been open for a couple of months, we have already had a lot of initial interest from communities up and down the UK, and we hope to do lots of good through this scheme in 2016.