Wind Turbine Buyers Set Crowdfunding Record

A new world record has been set for crowdfunding – and it’s to buy shares in a wind turbine.

1700 households in the Netherlands bought shares in a 2 megawatt Vestas wind turbine, raising $1,759,550 in just 13 hours.

6648 shares sold at $271, buying the turbine and its electrical output for the next 12 years. Each share is worth about 500 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity a year (an average household in the Netherlands uses 3500kWh). 

Shareholders also pay $31 a year for turbine maintenance. Using a smartphone app, they can monitor wind speeds and electricity production levels in real time! 

A local company, Windcentrale, organized the crowdfunding campaign. The company, which facilitates shared wind turbine ownership (along the lines of community solar) has so far made it possible for almost 7000 people in the Netherlands to own shares. 

WindCentrale

Turbine-owners pay less for electricity than those still buying fossil fuel energy. Vestas maintains the turbines and  Greenchoice provides the electricity. The company has 350,000 customers that buy renewable energy.

"We expected things would move fast, but nobody anticipated the run on the wind-shares. An increasing number of people want to generate their own electricity. Solar panels aren’t always an option and so wind-shares in a remote wind turbine gives everyone the chance to take matters into their own hands and generate their own clean electricity, says Harm Reitsma, founder of Windcentrale.

Windcentrale is holding another wind turbine auction on Sunday.

Founded in 2010, Windcentrale is trying to accelerate renewable energy in the Netherlands, which is behind in meeting its target of 14% by 2020.  

Netherlands Plans Big Boost in Wind

Meanwhile the government announced a plan – agreed to with industry and lobbyists – to significantly increase wind energy on land and offshore. The new target is 4.45 gigawatts offshore by 2023, up from 1 GW under development or installed now, and 6 GW of onshore wind by 2020.

The government also wants to cut energy consumption by 1.5% a year and transportation emissions 60% by 2050. A $788 million fund will be used to drive improvements in buildings and other initiatives focus on reducing energy use in industry and agriculture. 

It will also close three coal plants in 2016 and two others the following year. Gas will remain an important part of the energy mix. 

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