Could crowdfunding be the future of renewable energy? Windcentrale, a Dutch clean energy company that helps ordinary people invest in wind turbines, thinks it just might be. In only 13 hours, the company raised €1.3 million from 1,700 Dutch households all interested in buying shares in a wind turbine in the center of the Netherlands. Each of the 6,648 shares represent about 500 kWh of clean electricity per year. They sold at a price of €200 apiece.
Image © Charles Cook
Since 2012, Windcentrale has been buying up older turbines from project developers, energy companies, and financial institutions. Their first two turbines took two and a half months to find buyers for 20,000 shares, so the popularity of their latest project has founders Harm Reitsma and Anne Janssens excited about future possibilities. In an interview with Renewable Energy World, Reitsma explained that his ultimate goal is to expand renewable energy in the Netherlands by changing the way ordinary people feel about wind turbines. If they’re invested on a personal level in wind energy, he reasons that they’ll do more to urge utilities and lawmakers to expand the industry.
Windcentrale hopes to expand its purchasing program in the near future to include small businesses. In the meantime, the company is holding another wind turbine auction next Sunday, and so far there’s a waiting list of thousands, so shares may sell out even faster this time.
Lead image © Patrick Finnegan