A new UK online renewable energy finance platform has suspended its first offer and offered to hand money back to investors after hitting problems with its first project.
has suspended investments
in community wind project Resilient Energy Great Dunkilns
(REGD) in the Forest of Dean just days after officially launching it to small investors because of financial problems that have come to light concerning the German turbine manufacturer supplying the project.
Abundance Energy said no customers money had "in any way been put at risk" and it had taken the decision to suspend the offer – in the form of a debenture – as a precautionary measure after PowerWind, the German manufacturer contracted to build the turbine, informed Abundance and REGD last week that the company had started proceedings in the insolvency court of Hamburg.
"We immediately decided that the best course of action would be to suspend the debenture and return all money allocated on the website to the customer holding accounts where it can be withdrawn immediately if the customer so wishes," Abundance Energy director Bruce Davis told GreenWise.
According to a statement on the company’s website, PowerWind informed REGD that the action was "necessary as a result of substantial delays to projects in Southern and Eastern Europe.
"These proceedings, which are common corporate practice in Germany, allow companies time to review their position and if possible restructure their finances."
Davis added: "[PowerWind] has given assurances about the delivery of the turbine, but we decided a cautious approach would be the better option as so suspended the offer forthwith. We will return to examine the project for a fresh offer once we are satisfied that these developments have been resolved."
Abundance officially launched the REGD offer on Saturday 21 April. It aimed to raise £1.3 million for the community wind turbine by giving small investors the chance to back the project "from as little as £5". In return, it promised to give investors a regular cash return from the energy produced.
Abundance has not revealed how much money it has raised so far for the project or the number of investors that have come on board, but it said the public had shown support "well beyond what was expected at this early stage".
Abundance Energy, which is regulated by the Financial Services Authority, said that despite the setback, it planned to bring the Great Dunkilns project back to "fruition" and to continue to look to fund renewable energy in the UK by linking up projects with small investors.
In a statement posted today on the site, it said: "The immediate messages of support and encouragement we received from customers have helped put the problems of the last 36 hours into perspective.
"The business of creating a more resilient and sustainable Forest of Dean continues … as does our support of that effort in the Forest and our wider mission to democratise finance in the UK."
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