Joint Award with John Pontin
Socially enlightened developer John Pontin OBE has created a literal ‘investment turbine’ that funds renewable sources of energy while generating financial returns to investors, provides a new form of economic power to India, and supports community projects in his home city of Bristol.
Pontin, who founded his multi-million pound business on fresh thinking, based the model on an original idea — that funding wind turbines in developing countries could generate additional benefits for communities at home and abroad.
John formed The Converging World charity in 2008, raising £1 million from his own resources and a similar amount from an Indian bank to fund two 1.5 megawatt turbines in an impoverished, rural area of Tamil Nadu. Power sold via the grid generates profit that funds local development work in India, environmental projects in the UK and reinvestment in more turbines.
With Wendy Stephenson as CEO, the charity raised money in 2012 for two further turbines, including nearly £200,000 from crowd funding. Investors receive 6% per annum return for a five-year loan.
The charity plans to build 200 megawatt of wind power over three to five years using debt and equity funding. The next tranche is for 25 megawatt turbines, which should generate £12 million for the charity over the 20-year life of the turbines.
Pontin and Stephenson are now building partnerships with like-minded charities and community foundations, sharing surplus from the turbines if these charities can help fund additional turbines.