Community wind energy is generated by wind turbines that are at least partially owned by local landowners and other community members, and often take the form of wind turbine cooperatives, also known as wind energy cooperatives. Template:As of, community wind developments have been small-scale. Community wind co-operatives operated in Europe since the late 20th century, and are the leading form of wind turbine ownership in Denmark. Cooperatives and other forms of community wind turbine ownership have also developed in other countries.
<span id="Community-based business model" /> Financially, community-based wind projects are structured much differently than traditional wind farms. In the traditional model, the company that builds and manages a wind farm retains sole ownership of the development. The owners of the land on which the wind turbines were built usually have no stake in development, and are instead are compensated through lease payments or a royalty-based contracts.
In a community-based model, the developer/manager of a wind farm shares ownership of the project with area landowners and other community members. Property owners whose land was used for the wind farm are generally given a choice between a monthly cash lease and ownership units in the development. While some community wind projects, such as High Country Energy in southern Minnesota, issued public shares after the project’s formation, investment opportunities are usually offered to local citizens before the wind development is officially created. 
A wind turbine cooperative, also known as a wind energy cooperative, is a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise that follows the cooperative model, investing in wind turbines or wind farms.
The cooperative model was developed in Denmark.
<span id="Benefits of community wind" /> Template:POV-check-section Beyond its obvious environmental impact, advocates of community wind profess that the unique structure directly benefits local economies and populations. Because ownership resides within the community, most revenue generated by the wind farm will remain in the hands of area residents. Due to the fact that many rural areas are financially dependent on local commerce, proponents of the community model highlight its ability to strengthen local economies.
<span id="Community wind industry" /> Currently, companies following a community model comprise only a small portion of the overall wind energy industry. In comparison to traditional wind companies, community wind businesses tend to develop smaller-scale projects, often less than 40 megawatts.
In Denmark, families were offered a tax exemption for generating their own electricity within their own or an adjoining commune. By 2001 over 100,000 families belonged to wind turbine cooperatives, which had installed 86% of all the wind turbines in Denmark, a world leader in wind power.
Baywind Energy Co-operative was the first co-operative to own wind turbines in the United Kingdom. Baywind was modelled on the similar wind turbine cooperatives and other renewable energy co-operatives that are common in Scandinavia , and was founded as an Industrial and Provident Society in 1996. It grew to exeed 1,300 members, each with one vote. A proportion of the profits is invested in local community environmental initiatives through the Baywind Energy Conservation Trust. As of 2006, Baywind owns a 2.5 megawatt five-turbine wind farm at Harlock Hill near Ulverston, Cumbria (operational since 29 January 1997), and one of the 600 kilowatt turbines at the Haverigg II wind farm near near Millom, Cumbria.
Another community-owned wind farm, Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative, opened in May 2008 in the Oxfordshire village of Watchfield. on the site of the former RAF Watchfield airfield near the village. It consists of five 1.3 megawatt turbines, and is described by its promoters as the UK's largest community-owned wind farm. It was structured as a cooperative, whose shares and loan stock were sold to the local community. Other businesses, such as Midcounties Co-operative, also invested, and the Co-operative Bank provided a loan.
- Co-operative energy: lessons from Denmark and Sweden
- National Wind Assessments – National Wind's Assessment Division.
- Dakota Wind Energy – Community Wind Development in South Dakota
- High Country Energy – Community Wind Development in Minnesota
- Lake Country Wind Energy – Community Wind Development in Minnesota
- Emmet County Energy – Community Wind Development in Iowa
- Root River Energy – Community Wind Development in Minnesota
- Energy4All – secondary co-operative founded by Baywind to develop community-owned renewable energy in the UK
- Goodhue Wind To Develop 78-MW Community Wind Project
- Dutch Farmers Ready For Wind Energy
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