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Co-operative energy chief finalist for national sustainability award

Posted on 6 May 2015

Ramsay Dunning, general manager of The Co-operative Energy was one of five finalists for ‘Sustainable Business Leader of the Year 2015’ at The Guardian’s Sustainable Business Awards that showcase the people and projects who are helping businesses shine and achieve for people, planet and profit.

Although he didn’t win the award, Ramsay was nominated for his tireless work in championing community energy and his commitment to tackling climate change.

Co-operative Energy sources its electricity from a range of different types of low renewable energy generators. It currently has power purchase agreements with around 30 generators, 15 of which are owned by the community - a number which is growing all the time. It continues to source energy from a range of different types of renewable generators, including community-owned wind farms at Harlock Hill in Cumbria, Westmill in Oxfordshire and Great Dunklins in the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire.

Under Ramsay’s stewardship, Co-operative Energy has been heavily involved with the world’s biggest community energy campaign, the Community Energy Fortnight, and has been the main sponsor of the event since 2014. His ethos has always been to be at the forefront of sourcing power from community energy providers and believes that community-owned clean energy projects empowers them to decide upon and manage their initiatives in locally appropriate ways and keeps the profits generated within that community.

Ramsay was pivotal in the conception and launch in July 2014 of a new initiative that gave its customers the choice of the exact mix of the different types of energy sources and even the precise generators that Co-operative Energy would buy the energy from.

Thought to be the first of its kind in the UK energy market, the ‘User Chooser’ scheme was built on the principle of giving the power to choose back to the customer in a drive to empower its customers in keeping with a business that is owned by and responsible to its customers.

The User Chooser initiative forms an integral part of the Co-operative Energy Hub – a portal designed to deliver a range of services to give all its customers more control over their energy usage and more say in how they source the electricity their customers consume.

He has also been heavily involved in lobbying policymakers to create a more supportive regime for community energy, particularly with respect to tax relief and the right to invest for UK citizens.

Speaking on the achievement, Ramsay said: “It’s a real honour to have been nominated for this award which helps shine a light on these issues. At Co-operative Energy, we remain committed to playing our part in tackling climate change a pledge that has not changed since we launched. It’s within our core values to work with the community and protect our environment and we can achieve this by sourcing high levels of our power from renewable sources.

“We’re very proud of the fact that with nearly 250,000 customers, we are continuing to source over two thirds of our power from renewable sources and we will continue to do this through innovation, partnerships and putting our customers first.”

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