Customer-owned energy provider Co-operative Energy has signed a ground breaking deal which will allow customers to own a share of their energy supplier and invest directly in their local energy generator.
Co-operative Energy has signed a deal with Resilient Energy Great Dunkilns (REGD), the UK’s first community-owned wind energy project that enables local people to invest from as little as £5 and profit from the energy generated. This means that local residents can now part-own their local generator as well as the energy supplier that delivers power to their homes, completing the chain of end-to-end community ownership.
The ethical energy provider, which successfully sourced one hundred per cent of its electricity from renewable generators in its first year, will source up to 1.5 million kWh of clean electricity annually from REGD’s community scale wind turbine in St Briavels, The Forest of Dean. The energy generated will be enough to meet the electricity needs of 300 homes.
The REGD project is a joint venture between The Resilience Centre of Woolaston and farmer Mr Anthony Cooke of Great Dunkilns Farm. The single 500kW turbine, which has been built on Mr Cooke’s land, has been fully funded by local residents and individual investors who will each earn regular cash returns from the profits the wind turbine makes. In addition to the individual investor returns, which are estimated to be between seven and eight per cent over the lifetime of the investment, around £15,000 of annual profits will be donated to the community, creating a truly sustainable local economy.
Nigel Mason of Co-operative Energy said: “By sourcing energy from community energy schemes like Resilient Energy Great Dunkilns, we’re helping to tackle climate change and we’re supporting the local economy too. This unique deal not only means our customers are benefiting from clean, cost-effective energy, it is also providing the community with income to invest in their local economy and financial returns for anyone who has invested in the project. It’s a great deal for all.”
Andrew Clarke of The Resilience Centre said: “We set out to close the loop on local energy by providing a way for people to invest in a local renewable energy scheme and buy the energy back from that scheme, in effect putting their own money back in their pockets. By investing in these projects, communities are investing in their own future resilience and linking savings returns to energy prices. Recent news on receding Arctic ice and the accelerating effects of climate change call for decisive and urgent action. Our projects provide a way for people to get involved at a scale that can make a positive contribution to future generations whilst earning a good return.”
Abundance Generation, a Financial Services Authority-regulated community finance platform, worked in collaboration with REGD to raise funds for the project. Abundance raised finance required for the project simply by asking small investors to invest £5 or more in the form of debentures (a certificate that represents a loan or IOU). The investment offer is open to individuals, businesses, company pension schemes, charities, and other organisations who invest directly via the online service. The REGD investment opportunity is open to all until the end of October 2012. Investors who choose to switch to Co-operative Energy will receive a £50 credit in their Abundance account.
Co-operative Energy sources electricity from a range of different types of renewable energy generators, including two community-owned wind farms at Harlock Hill and Westmill.