Co-operative Energy kicks starts Community Energy Fortnight

by Search Gate staff. Published Mon 15 Sep 2014 13:38
Ramsay Dunning explains the future for community energy projects
Ramsay Dunning explains the future for community energy projects

Community energy in the UK must overcome recent setbacks and live up to its potential says leading energy provider Co-operative Energy which kicked-off Community Energy Fortnight 2014 at its annual energy conference on Saturday.

The event, which united pioneers from the world of community energy with over 200 visitors to the NEC in Birmingham, was supported by many of the UK’s leading community projects and saw prominent industry figures sharing best practice and expertise.

The conference coincides with new research released today by Siemens, a technology enabler for community energy schemes, which reveals that despite more than 80% of consumers feeling they pay too much for energy bills, more than half of are unaware of community energy schemes that could save them money.

Almost a third say they would be interested in generating their own power if it was the same price or cheaper than their current tariff, while a quarter say they would consider an energy source that was generated amongst their local community.

One in five say it would make a difference to them if profits from energy production also went back into their community.

Community Energy Fortnight, organised by the Community Energy Coalition (CEC), a group of 36 civil society organisations led by sustainability non-profit organisation, Forum for the Future, runs from Saturday 13th to Sunday 28th September and is the highlight of the community energy calendar. Over 100 events are arranged across the UK during the fortnight.

Now in its second year, Co-operative Energy’s community energy conference reflects the rapid growth across the UK of community-owned renewable energy schemes which are helping to unite communities and make renewable energy accessible and affordable.

Successful schemes range from hydro-electricity projects, crowd-funded windfarms and solar panels on the rooftops of homes, schools and community buildings. Co-operative Energy is currently involved with over 30 community energy schemes and in discussions with many more.

Ramsay Dunning, group general manager at Co-operative Energy said: “What better way than to get Community Energy Fortnight 2014 started than with gathering the key influencers in the community energy sector together to share knowledge, ideas and achievements. We continue to work very closely with specialists across the industry to support and embrace the movement towards community energy.

“We are committed to lowering carbon emissions and we already purchase much of our energy from renewable sources but this is an area where we are leading the field and we believe further improvements can be made.

“In recent months, we’ve seen developments which have the potential to move the sector backwards: the FCAs more restricted view of member involvement and HMTs push for the removal of EIS (Enterprise Investment Scheme) are both deeply problematic. There is a huge appetite out there for community energy project involvement and this is evident from the fantastic number of community events taking place during the fortnight and the findings of the latest research from Siemens.

“Through innovative initiatives such as our own ‘User Chooser’ and using technology is what has enabled customers of Co-operative Energy to choose how their electricity is generated, and even where from, so they can support community schemes and still save money from low prices.

“We see using technology providing ever more opportunities to reduce costs and offer greater choice to our customers.”

Launched in 2017, Co-operative Energy is wholly owned by The Midcounties Co-operative, a consumer co-operative society entirely owned by its members. Co-operative Energy is committed to lowering carbon emissions and purchases much of its energy from renewable sources. As a major advocate of renewable energy, it aims to ensure that the carbon content of its electricity is less than half the national average.



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