4th December 2019
Co-op Community Energy: harnessing people power
Matt Bunney, Head of Fuel Procurement
All over the UK, local energy groups allow communities to invest directly in renewable energy generation in their neighbourhood. We want to help them get the most out of this green power, and encourage other communities to get involved in pumping more renewables into the grid.
Bring on a new era for local renewable energy generation.
We're launching Co-op Community Energy, a new joint venture with the Midcounties Co-operative.
Greg Jackson, Octopus Energy CEO and founder
By funding and using local renewable power from the community, for the community, when the sun shines, the wind blows and rivers run, we can take the pressure off the national grid and save the world from using even more fossil fuels.
What is Community Energy?
All over the UK, there are local energy groups which allow communities to invest directly in renewable energy generation in their neighbourhood and beyond – whether it’s from solar panels on rooftops, wind turbines on farmland, or hydropower from the local river. Purchasing Community Power means you can support local communities across the country, and we pay the generators a fair price for the power they produce. The revenue they receive can go straight towards community initiatives from nature conservation efforts to insulation for homes in disadvantaged areas.
How will Co-op Community Energy Help?
We also buy energy directly from these local energy groups via contracts called Power Purchase Agreements. This allows community generators to get fair prices for the power they’re selling, and means that more green energy gets pumped into the grid for everyone’s benefit.
Combining Octopus Energy’s signature technological agility, and Midcounties Co-operative’s wealth of community generation experience, Co-op Community Energy will facilitate greater investment in community energy across the UK.
We’ve already secured 13 new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) including five hydro-electric sites owned by the National Trust across Wales.
So far, we've teamed up with 84 community projects around the UK
Here's just a few of them:
Osney Lock Hydro
Osney Lock Hydro was the first community-owned hydro scheme to be built on the Thames. It generates more than 179,000 kWh of clean electricity annually. Our founder Greg went to visit the site along with some legendary leaders in community energy to launch of our exciting new project...
Westmill wind and solar farm
This venture was born when an Oxfordshire community banded together to develop renewable generation on local farmland.
Their wind and solar generation is enough to power 4,500 homes, and 100% of this renewable energy is purchased by Co-op Community Energy. A large proportion of the profits go straight to the Westmill Sustainable Energy Trust, who promote energy efficiency and provide grants to others who can help advance renewable projects.
- Five 50 metre wind turbines. That's enough to power 3,000 homes, and save roughly 5,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
- 30 acres of solar panels. That's enough to power 1,500 homes, and save roughly 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Powering 1,200 homes using energy from the Thames
In the early 2000s, a group of green-minded friends in Sandford-upon-Thames dreamt of generating clean energy from a small weir in the river near their homes.
Over 400 individual investors (most from Sandford and Kennington) helped fund the generator, and 10 years later, Sandford Hydro now generates enough energy to power the entire village of over 1,200 people.
They sell this green power to us, and use some of their profits to spark more fantastic initiatives like this one aimed at reducing carbon emissions.
Oxford Bus Company solar
An inspiring local team installed 540 solar panels on the roof of Oxford Bus Company’s city centre HQ, getting the funding for the panels by selling shares to like-minded members of the community.
This project is one of the first community energy projects like it, and helped create a blueprint for all future initiatives.
The profits from selling their surplus green power has gone towards creating over 40 similar renewable energy projects.
Southill Solar is a community-run solar farm, capable of powering over 1,000 UK homes. Some of its profits go to support other green community initiatives, from providing energy efficient lighting in local community centres, to conservation in the Cotswolds, and installing Britain’s first high-tech thermo-solar beehives.
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