At last people in Hampshire will be able to directly benefit from the generation of locally produced renewable energy, as one of the county’s first energy co-operatives is launched.
Hampshire Renewable Energy Co-operative Limited (HREC), has been formed to maximise co-operative and community ownership of new renewable energy generation in the county, and to provide an information about all aspects of renewable energy.
Martin Heath, HREC spokesperson, comments: “As one of the fastest growing sectors of the economy, co-operatives are more common than most people believe. Co-operatives are a well-proven model for community energy ownership that is democratic, accountable and transparent. They are the dominant form of ownership for energy schemes in Denmark and Germany, and many successful schemes have already been set up in other parts of the UK.”
HREC will continue to campaign for the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm, and is in talks to purchase a 10% share of the wind farm from EDF Energy Renewables.
The Co-Operative Model
Using the co-operative model, local people will be given the opportunity to buy shares in the wind farm and earn a fair interest on their investment. The Co-op plans to make a surplus which will be ploughed back into the local community. Martin says “Our aim is to firstly ensure that the co-op members get a decent share of the revenues generated from the wind farm and then to make sure all surplus money is re-invested back into the local community”. The Co-op will use surpluses, for example, to install solar panels on community buildings, or for the installation of efficient insulation in schools or village halls.
Martin continues: “All renewable energy schemes have costs and benefits, and community ownership allows us to bring back those benefits to the county. All the financial benefits of energy generated at the moment leave Hampshire and often go to the energy company shareholders, banker and investors outside of the UK. Using our model, the proposed Bullington Cross Wind Farm will allow us to improve the county’s energy usage for many years and to keep some of the financial benefits for ourselves.” He continues, “it will make Hampshire and cleaner and greener place to live”.
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