The UK Energy sector goes co-operative

Last week Co-ops UK sent out their Members Briefing and posted news about the following report nationally and internationally. 

It seems that the UK population is taking energy into its own hands, with a 24% rise in the number of ‘member owned’ energy co-operatives in the last four years. 

The new figures from Co-operatives UK, the national trade association for co-operative enterprises which works to promote, develop and unite co-operative enterprises, show that member owned energy organisations is the fastest growth area for co-operative businesses in the UK. 

The data is released alongside a comprehensive research report on the sector – ‘A Co-operative green economy – New solutions for energy and sustainable social justice’ written by Pat Conaty and published by Co-operatives UK, which explores the potential for co-operative solutions in renewable energy and household energy reduction. 

Grassroots co-operatives are now organising under the feet of the big six energy companies 

Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, says: 

“Co-operative energy businesses are owned by members and run for members. The co-operative model is a perfect antidote to current energy practices – co-operatives put their members in control of where profits go whether that is back to members, back to the community or to invest in viable green energy projects. 

“The big six energy companies are still the giants in the market, but grassroots co-operatives are now organising under their feet.” 

Ovesco, in Sussex, is one of Britain’s first community-owned renewable energy providers, formed to help its community invest in localised zero-carbon energy generation. It helps set up community owned energy schemes, fitting solar panels and providing energy advice.  

The Co-operatives UK report can be downloaded at www.uk.coop/energy.

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