UK renewable energy targets The UK has signed up to a legally-binding EU target that 15% of total energy consumed will come from renewable sources by 2020. Its Renewable Energy Roadmap indicates that about half of this target (7.5%) will be met from ‘National’ level deployment with little or no local influence, and about half (7.5%) will be met from technologies and resources over which there is local control and influence.
Part of a transition in Bristol. How does BEC fit in?
Who we are 2011 Formed by people from a number of community energy groups in the city. Won seed funding from Bristol City Council. Incorporated as a Cooperative for the Benefit of the Community with assistance from the Cooperatives Development Agency. Mentored by Centre for Sustainable Energy. Our aims: Investing in renewables Cutting carbon Building community
BEC’s rules (constitution) Bristol Energy Cooperative is the trading name of Bristol Community Energy Limited, a Community Benefit Society registered in England, Registration Number 31313R. Our objectives: To enable meaningful cuts in carbon emissions, and reduce dependence on unsustainable sources of energy. To fund and implement renewable energy and energy efficiency measures, in collaboration with people, communities and businesses. To work co-operatively with people and communities to make carbon reduction technologies available to all regardless of financial resources, and support mutual action to respond to the challenges of climate change.
Key features - 1 “The Society shall be owned and controlled by its Members on a fair and equitable basis.” One member one vote, regardless of size of investment. Asset lock: “…The Society must not use or deal with its assets except where the use or dealing is, directly or indirectly, for a purpose that is for the benefit of the community.” Withdrawable shares rather than transferable shares.
Key features - 2 Application of profits: Members of the Society will be rewarded primarily through a social dividend rather than a monetary dividend. Any profits of the Society shall be applied as follows in such proportions and in such manner as may be decided by the Society at the annual general meeting: (a) To a general reserve for the continuation and development of the Society; (b) To paying interest on Members’ share capital at such rate as may be determined by the Board from time to time, but not exceeding the minimum rate necessary in the opinion of the Board to obtain and retain the capital required to carry out the objects of the Society; (c) To making payment for social or community purposes within the community served by the Society.
Our structure Wider community in Bristol Members Board of directors Project development working groups Volunteers Pro bono support Wider UK and global society and environment Partners and collaborators in Bristol
BEC’s people 158 member investors 500+ supporters 6 directors
Our progress in 2012 Ran share offer for solar PV on community buildings: £125K raised from 150+ investors. 63KW installed on Hamilton House, Knowle West Media Centre and Easton Community Centre. Our projected 4% annual return to investors was met in year 1. Working groups established for PV, wind, renewable heat, and energy efficiency. Active in Bristol Energy Network, Transition network and Bristol Solar Group.
Our progress in 2013 Established office space at Happy City office, Stokes Croft. 2nd solar PV share offer running in autumn. Signed legal agreement with developer of the proposed M48/M4 wind farm. BEC has an exclusive option to buy the entire wind farm, should it be built. Launched a Community Energy Savings account in collaboration with Bristol Credit Union. Successful joint bid to the Technology Strategy Board to pilot a smart grid community governance project.
Share Offer One – Solar PV, 2012 £88,000 targeted £128,000 raised 63kW installed 158 Members, Minimum share £50 3 Community Buildings
Community energy pioneers Baywind (Energy4All) - 2002 - traditional loan funding financed by energy sales. Westmill Wind Farm Coop - nearly £4million raised through community share offer. Bath and West Community Energy - raised £750,000 from community investment and £750,000 from loan funding in 2011. Westmill Solar Co-op - £5.8 million raised through community share offer.
Other community schemes up and running Brixton Energy Co-op Bristol Energy Co-op Community Power Cornwall Ovesco IPS (Brighton) Gloucestershire Energy Co-op Bristol Power Co-op Wedmore Community Power Co-op
Where does the investment come from? Share offers open to individuals and organisations Traditional bank loan funding (Triodos Bank, Co-op Bank, RBS) Sophisticated investors (HNWIs) Bonds (Wedmore) Pension funds Specialist funds (Trillion Fund), Pure Leapfrog Institutions (B&NES Council) a mix of finance sources is common (eg, equity/debt ratio of 30:70)
Community participation / benefits A substantial, long-term community fund. Ownership and management of the project stays with the community (due to the IPS asset lock). Investment opportunities - locals have priority - potential for higher rates of return for those living closest. Local jobs (construction, etc). Increased local energy resilience thanks to local power generation. Long-term support with renewable energy and energy-efficiency initiatives. Partnership working and economic regeneration potential (“A Forgotten Landscape” project / Sustrans, etc)
Community Fund For large projects developers typically contribute to a local community fund for each year the wind farm / solar farm, etc. generates electricity. The fund is then used as the community decides. The amount given to the fund is based on the Community Benefits Protocol, under which developers in England voluntarily commit to provide a minimum of £1,000 per MW of installed capacity, per year. The recent government proposal is that the minimum amount be increased to £5,000 per MW of installed capacity, per year. BEC welcomes this. Acquisition of renewables generation by a cooperative allows, within the bounds of financial prudence, some control over the size of a community fund.