Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Is co-operative energy the solution to climate change?


With climate change increasingly having a disastrous global impact, growing numbers of local communities are responding by launching their own renewable energy co-operatives in an effort to slash the UK's greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact green energy co-ops are now one of the fastest growing parts of the UK co-operative sector having grown by 24% in the past four years.

"The first co-operatively-owned wind farm opened in Cumbria in 1997," explains Rebecca Willis, co-author of a report into co-operative renewable energy published earlier this year.

"Since then, over 7,000 individual investors have ploughed over £16 million into community-owned wind turbines and other renewable technologies resulting in that there are now over 40 co-operatively-run renewable energy projects across the UK."

Typical of the motivation that lies behind this behind this surge in the numbers of renewable energy co-ops is that demonstrated by Mark Wells, a director of the newly-launched Sheffield Renewables co-op: "When we bring future generations to mind, ignoring the problem of climate change is not an option. So even though climate change is a very big problem, we want to do our bit, and so we chose to work as a community to build a renewable energy scheme."

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