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Bristol Energy Cooperative launches its most ambitious fund raise to date and asks “Will you #OwnIt in 2015?”



The year of European Green Capital for Bristol is drawing to a close. The enthusiasm for a brighter, greener future is getting stronger, but many people feel they are yet to do their bit. That’s where Bristol Energy Cooperative’s #OwnIt initiative comes in – giving local people the power to make things happen in their community.

Since 2012, the Co-op has been raising funds to install solar panels on community buildings. The building users benefit from clean energy whilst investors receive a good return on their investment.  Now the Co-op is raising its level of ambition with the launch of a £5 million fund raise for more solar projects. And it’s sending a strong message to those keen to add to the green capital legacy: go beyond the chatter and invest in clean energy.

Bristol Energy Cooperative’s #OwnIt campaign

The Co-op’s fund raise is being launched with an EIS share offer and a low minimum investment.  Investors need to get in quick though as the offer is only open for 25 days, closing on Monday 23rd November.  New investors will join a community of like-minded individuals and enjoy the collective benefits of a good return on investment, ownership of local renewable energy resources, long-term green energy for community organisations, and the re-investment of surplus income back into local communities.  This short animation explains how the fund raise will deliver.

Funds will be invested in:

– solar rooftop installations on buildings such as Brentry Children’s Centre, Hartcliffe community farm, Marlwood secondary school, and the Architecture Centre.

– a 4.2 Megawatt local solar farm at Lawrence Weston.

– a second 4.6 Megawatt solar farm near Puriton in Somerset.

BEC’s share offer is projected to deliver 5% interest per annum, and qualifies for EIS tax relief.  What’s more, people can invest using Bristol Pounds.

Andy O’Brien, Co-Director at the Co-op, said: “This Autumn, Bristol Energy Cooperative invites people to #OwnIt for as little as £50. However, we urge interested investors not to hesitate about investing as we have a short window for the offer.  It’s the last chance for people to get the most out of their investment and grow our clean energy generation capacity.  We’re calling on everyone to help grow the local green economy by investing in projects that do good – for the environment, for the community, for investors, and for the Bristol region.”

Mayor George Ferguson said “This is exactly the kind of grassroots initiative that will carry forward the good work already done in Bristol this year under European Green Capital 2015. Bristol City Council has already been supporting Bristol Energy Cooperative’s work by making our buildings available for rooftop installations. We shall continue to help such initiatives through our new Community Energy programme, which we’ll launch on the 9th November.“

“I encourage people from all around the city to get behind this, Own It, and help to transform Bristol into a clean energy city with local investment that will also make you some money!”

Mongoose Energy, a Bath-based community renewable energy developer, is providing support to the Co-op on the #OwnIt projects.

“We are proud to be working with Bristol Energy Cooperative on these truly community-owned projects,” Jan-Willem Bode, managing director of Mongoose Energy, says.  “They won’t be impacted by the recent Government proposals to reduce the Feed-in Tariff support scheme for renewables. This is because the projects have already been pre-accredited by Ofgem and their Feed-in Tariff rates are now locked in. Investing in these projects not only provides a good financial return but also leads to real community benefits.  However you need to be quick off the starting line as EIS tax relief is due to finish at the end of November.”

Money doing good

In its previous share offers, the Co-op raised £247,000 from over 200 investor-members, and installed solar panels on community buildings including Hamilton House in Stokes Croft, Knowle West Media Centre, and Easton Community Centre.

Rachel Clarke, Communications and Press Officer for Knowle West Media Centre, said: “In the first year after installation, we saw our use of mains power drop by a massive 25%. Combining the solar panels with a collaborative effort to reduce energy just goes to show what you can achieve when new technologies and personal action come together.”

Julian Weston, Finance Manager of Easton Community Centre, adds: “The solar panels plus other initiatives we have taken have reduced our energy costs by a factor of 50%. We think it’s a fantastic project because that saving, not only is it green and kind to the environment, it’s enabling us to use that money on other things around the centre.”

Investors in the Co-op have so far enjoyed an annual return on their investment of 4%, and this year this rose to 5%. Taxpayer investors have also been able to claim tax relief on their investment. Alexandra Pickford, a local pioneer investor in the Co-op, said:  “I invested because I wanted to do something to change our local energy situation and see a good return on my savings.  This empowers a lot of people who can come together and makes you feel very good that you are doing something towards it.”  Watch this short video to hear more from BEC’s investors.

How to invest

Bristol Energy Co-operative has selected Ethex, an online investment platform, to market the share offer and act as receiving agent for its investment applications.  Ethex specialises in positive investment for social businesses.  Applications to the Co-op’s share offer can be made here.

The Co-op will also be launching a bond offer shortly as part of its fund-raise.

Further information about the Co-op and its investment opportunities is available at

The value of an investment may go up as well as down. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. An investment in the shares offered in the Share Offer carries risks and you may lose the whole value of your investment. Please consider this carefully in the context of the complete share offer document and related information and, if needed, seek independent advice.



New Zealand to Switch to Fully Renewable Energy by 2035



renewable energy policy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Eviart /

New Zealand’s prime minister-elect Jacinda Ardern is already taking steps towards reducing the country’s carbon footprint. She signed a coalition deal with NZ First in October, aiming to generate 100% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2035.

New Zealand is already one of the greenest countries in the world, sourcing over 80% of its energy for its 4.7 million people from renewable resources like hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. The majority of its electricity comes from hydro-power, which generated 60% of the country’s energy in 2016. Last winter, renewable generation peaked at 93%.

Now, Ardern is taking on the challenge of eliminating New Zealand’s remaining use of fossil fuels. One of the biggest obstacles will be filling in the gap left by hydropower sources during dry conditions. When lake levels drop, the country relies on gas and coal to provide energy. Eliminating fossil fuels will require finding an alternative source to avoid spikes in energy costs during droughts.

Business NZ’s executive director John Carnegie told Bloomberg he believes Ardern needs to balance her goals with affordability, stating, “It’s completely appropriate to have a focus on reducing carbon emissions, but there needs to be an open and transparent public conversation about the policies and how they are delivered.”

The coalition deal outlined a few steps towards achieving this, including investing more in solar, which currently only provides 0.1% of the country’s energy. Ardern’s plans also include switching the electricity grid to renewable energy, investing more funds into rail transport, and switching all government vehicles to green fuel within a decade.

Zero net emissions by 2050

Beyond powering the country’s electricity grid with 100% green energy, Ardern also wants to reach zero net emissions by 2050. This ambitious goal is very much in line with her focus on climate change throughout the course of her campaign. Environmental issues were one of her top priorities from the start, which increased her appeal with young voters and helped her become one of the youngest world leaders at only 37.

Reaching zero net emissions would require overcoming challenging issues like eliminating fossil fuels in vehicles. Ardern hasn’t outlined a plan for reaching this goal, but has suggested creating an independent commission to aid in the transition to a lower carbon economy.

She also set a goal of doubling the number of trees the country plants per year to 100 million, a goal she says is “absolutely achievable” using land that is marginal for farming animals.

Greenpeace New Zealand climate and energy campaigner Amanda Larsson believes that phasing out fossil fuels should be a priority for the new prime minister. She says that in order to reach zero net emissions, Ardern “must prioritize closing down coal, putting a moratorium on new fossil fuel plants, building more wind infrastructure, and opening the playing field for household and community solar.”

A worldwide shift to renewable energy

Addressing climate change is becoming more of a priority around the world and many governments are assessing how they can reduce their reliance on fossil fuels and switch to environmentally-friendly energy sources. Sustainable energy is becoming an increasingly profitable industry, giving companies more of an incentive to invest.

Ardern isn’t alone in her climate concerns, as other prominent world leaders like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron have made renewable energy a focus of their campaigns. She isn’t the first to set ambitious goals, either. Sweden and Norway share New Zealand’s goal of net zero emissions by 2045 and 2030, respectively.

Scotland already sources more than half of its electricity from renewable sources and aims to fully transition by 2020, while France announced plans in September to stop fossil fuel production by 2040. This would make it the first country to do so, and the first to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles.

Many parts of the world still rely heavily on coal, but if these countries are successful in phasing out fossil fuels and transitioning to renewable resources, it could serve as a turning point. As other world leaders see that switching to sustainable energy is possible – and profitable – it could be the start of a worldwide shift towards environmentally-friendly energy.


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How Going Green Can Save A Company Money



going green can save company money
Shutterstock Licensed Photot - By GOLFX

What is going green?

Going green means to live life in a way that is environmentally friendly for an entire population. It is the conservation of energy, water, and air. Going green means using products and resources that will not contaminate or pollute the air. It means being educated and well informed about the surroundings, and how to best protect them. It means recycling products that may not be biodegradable. Companies, as well as people, that adhere to going green can help to ensure a safer life for humanity.

The first step in going green

There are actually no step by step instructions for going green. The only requirement needed is making the decision to become environmentally conscious. It takes a caring attitude, and a willingness to make the change. It has been found that companies have improved their profit margins by going green. They have saved money on many of the frivolous things they they thought were a necessity. Besides saving money, companies are operating more efficiently than before going green. Companies have become aware of their ecological responsibility by pursuing the knowledge needed to make decisions that would change lifestyles and help sustain the earth’s natural resources for present and future generations.

Making needed changes within the company

After making the decision to go green, there are several things that can be changed in the workplace. A good place to start would be conserving energy used by electrical appliances. First, turning off the computer will save over the long run. Just letting it sleep still uses energy overnight. Turn off all other appliances like coffee maker, or anything that plugs in. Pull the socket from the outlet to stop unnecessary energy loss. Appliances continue to use electricity although they are switched off, and not unplugged. Get in the habit of turning off the lights whenever you leave a room. Change to fluorescent light bulbs, and lighting throughout the building. Have any leaks sealed on the premises to avoid the escape of heat or air.

Reducing the common paper waste

paper waste

Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By Yury Zap

Modern technologies and state of the art equipment, and tools have almost eliminated the use of paper in the office. Instead of sending out newsletters, brochures, written memos and reminders, you can now do all of these and more by technology while saving on the use of paper. Send out digital documents and emails to communicate with staff and other employees. By using this virtual bookkeeping technique, you will save a bundle on paper. When it is necessary to use paper for printing purposes or other services, choose the already recycled paper. It is smartly labeled and easy to find in any office supply store. It is called the Post Consumer Waste paper, or PCW paper. This will show that your company is dedicated to the preservation of natural resources. By using PCW paper, everyone helps to save the trees which provides and emits many important nutrients into the atmosphere.

Make money by spreading the word

Companies realize that consumers like to buy, or invest in whatever the latest trend may be. They also cater to companies that are doing great things for the quality of life of all people. People want to know that the companies that they cater to are doing their part for the environment and ecology. By going green, you can tell consumers of your experiences with helping them and communities be eco-friendly. This is a sound public relations technique to bring revenue to your brand. Boost the impact that your company makes on the environment. Go green, save and make money while essentially preserving what is normally taken for granted. The benefits of having a green company are enormous for consumers as well as the companies that engage in the process.

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