Octopus Energy and Midcounties Cooperative have launched Co-op Community Energy, a joint venture focused entirely on supporting renewable community energy projects across the country.
The intention to create the joint venture was announced when Midcounties and Octopus Energy signed a strategic energy partnership in August.
The two companies have now underscored their commitment to growing the community energy sector in the UK by creating a stand-alone company and appointing a management team led by managing director Tom Hoines.
The joint venture has already got off to a flying start, having secured five new Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) with hydro-electric sites operated by the National Trust across Wales. The new agreements take the number of sites supplying renewable energy to Co-op Energy customers to 79.
These new PPAs demonstrate its continuing commitment to investing in local communities and paying generators a fair price for the power they produce.
Managing Director Tom Hoines is a leading figure in community energy circles having played a major part in launching the Community Energy Conference in 2013. He joins from Noble Green Energy, developers of renewable energy projects in the UK, where he was general manager.
Prior to this, Tom began his career at Co-op Energy, where he was the organisation’s first head of renewables. He is also a non-executive director of the Low Carbon Hub and was previously head of renewable sales for Opus Energy.
Tom Hoines said:
“The creation of Co-op Community Energy is a ground-breaking step in driving forward community generation in the UK.
“In a subsidy-free environment, it is crucial that community groups are given support in finding opportunities to develop and grow projects, and that they have confidence that energy suppliers will pay a fair price for the power they generate.
“Octopus Energy and the Midcounties Co-operative are showing real leadership in this area, and we have ambitions to increase our own portfolio of community energy partners.
“My priority in the coming weeks will be to travel around the country, meeting with community groups to understand in even more depth the challenges they face today, and how Co-op Community Energy can best support them.”
Phil Ponsonby, chief executive of the Midcounties Co-operative, said:
“We’ve long been the leading supporter of community power in the UK, and with the launch of Co-op Community Energy we want to go even further.
“In bringing together the technological capability and agility that Octopus Energy provides with the co-operative values and community generation experience of the Midcounties Co-operative, Co-op Community Energy is perfectly placed to grow the sector.
“Tom’s unparalleled experience across the sector makes him the perfect person to help us achieve our ambitions and we’re thrilled to have him on board.”
Greg Jackson, CEO of Octopus Energy said:
“The launch of this joint venture is part of the most exciting change in UK energy infrastructure. By funding and using local renewable power from the community, for the community, when the sun shines, the wind blows and rivers run, we can take the pressure off the national grid and save the world from even more fossil fuels.
“These brand new community energy projects we are working with across the UK are a small step to decarbonising our planet, decentralising our grid and sourcing power locally, and we can’t wait to get more signed up”
For journalists in their professional capacity only. Issued by Octopus Energy Ltd. Registered office: 33 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HT. Registered in England and Wales No. 09263424. Issued: November 2019.