New year, new you
Holiday season eating and drinking mean we could be 2.3kg (5lbs) heavier in 2018. Here’s how a visit to a Midcounties Co-operative pharmacy Health Hub can help. By Christine Fieldhouse
Published 7 Jul 2017
Imagine a world where our electricity comes entirely from natural sources such as the sun, wind and rain, our towns and cities get richer, businesses work together in harmony, and our communities prosper.
This is the blueprint that Co-op Energy, part of the Midcounties Co-operative, is using as it charges ahead to become greener, cleaner and even more community-focussed.
For not only does it care for the environment by providing electricity from 100 per cent renewable sources, it also ploughs profits back into local communities. Mark Billsborough, Head of Hedging and Renewables for Midcounties Co-op Energy, explains: ‘The Co-op redistributes its profits locally and pays them out as a share of profits to its members.’ And those ethics go even further – in that Co-op Energy wants to make a real impact on climate change. Because Co-op Energy gets its electricity from local wind farms, solar parks and hydro stations, it doesn’t fill the air with carbon pollutants that would come from coal-fired stations, for example.
‘By reducing our carbon emissions, we are reducing the impact on climate change,’ says Mark. ‘That is incredibly important to us.’
The secret to Co-op Energy’s success lies in its relationships with its local communities, who have set up their own wind farms, such as Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative in Watchfield, Oxfordshire, and solar parks such as South Hill Solar Farm near Charlbury, Oxfordshire. These local suppliers sell their energy directly to the Co-op under a contract called a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Co-op Energy had nine PPAs in 2014, which had grown to 40 by 2017. Now there are 66 PPAs with community groups – and half are in the Midcounties area. ‘We’ve become leaders in supporting community energy,’ explains Mark. ‘We actively try to buy energy from renewable sites within our location. It’s our goal to ensure they get a fair market price for their energy.’