We reached another milestone in our short history this week with the financial close of a further three large renewable energy projects. That means that all together the community energy groups who own us have now raised £20 million of investment in solar power generating 57 MW, enough to power 18,000 average UK homes! What is more, they are making a real difference in their local areas via grants to charities and other organisations tackling fuel poverty, promoting energy efficiency and improving the environment.
Community Energy is unique in delivering on three levels: financial, social and environmental. We have worked out that for every pound that people invest, at least a pound will go to these local good causes over the lifetime of each project. That is in addition to money going back into the local economy from returns to investors. In terms of environment, every kilowatt of solar and other renewable energy that we generate in the UK means less reliance on burning fossil fuels to keep us working and playing this winter.
So I would like to congratulate our community energy group boards and members on becoming part of a movement which really is having an impact, socially, environmentally and economically. Our vision is of an energy market run by people, for people, and they are at the vanguard of that.
It is important to point out too that we have had help to reach this people power milestone. In order to bring these mini renewable power stations into community ownership, we do need support from banks, social and commercial investors to provide loans and interim financing. With our Community Benefit Society partners we have raised £15.4 million from public sector, social and commercial investors and £34 million in loans from banks like Triodos. Like our Community Benefit Society members, they expect to receive a financial return on their investment and be part of the renewable power revolution.
So congratulations to all involved. By working together, ordinary people, local authorities, banks, social and commercial investors are succeeding in making the world a better place by harnessing the power of sun, water and wind to generate energy and income for themselves and their communities.
Jan Willem Bode, Managing Director