Trending now: Co-operative Energy becomes 100 per cent renewables supplier

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Co-operative Energy, a new entrant to the UK energy supplier market, has sourced 100 per cent of the electricity provided to its customers from renewable generators in its first year of operation.

In February, Co-operative Energy hit 20,000 customers and said it was sourcing more than 94 per cent of its energy from renewable sources. Today, the company announced it had hit the 100 per cent renewable energy mark. The ethical energy supplier launched against the ‘Big Six’ energy suppliers last year and pledged to offer customers a “fairer” deal. At the time, its target was to supply electricity to its customers with less than half the carbon content of the national average within a year. But after getting more customer sign-ups than expected in its first year of operation, the ethical energy supplier is now trading in 100 per cent renewable energy.

Community-owned wind farms

Cooperative Energy said it was sourcing its electricity from a number of different renewable sources, including wind, hydro and biomass. It has signed Power Purchase Agreements with independent renewable energy generators including two community-owned wind farms at Harlock Hill and Westmill. The rest of its green energy is being sourced from certified renewable sources via the wholesale market, mainly biomass.

When it officially launched in May 2011, Cooperative Energy was careful not to call itself a green energy supplier, instead only promising that renewables would play an “important” part in the energy it supplied to its customers.

Nigel Mason, Business Development manager at Co-operative Energy, described meeting the 100 per cent mark as a “great achievement”, but said company may source from non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear, as the company grows in the future.

“Open-minded” on non-renewables

“We have remained very committed to playing our part in tackling climate change since our launch a year ago. At launch, we made a public pledge to ensure that, by April 2012, the carbon content of our electricity would be less than half the national average. It’s a great achievement to source our electricity entirely from renewable sources, especially in our first year as an energy provider,” he said.

“As we grow, we will have to stay open-minded about sourcing our electricity from non-renewable generators, whilst choosing renewable wherever possible. We believe that a multi-pronged approach to energy supply is needed if the UK is to meet its climate change targets in the medium term.”

The stated aim of Co-operative Energy is to “shake up” the energy market and as such it says it needs “the flexibility to source from different types of technologies”.

Of those renewable energy generators it is sourcing from currently, the 2.5 megawatt (MW) Harlock Hill, near Ulverston in Cumbria, is Britain’s first co-operatively owned wind power project, while the 1.3 MW Westmill wind farm was the first wholly community-owned wind farms to be built in the south east of England.

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