Meridian TV did a great job this weekend covering our call for Prime Minister David Cameron to come and visit Brighton Energy Coop. Check out their coverage here – it’s also a great opportunity to see the huge scale of our recent install at Shoreham Port.

One of Mr Cameron’s ministers has also been vocal in support recently: DECC minister Greg Barker today urged people to consider investing in solar rather than a pension.  Mr Barker is not wrong: here at BEC we offer a projected return of 5% plus a 30% tax break on the amount invested. Pension funds would be hard-pushed to match that.

With that in mind we have recently extended our share offer, so if you’re interested in getting involved check out our share invitation here, or click here to see how to join. We’re currently fundraising for a similar-sized system to the one you can see in the Meridian link above.

Meanwhile back to Mr Cameron: we feel it’s fundamental that the Prime Minister understands how community energy works. His answer in parliament last week showed that he and his advisors are perhaps not up to speed on what communities around the country are doing.

Asked by Brighton MP Caroline Lucas whether he’d support community schemes, Mr Cameron said:

“We’ve set out the strike prices and the energy act so that we can be a real magnet in renewable energy investment.”

Which is all good news. However, strike prices relate to generators over a certain capacity. Community renewables fall under the banding of the Feed in Tariff – the regime used for smaller generators.

So Mr Cameron’s answer didn’t really inspire confidence that he know what community energy even is. We’d love to have him come and visit and get a first-hand experience of this exciting sector. Come on Dave!

On other matters we’ve recently had delivery of a report on the potential for anaerobic digestion (AD) in Brighton and Hove. AD is a kind of natural mulching process – which also captures the heat and gas produced and uses it to make electricity and to warm buildings and the like.The report flags up that Brighton and Hove chucks away a staggering 60,000 tons of food every year. With this in mind we’re now advancing plans for a community-owned facility that can process this and do something useful with it.

Finally congratulations to our sister coop, OVESCO in Lewes, who recently spearheaded a grant bid to kick-start more energy coops in Sussex. OVESCO have won a £50,000 to mentor start-up renewable groups, so if you’re interested in starting your own energy coop then contact them via their website.


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