Mark Luntley, Director of Westmill Solar Co-operative and Chair of Westmill Wind Farm Co-operative recently took part in an interview on behalf of Energy4All with French Company Enercoop. Enercoop is a French electric utility Co-operative which only uses renewable energy. It is the only one in France in the form of a Co-operative.
Below is the translated transcript from the interview but anyone wishing to read the full French version can find it at https://www.enercoop.fr/content/la-rencontre-du-reseau-de-cooperatives-anglais-energy4all
Enercoop: How are you? How is your cooperative doing?
Mark Luntley: Energy4All has had a really great year. One of our member cooperatives, the Schools Energy Co-op, won the title of “inspiring co-op of the year”. That coop has now installed 2.9MW of power on 80 schools. Most recently gaining planning permission for an array on Cloisters of Salisbury Cathedral.
More widely we’ve been working with a developer in Scotland putting in community hydro schemes in rural locations. And we have been aware a “Fairtax” accreditation - showing we pay our fair share in society.
Enercoop: What are you currently working on? what are your main ongoing projects/activities/priorities?
Mark Luntley: The office is working on a project to refinance an iconic wind project, adjacent to where Energy4All started in Cumbria. The plan is to bring a three 2.3MW wind turbines at “Mean Moor” into full cooperative ownership.
We have several other projects under-way. We are extending our partnership with Edinburgh council to install more panels across that city.
Enercoop: At Enercoop, we are currently working, among other activities, on the transposition of the new EU definitions of energy communities in French law for we hope it will help bring about a citizen-led and citizen oriented energy transition needed to overcome part of the challenges our societies are facing today. Do you think energy communities is part of the solution to have more resilient societies in a post sanitary crisis world?
Mark Luntley: Absolutely. We think any successful energy transition must put citizens at its heart, and in our view the best way of ensuring renewable energy is democratically controlled is through cooperatives.
When we started, Energy4All was a pioneer. Now there are different community energy groups right across the UK, some small organisations and others based in cities.
One of the great things about cooperatives is that they are an international family with the same set of inclusive values. We’ve been hugely inspired by the work that Enercoop has been doing, and the principles you set out in “Derrière la Prise”. Several of our cooperatives have been thinking how to take those same ideas and apply them here.