New website will make buying and selling community shares easier for all
Emily Mackay’s interest in community generated energy started when she was told that she couldn’t put solar panels on her own roof, so she set out to invest in a community energy microgeneration project instead. Her enthusiasm grew as she saw the potential for a new service that would help others do the same and Microgenius was born.
Microgenius is a national not-for-profit website that links people with an interest in sustainable energy with communities that are developing micro-generation projects. It simplifies the process of finding and purchasing community shares in renewable energy projects.
Emily Mackay, founder of Microgenius comments:
“When I was looking to invest in renewable energy I found it really difficult to find the community projects. It was so frustrating! I eventually found and talked to some co-operatives and community benefit societies and I realised then how burdensome they find attracting investors and the administration that comes with it.
“Microgenius is designed to simplify the process for both projects and investors. It is a web-based platform that has been specially developed to manage the administration of fundraising and also to make it possible to reach a much wider range of people with the share offer.”
Microgenius has received an enthusiastic response from key players in the industry including: ethical energy provider Co-operative Energy, Co-operatives UK and renewable electricity supplier, Good Energy.
Nigel Mason from Co-operative Energy says: “We’re committed to playing our part in tackling climate change and sourcing energy from renewable sources to provide our customers with clean, cost-effective energy.
“We were keen to lend our support to Microgenius as this will make it easier for individuals to support community-level green energy schemes.”
Ed Mayo, Secretary General, Co-operatives UK says that co-operatives and community benefit societies (Industrial & Provident Societies) are prospering. He says:
“For the past four years, the co-operative sector has outperformed the UK economy, demonstrating resilience in difficult economic times and proving that values and principles go hand in hand with commercial performance. More than 5,900 co-operative businesses in the UK contribute £35.6bn to the UK economy and operate across all business sectors.”
Juliet Davenport, CEO and founder, Good Energy, said: “At Good Energy we know how valuable communities are in changing the way we make and use energy. By producing their own electricity from local, natural resources, communities can take control of their energy needs and help theUKtowards a 100% renewable future”
An estimated £25m has been invested in community shares in renewable energy and much more is anticipated. Shareholders become members of the society and everyone gets an equal vote in how it is run. They receive a social, environmental and financial return on their investment.
There are at least 59 energy co-operatives already registered across the UK according to the Community Shares Action Learning Research Project, and some are already generating energy using wind, hydro and solar power. Many more projects are planned.
Microgenius soft launches in beta mode with a community share offer for Sheffield Renewables to fund their Jordan Dam hydroelectric project. Their launch event will being on 15th September 2012 more information is available here.
Written by Victoria Ellis