Renewable energy cooperative wins its first contract

22nd May 2012

A new renewable energy cooperative based in Bury, Lancashire, is due to honour its first contract by installing a new biomass boiler in a church on Merseyside.

The Biomass Energy Cooperative was founded by Grant Miller, Chris O’Connor and Ricky Davies with assistance from the Coop group’s enterprise hub and supplies businesses, community buildings and domestic properties with heating systems. As well as supplying renewable energy systems the cooperative is also aiming to promote a transition to a lower carbon economy and it is also involved in a number of other environmental improvement projects.

The new boiler is due to be installed at St Saviour’s Church at Great Sutton in Ellesmere Port. It is worth £45,000 and is predicted over the next 20 years to generate a surplus income of over £130,000 thanks to the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme.

“Modern biomass boilers are simple in principle” said Chris O’Connor who is the group’s Operations Director. “They are fully automated, require very little maintenance and use wood pellets, wood chips or energy crops to provide heat and hot water. We believe it is an exciting time for renewables, they have the potential to transform the way that business thinks about its heating.”

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub has allocated around £1 million for 2012 – 14 in order to help increase the number of community-owned renewable energy projects. It was first piloted in 2009 and has now assisted more than 750 member-owned cooperatives throughout the UK.

“People are genuinely amazed at how much they can save “ Chris O’Connor added, “and, with programmes like the Renewable Heat Incentive – similar to Feed-in Tariffs, a comparable scheme for electricity – it is expected that even more people will explore the installation of renewable heat equipment.”

The boiler will burn wood shavings and pellets and will reduce the church’s carbon emissions by more than 580 tonnes over twenty years.