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Hackney’s first green energy co-op launched on Homerton estate

PUBLISHED: 18:46 22 April 2014 | UPDATED: 18:46 22 April 2014

Banister House, of Homerton High Road.

Banister House, of Homerton High Road.

Archant

Bannister Estate residents have formed Hackney’s first green energy co-op which will generate sustainable power and address youth unemployment and fuel poverty, on top of giving Hackney residents ethical investment opportunities.

Under the Hackney Energy people living on the Homerton Estate will be able to buy shares in renewable energy generated by solar panels installed in their neighbourhood.

Hackney Council has provided seed funding for the project which was set up in partnership with Repower London, a not-for-profit social enterprise which works with local authorities and communities to develop locally owned energy infrastructure.

Soon solar panels will be installed to generate zero carbon electricity.

Door knocking and community engagement on the Banister House estate showed that 85 per cent of the residents there support the installation of community-owned solar panels, while the remaining 15 per cent said they were interested in the project.

Ann Canaii, chair of the Banister Tenants association, is excited.

“I’ve lived on this estate for seven years and seen what good hard work can create,” she said.

“I run a soup kitchen in the community centre - today we cook local food and tomorrow we will make local energy.

“I hope it will make a difference to our community.”

So far over 20 young people have expressed interest in joining Repowering London’s 20 week internship programme, where they can learn about the financial, technical, media, legal and structural elements of a renewable energy cooperative.

They will then gain training in energy efficiency and draught busting, and install the solar panels with professional contractors.

Repower London’s chief executive officer, Agamemnon Otero said: “It’s not just about putting some solar panels up on the roof, but it’s about creating a platform for those who are most disaffected, those who are out of work, so there’s something they can be part of, so they can donate their time and energy and see their community changing.

“It’s about social investment, reducing fuel poverty, it’s really trying to address all those issues and keeping the money the local community.”

The group has already overseen three successful projects in Brixton, Lambeth, where over 25 young people completed 15 week internships and residents saw energy bills slashed by up to 40 per cent.

The smallest share available costs £50, with a maximum investment of £20,000.

On a similar Repowering project in Brixton, the co-operative voted to allocate 20 per cent of the revenue generated into a community fund to tackle fuel poverty and raise awareness of energy efficiency.

Members of the cooperative will decide how the community fund is spent.

Banister House resident, 17-year old Aisha Fortunato, said: “This project is important because it is taking our money back from the big companies and giving it back to our communities.”

Under the Hackney Energy people living on the Homerton Estate will be able to buy shares in renewable energy generated by solar panels installed in their neighbourhood.

Hackney Council has provided seed funding for the project which was set up in partnership with Repower London, a not-for-profit social enterprise which works with local authorities and communities to develop locally owned energy infrastructure.

Soon solar panels will be installed to generate zero carbon electricity.

Door knocking and community engagement on the Banister House estate showed that 85 per cent of the residents there support the installation of community-owned solar panels, while the remaining 15 per cent said they were interested in the project.

Ann Canaii, chair of the Banister Tenants association, is excited.

“I’ve lived on this estate for seven years and seen what good hard work can create,” she said.

“I run a soup kitchen in the community centre - today we cook local food and tomorrow we will make local energy.

“I hope it will make a difference to our community.”

So far over 20 young people have expressed interest in joining Repowering London’s 20 week internship programme, where they can learn about the financial, technical, media, legal and structural elements of a renewable energy cooperative.

They will then gain training in energy efficiency and draught busting, and install the solar panels with professional contractors.

Repower London’s chief executive officer, Agamemnon Otero said: “It’s not just about putting some solar panels up on the roof, but it’s about creating a platform for those who are most disaffected, those who are out of work, so there’s something they can be part of, so they can donate their time and energy and see their community changing.

“It’s about social investment, reducing fuel poverty, it’s really trying to address all those issues and keeping the money the local community.”

The group has already overseen three successful projects in Brixton, Lambeth, where over 25 young people completed 15 week internships and residents saw energy bills slashed by up to 40 per cent.

The smallest share available costs £50, with a maximum investment of £20,000.

On a similar Repowering project in Brixton, the co-operative voted to allocate 20 per cent of the revenue generated into a community fund to tackle fuel poverty and raise awareness of energy efficiency.

Members of the cooperative will decide how the community fund is spent.

Banister House resident, 17-year old Aisha Fortunato, said: “This project is important because it is taking our money back from the big companies and giving it back to our communities.”


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