BWCE is a not for profit community benefit society, owned and run by our members for the benefit of the community.
Our vision is for a local area able to supply decreasing local energy demand with increasing generation from renewable energy, driven by collective action and community ownership.
Our focus has been on developing clean local energy, community-owned for the common good.
Our area of benefit covers Bath & North East Somerset and parts of Wiltshire and South Gloucestershire that border B&NES.
Since BWCE was established in 2010, the organisation has played a pioneering role in the development of community-owned renewable energy, and now has assets worth £16.5 million, with 12.35 Megawatts of mainly solar PV generating capacity. This is enough capacity to meet the equivalent annual electricity demand from around 4,000 homes.
These renewable energy projects have been funded by a mixture of bank debt and community fundraises, with over £9 million raised by members and bondholders. Members become shareholders in BWCE. The principle of one member one vote, regardless of shareholding, forms the foundation of a democratic approach to organisational governance.
We do not distribute profits to our shareholders, but we do pay interest on their investment. Additionally, we recycle cash surplus back into local communities via an independent community fund and to date we have distributed £145,000 to support local community projects acting on carbon reduction and fuel poverty.
Our members play an important role in the organisation, electing the majority of our board from their number, and engaging with key strategic developments like new areas of work and the development of our business plan. Members have also expressed interest in getting more involved in the delivery of our projects and work programmes.
Our priorities for the next 3-4 years, as set out in the business plan overview, are to increase local participation and local profile, launch a local energy supply tariff, increase community renewables capacity, and innovate with new technologies and new approaches to local energy markets.