Community wind-harnessing initiative launched to combat fuel poverty in Scotland

A new community organisation has been launched to offer cheaper electricity to those most in need after a survey found that more than a third of Scots (36%) admit to living in fuel poverty.

Research from community-owned renewable energy assets manager Mongoose Energy and not-for-profit energy supplier Our Power revealed that fuel poverty is particularly affecting millennials with over half of those aged 18-34 (56%) directly impacted.

With fuel prices continuing to rise, 38% of Scots consider investment in renewable energy projects as the best solution, preferring this to increased regulation and fuel price freezes, whilst three quarters (74%) are calling for the crisis to be dealt with as a matter of urgency, the survey added.

To help tackle the situation, Mongoose Energy and Our Power have partnered to launch a new community organisation dedicated to harnessing the power from two Scottish community-owned wind power projects to offer cheaper electricity to those most in need. The wind farms, based in Pogbie, East Lothian, and Brockholes, Berwickshire, will be seeking to raise £2,875,000 to fund the projects, across both bond and equity offers, with all surplus profits – an estimated £1,900,000 over 25 years - invested into helping alleviate fuel poverty in Scotland.

The effort aims to reduce the number of people who have to spend more than 10% of their household income just to keep their houses heated to a basic level.

Further research from Mongoose Energy has demonstrated that almost two thirds (60%) of Brits are seeking exactly these sorts of investment opportunities, where they have the chance to ‘do good’, rather than just making a profit. This is a growing trend, with a fifth (21%) of people saying that they are more likely to invest in this type of fund now than they were five years ago, with many choosing investments in ethical funds and renewable energy due to the guarantee that their money will be used to ‘do good’ (25%), a desire for higher interest rates (32%), and the poor performance of current investments, such as cash ISAs (17%).

Those investing in Mongoose Energy’s bond and share offers, launching on March 28, will be able to take advantage of inflation-linked target interest rates which, whilst they may rise and fall over 20 years, currently deliver returns of 6.6% and 8.1% respectively. Investors will also have a stake in local renewable energy generation, as well as seeing the real impact their investment has on helping to reduce fuel poverty across Scotland.

Alister Steele, chair and co-founder of Our Power

Alister Steele, chair of Our Power, said: “Our Power’s ambition includes securing a long-term supply of renewable energy. This innovative initiative will create the potential to not only secure local renewable energy in a cost effective way, which will help us deliver our social mission of tackling fuel poverty, but provides the potential for wider community investment in the assets. Directly linking renewable generation and not for profit ownership to addressing fuel poverty is a really exciting breakthrough. On the back of this Our Power has recently launched a new tariff +IMPACT which is not only green but is also designed to tackle fuel poverty – the more customers who switch, the more those in need save on their bills.”

Mark Kenber, CEO of Mongoose Energy, said: “The findings of this research show the critical levels to which fuel poverty has risen in Scotland. It demonstrates that an increasingly purpose-minded public is seeking out alternative ways to invest their money in ways that help solve major issues such as this. Their investment choices are no longer driven solely by potential rates of return but also by a desire for a tangible, positive impact on their community.

“The bond and equity offers in Pogbie and Brockholes provide these investors with the chance to earn competitive rates of interest on their investments, whilst also making a huge impact on the lives of others. We have committed to ensuring that the profits generated by the project are used to help make energy more affordable for all, providing much-needed funds to help end fuel poverty in Scotland.”

Those wanting to join the waiting list, or wishing to find out further information on opportunities for investing in £2,875,000 of community-focused investment opportunities, should click here before March 28.

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