Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) Co-Operative

Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) Co-Operative

c/o Co-Operative Alternatives, Unit 40a
North City Business Centre
BT15 2GG
United Kingdom

'a local community energy co-operative, taking forward, community owned, renewable energy initiatives and energy efficiency services which provide a return socially, economically and ecologically'

NICE is the first solar community owned energy co-operative in Northern Ireland.  This not-for-profit pioneering enterprise is run by a group of volunteers with a track record in renewable energy and co-operative models.  While traditional energy companies aim to maximise profit that reaches a small number of individuals NICE community-owned co-operative is based on a decentralised and far more equitable model that helps the environment, helps the local community, and is built upon principles of fairness.

NICE first phase project will install 114kW of solar pv array, free of charge, on buildings owned by NI third sector organisations e.g. charities and community groups. These groups/organisations benefit from electricity at a significantly discounted, fixed rate price, for the next 20 years. The co-operative generates revenue from the sale of electricity and receives an income from the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCS).

To finance this innovative society NICE launched a community share offer on 3rd March 2015 to raise £150,000.  This is the first time residents of NI have been able to buy into a community energy benefit society.  Investment was invited from £250 up to £20,000.  An annual surplus over expenses will enable the co-operative to give a modest interest payment as a return to its investing members up to 4% forecasted.  One of its primary objectives is creating a community benefit fund which will allow this social enterprise to roll out further renewable & energy efficiency projects to the local community.

NICE is a Community Benefit Society meaning that participating community building owners and individual investors co-own the enterprise on a ‘one-member one-vote’ basis. 100 individuals and organisations took the opportunity to become shareholders, 75% of which are NI investors.

NICE has been supported by Co-Operative Alternatives, a co-operative commissioned by the Building Change Trust to run its Community Shares Ready project to increase the awareness of Community Shares in Northern Ireland.

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  • Karen Arbuckle