Welcome to your Westmill summer newsletter. In it, you can find out about the decisions at our recent Annual General Meetings, and also how your co-operatives have been performing so far in 2021.
We would like to thank all our members for their support for this year's AGMs, whether it was attending online or voting on the motions ahead of the day.
The Westmill Solar and Wind Co-operatives are nothing without their members, so it was great to have so many of you involved.
All the resolutions proposed to the meetings were passed by large majorities. 2020 was a record generation year for Solar and Wind’s second highest ever generation year and as a result there was a good surplus in each co-operative, part of which has been formally allocated to a development reserves to further the work of the co-operatives.
Westmill Wind said goodbye to two directors: Alan Rudell and Ruth Conchie and everyone thanked them for all their work and wished them the very best for the future. Gary Bills and Vivian Woodell were elected to the Wind board and you can find out more about them in this newsletter.
We have received some incredibly positive feedback about the event, particularly with regards to Charlie Luxton’s presentation on the work that he and Hook Norton Community Land Trust (CLT) are doing for community-led low carbon housing. You can watch his presentation on the Westmill Solar YouTube channel and for those who want to get further involved you can subscribe to become a member of Hook Norton CLT.
Other recordings, draft minutes and those questions that were unable to be answered on the day are currently being readied and we will notify you when these are available for members to read/watch.
One of the characteristics of a co-operative is that it trades with its members. For a number of years both Wind and Solar have sold their electricity to Your Co-op Energy, making it possible for members to buy their electricity.
At the start of this year we took this a step further. Working with Your Co-op Energy, we have introduced a Trading Dividend. This means that, just like any other co-operative, Westmill members buying electricity from us can now receive a dividend based on that trade. The annual meeting agreed the Trading Dividend would be £15/household member for both co-operatives.
Member Survey Responses
We also wanted to take this opportunity to thank the 1,002 members who completed our recent survey. It was great to get input on our emerging ideas for the future from such a wide range of members.
Over 98% of both Wind and Solar members agreed that we should start exploring the viability of continuing beyond the initial lives of the projects, and nearly 70% of you would like to recommit beyond the current forecast end date and continue to be a member.
Of the initial future strategy ideas put forward, the two that were most strongly supported were to develop future revenue streams and to support new renewable generation initiatives. These were followed by high levels of support for focusing on promoting sustainable lifestyles and increasing the number / diversity of members.
The survey also gave us a better understanding of why members initially joined and how their interest in both community renewable energy and co-operatives have increased over time.
Finally we found that 40% of you are on Facebook, which is useful information as we consider ways to both attract new members and communicate with existing members.
We are still working through all your detailed comments and will continue to ask for further feedback and input from you as our future strategy is developed.
Power purchase prices and extended PPAs
Wholesale electricity prices have varied over the last year, in April 2020 one year fixed prices were lower than £30 per MW/h for wind and solar technologies. Prices have increased since then and working with younity (Power purchase agreement provider) who facilitates the electricity for Your Co-op Energy’s Community Power tariff. Westmill Wind has agreed electricity sales through to 2022 at over £60 per MW/h and Westmill Solar have agreed prices through to 2023 at over £55 per MW/h for the Summer months and over £70 per MW/h for the Winter months.
2021 production to date
The Westmill financial year runs January to December. Traditionally the wind blows more in the winter and less in the summer while Solar’s generation is obviously much stronger in summer than winter. By the end of June Westmill Wind had generated 5.1GWh of electricity to date, benefitting from above average generation in February, March and May, although April and June production were below budget, leaving the co-operative 5% below Wind generation budget at this point in the year.
During the same period, Westmill Solar generated 2.38 GWh. This was below the record generation that we saw in the same period in 2020 and 13.4% below our budget for the year.
Extending windfarm planning consent
Based on very positive feedback from the Wind members we have submitted our planning application to Vale of White Horse District Council to extend our current planning consent.
Our current consent allows the turbines to operate for 25 years, and we're requesting that this be increased to 40 years.
New Wind directors elected
Gary Bills. Gary is a senior manager and specialist in renewable energy, specifically onshore and offshore wind and solar energy. Gary is responsible for the renewable energy programmes across the world including on and offshore wind and solar in Europe, Africa, Latin America and Middle East:
Vivian Woodell. Vivian is a leading member of the UK co-operative movement, he founded the Phone Co-operative a leading social enterprise and is Vice President of Midcounties Co-operative. Vivian is a board member of Co-operatives UK and a trustee of the co-operative college.