WOCoRe is owned by more than 250 local investors who have put their savings to work to support community energy.
West Oxford Community Renewables Limited (WOCoRe) is a Registered Society, run for the benefit of the community. Its shareholders are its members and they control the Society, with each member having one vote regardless of the size of their shareholding. WOCoRe was set up as a mutual society using the Wessex model rules, which can be seen on our Governance page.
Benefits of investment
Our members invested in our projects primarily to support the environmental and social benefits that we set out to achieve, and which are set out in our Share Offer Documents. We are also able to offer our members a modest interest payment each year in return for committing their savings to support the long-term success of the project. This interest is not guaranteed.
Individual investors in some of our share raises were also able to claim tax relief on their investment under the goverment’s Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) – which applied to the initial share raise on the hydro – and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) – which applied to particular share raises for both the hydro and the solar PV arrays at Matthew Arnold School.
Our original financial model was based on returning the short-term loans we had taken out and, over the lifetime of the projects, the equity invested by our shareholders. We have successfully repaid our loans, and have started to return capital to our investors.
Why community energy?
Community energy plays an important part in the UK’s energy picture. Community energy can range from solar panels on the roof of a village hall to large-scale wind-energy developments. Community energy schemes deliver the following benefits:
Use of local resources
Locally-owned schemes are better at exploiting local resources such as solar, biomass, farm waste, water-power, or wind sites which may be overlooked by commercial developers. They bring diversity to the UK’s energy portfolio, building resilience and security.
Attracting new investment
Community energy schemes attract investment from new sources, often local. Given the significant levels of investment required to renew the UK’s energy infrastructure, new sources of finance – such as individual and community investment – are needed.
Funding energy-reduction initiatives
Many of these community schemes use the income generated to fund local energy-saving initiatives such as Low Carbon West Oxford and Hogacre Common Eco Park.
Helping the local economy
Retaining the revenues from renewable energy projects within the community often leads to significant benefits for the local economy.
Increased awareness of climate change
Community energy schemes can promote ‘energy literacy’ and greater understanding of climate change issues.
Local action on a global issue
Local schemes are a way for communities to make a difference locally on an important global issue.