German energy co-op takes on big energy in the UK

German energy co-op takes on big energy in the UK

Date: 13 January 2015

International resistance is building against another nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point in Somerset. German sustainable energy cooperative EWS (Elektrizitätswerk Schönau) is taking on Electricité de France (EDF). In a fight against large corporate controlled energy and unfair subsidies EWS has lodged a formal complaint against the UK government’s subsidy of Hinkley, with the EU Commission.

No matter your opinions on nuclear, one thing’s for sure: it’s expensive. The fact that EDF are having to rely so heavily on subsidies to make Hinkley Point C viable clearly demonstrates how we, the UK citizens, will be taking the brunt of this cost. EDF will be granted £92 per megawatt hour as part of a Power Purchase Agreement meaning UK households will be paying double the current cost of electricity for power from Hinkley. The agreement has been under scrutiny by the National Audit Office and analysts at Liberum Capital stockbrokers have said that these subsidies will make Hinkley Point C the most expensive power station in the world, made even worse by the massive cost of de-commissioning.

Unfortunately this is just another example of how our unjust energy system is making the Big Six energy firms richer whilst hiking prices for households across the country. Collectively, the Big Six made £2.8 billion in 2013, with profits from domestic customers five times higher than in 2009 while an estimated 7million people live in fuel poverty in the UK.

Hinkley and other corporate controlled energy projects like it are moving us further away from de-centralised democratically controlled energy. Until control of energy is taken away from corporations and put in the hands of communities and energy users, energy will not be supplied in a way that is equitable and affordable.

Energy co-operatives such as EWS are a great example of how control can be taken into public hands. EWS has been a great success in Germany supplying energy to approximately 137,000 people, focusing on providing renewable energy.  And it seems that EWS are now doing us all a huge favour by taking this to court, as it would be British citizens who would feel the worst effects of costs and potential disasters. More than 12,000 people have already signed the petition in Germany and the petition has been translated into French and English.  Please sign the petition at