M&Co; takes hold of energy supply by building wind farmsDecember 2011
A British clothing retailer has taken the unusual step of setting up a renewable energy subsidiary “to secure full control of its future electricity consumption”.
M&Co has launched MEG Renewables to operate several small- and medium-sized wind farms in Scotland that it hopes will generate 20 megawatts of capacity, enough to meet the energy needs of its 300 UK stores.
M&Co stores will not be directly ‘plugged in’ to the subsidiary’s energy generation. Instead, the company plans to sell enough electricity to the national grid to supply all of its stores, thereby protecting it from energy price rises and cutting its CO2 emissions.
By managing the wind sites rather than just financing them, M&Co says the arrangement will mean stability and continuity of supply throughout the decades of a site’s operational lease. The move will also mean a “diversified long-term income stream for the parent group”, according to MEG.
M&Co energy manager Duncan Black said: “As well as providing a secure source of renewable electricity, owning our own wind turbines provides a valuable hedge against future upward movements in electricity prices.”
MEG is currently seeking partners. Ken Hunter, business development manager of the new entity, said: “Approaches are being made by lots of individuals and organisations promising all sorts of deals. But our experience is that farmers and landowners like the idea of working with a name they know and a business that has been around for a long time.”
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