NICE ‘One to Watch’ WINNER @ Social Enterprise Awards 2015

NICE ‘One to Watch’ WINNER @ Social Enterprise Awards 2015

NICE a Northern Ireland, pioneering, community energy benefit society, are delighted to have received, SENI’s ‘One to Watch’ 2015 award @ their evening ceremony in the Dunadry Hotel. This was a significant and much appreciated recognition of achievement for our pioneering, Northern Ireland, community owned, renewable energy enterprise.  Anne Ford and Karen Arbuckle split their day & evening attendance @ the Social Enterprise Conference and Evening Awards on 20th October 2015, Dunadry Hotel, Co. Antrim. Click on this link to view video footage of the awards and NICE – SENI 2015 Awards...
NICE Facilitate a Co-Operative Alternatives Study Tour Visit as part of Co-Operative Convergence Fortnight

NICE Facilitate a Co-Operative Alternatives Study Tour Visit as part of Co-Operative Convergence Fortnight

20th October 2015 at NICE Co-Op members – Ashden, North Belfast – 12 kW solar pv installation Tiziana O’Hara and Jo Bird the driving forces behind Co-operative Alternatives organised a very successful Study Tour of Northern Ireland Co-ops plus an international discussion on Co-op responses to Austerity as part of the all-Ireland Co-operative Convergence Festival. On Tuesday October 20 a group of people interested in exploring the co-operative model were taken on a half day tour to see the work of the Northern Ireland Community Energy society, the Belfast Cleaning Co-operative, the Credit Union for Teachers in Northern Ireland in Finaghy Road South and the Creative Workers Co-operative in King Street. Those taking part on the study tour included Anne Ford, from the Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE), whose successful community share offer was supported by the Community Shares, ready! programme commissioned by the Building Change Trust and delivered by Co-operative Alternatives. During the visit Anne Ford showed the PV solar panels installed on the Ashton Centre , explained the aims of NICE, adding that the centre was one of the 13 community and voluntary groups that her co-operative has worked with as part of its mission to encourage the use of more green energy. The reaction to the study tour was very positive from those who took part, including Dr Alastair Herron from Ulster University’s School of Art, who believes that it is a model that could be adopted by graduates looking at career choices after they have completed their studies. He said: “The tour was excellent and very informative. It is great to see local co-operatives developing...
Drumlin Wind Energy & NICE Co-Ops Community Energy Afternoon

Drumlin Wind Energy & NICE Co-Ops Community Energy Afternoon

Held on 5th September 2015 at Breezemount, Connor The weather was absolutely fabulous, a gorgeous, cloudless, very sunny day with a lovely slightly cool good wind, perfect weather conditions for this joint co-operative renewable energy showcase celebrating Community Energy Fortnight 2015. Go ahead and check out usave – business gas prices in case that you company is looking for energy waste reduction. Drumlin and NICE are currently in Northern Ireland pioneering community owned renewable energy co-operatives.  Northern Ireland lags far behind GB, EU and international progress in this industry. Rodney & Karen were the first landowners that entrepreneur Andrew McMurray had approached and signed on board in leasing a site to Drumlin.  Both Rodney as a Board Director and Karen supporting E4all in marketing and communications have been actively involved in Drumlin Wind Energy Co-Operative.  Following this involvement Karen was approached and has been engaged on a voluntary basis as a Director in NICE, Northern Ireland’s first energy co-op established as a community benefit society, an initiative brought about by Cye Bannon. In continuing their support to both co-operatives and community renewable energy initiatives the Arbuckle family were more than happy to host this event to highlight, raise awareness within the local area and wider community, the work of these co-operatives, achievements to date and their desire and commitment to progress promotion and development of community owned renewable energy projects utilising energy efficiency practices and technologies. The co-ops were delighted with the response and support shown for this event.  Some 60 people came along on the day, a diverse mix of interests – co-operative members, neighbours, friends, family and...
An Invitation to join Drumlin Wind Energy & NICE at their first community renewable energy event!

An Invitation to join Drumlin Wind Energy & NICE at their first community renewable energy event!

Click to Register Saturday 5th September 2015 – 2:00 until 4:00 pm – Breezemount, 66 Parkgate Road, Connor, Ballymena BT42 3PF Marking ‘Community Energy Fortnight’ Northern Ireland’s community energy co-operatives – Drumlin Wind Energy & Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) are jointly holding a community renewable energy afternoon at ‘Breezemount’, Drumlin’s 4th wind turbine location. This is a free community event open to all.  We welcome our members, family, friends and community representatives to come along see first-hand and learn more about Northern Ireland community energy co-operatives and renewable energy.  There will be something of interest for all ages at our fun & relaxed renewable energy day! Directors & technical experts of both co-operatives will be on-hand to discuss & answer any questions about these wind and solar enterprises. You also will have an opportunity to view solar equipment and see inside Drumlin’s wind turbine! We do hope you can join us and would ask that in order to facilitate car parking and catering arrangements you would let us know by clicking the ‘register here’ button above. NB  This event is FREE.  You are welcome to promote your business at this event however you will need to bring your own table/stands should you wish to do so....
Another NICE 12kW Installation done @ YMCA, Londonderry

Another NICE 12kW Installation done @ YMCA, Londonderry

main photo: Jo Bird, Co-Operative Alternatives & NICE Member & Peter Caldwell, Manager YMCA Londonderry.   Just before the bank holiday weekend NICE appointed installers arrived at YMCA Londonderry as scheduled and have mounted the 12kW solar pv array!  Wiring and commissioning will take place after the bank hols. This is NICE 6th installation, free of charge to this Northern Ireland 3rd sector community organisation.  As with all our organisation members this is a great facility which has just commenced doing some updating and extension work. This busy centre will undoubtedly utilise the energy their array will generate and their energy cost savings benefits are already being reinvested in their community building! WIN WIN. Thanks again Jo for climbing the scaffolding with Peter for these great aerial photos done again by Jack Farrell, Hive Studios, Derry – much...
NICE @ Co-Operative Alternatives Event – Showcasing Community Shares in NI

NICE @ Co-Operative Alternatives Event – Showcasing Community Shares in NI

photo left to right:- Nigel McKinney, Building Change Trust; Jo Bird, Co-Operative Alternatives; Laurie Davies, Lacada; Karen Arbuckle, NICE; Tiziana O’Hara, Co-Operative Alternatives; Matthew Dick, Boundary; James Orr, Down to Earth NI. Co-Operative Alternatives invited NICE to join in their Community Shares in Northern Ireland Showcase Event which was held at Boundary Brewery on Thursday 25th June 2015. This event was a celebration of the benefits of community shares and what had recently been achieved by newly established local co-operatives.  Showcasing were Boundary Brewing, Lacada Brewery, Down to Earth NI and Northern Ireland Community Energy – NICE which have raised more than £350k and attracted hundreds of new members. It was a great opportunity to meet, share and learn from the experiences of other local co-operatives.  Whilst the initiatives differed from breweries, burial alternatives to community energy the one we thing we all had in common was a passion for working together in our social enterprises. A fantastic networking event one which will hopefully be replicated again. As previously reported NICE (and the other co-ops mentioned) has been supported by Co-operative Alternatives, a co-operative commissioned by the Building Change Trust to run its Community Shares, Ready! pilot project to increase awareness of Community Shares in Northern Ireland.  Their advice and support was invaluable in helping NICE come to be. A new video featuring interviews with Nigel McKinney from Building Change Trust and Jo Bird and Tiziana O’Hara from Co-operative Alternatives which was shown at the event and can viewed online  CLICK HERE the video incapsulates the services they can provide to new enterprises or developing existing...
NICE bang on £150k target

NICE bang on £150k target

NICE SHARE OFFER NOW CLOSED! We have done it. Through our community share offer NICE surpassed its capital investment target of £150k. The Board of Directors implemented the shares allocation revised policy (rev. @ time of the last share extension) ‘first come first served’. We can now confirm our share offer is officially closed @ a grand total investment of £150,450. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the local community for their interest and support in NICE, N.I.’s 1st solar community energy society and can assure you and our members that this finance has already been put to good work as reported over the last number of weeks. We also wish to thank Community Shares who with the support of the Building Change Trust helped us bring this pioneering community energy society to our local community. For those who missed out on an opportunity to become a NICE member – this is just our first phase project, please do continue to keep an eye on our website and social media pages for news of our future initiatives and possible future share offers! You can also subscribe to receive our E-News a link will be posted to our website in the coming days – please bear with us as we bring our website up-to-date to reflect our developments and achievements....
NICE Celebration of Achievement with Chinese Welfare Association

NICE Celebration of Achievement with Chinese Welfare Association

Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE) held their first open public meeting in the Belfast area on Wednesday 17th June 2015.  The event was kindly hosted by our members the Chinese Welfare Association who were our 2nd community organisation to receive a NICE funded 12 kW solar pv installation. We held the open community meeting as a ‘celebration of our achievements’ to date and to also ‘showcase’ the renewable community energy intiative at the Chinese Welfare Association.  We were delighted to welcome Anna Lo, MLA  Alliance Party South Belfast Constituency to talk us about the importance of community involvment in embracing renewable technologies in making a sustainable future for all of us and in reducing our carbon footprint.  Anna commended NICE Board of Directors (all volunteers) for their aspirations and hardwork in bringing this pioneering project to fruition and she sincerely hoped that there would be branch off or mirrored community energy co-operatives established on the basis of NICE success. William Olphert, Managing Director Chinese Welfare Association (CWA) advised they had strived hard to acquire their own building and in being able to use solar energy to reduce their energy costs through NICE, helped them also to become more energy efficient and has made the long term sustainability of the centre more secure.   He advised CWA would make a 2/3 saving on their annual electricity bills. We received a heartfelt welcome from Mr Danny Wong (Chair) and Mr Frankie Hee Ying Ho (Vice-Chair).  They looked forward to the long-term partnership with NICE and hoped we would be frequent visitors to their Centre.  They lead a guided visit up to the...
Ashton Centre Opted into NICE Solar Project

Ashton Centre Opted into NICE Solar Project

Local press release:- The Ashton Centre in North Belfast is opting for solar power as they join forces for with Northern Ireland Community Energy (NICE), a community-owned co-operative that aims to help the community and voluntary sector while providing green energy. NICE has installed the panels at no cost to the Ashton Centre, making this a viable option for the organisation. Ciara Rea, Head of Corporate Service said “Ashton Centre is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and this is a great opportunity to work with NICE to meet this objective using a cooperative model. “Solar panels are environmentally friendly and will be the major energy source for the future and we are delighted to be part of this”. NICE is Northern Ireland’s first community owned solar energy enterprise and recently launched a Community Share offer to raise enough capital to install solar panels on the roofs of up to 9 buildings that are owned by Northern Ireland third sector organisations such as community groups and charities. Karen Arbuckle, Director of NICE, explained “The community buildings will benefit from electricity at a greatly discounted price for twenty years – while also supporting a more environmentally sustainable method of producing energy. Any surplus energy will be sold to the electricity Grid and NICE will be able to deliver a return of approximately 4% to investors/members as well as to create a community fund. The community fund will then be used again in local communities for energy saving improvements to tackle fuel poverty in Northern Ireland”. NICE was also granted approval by HMRC for the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax...