The Pre Power Co-operative System

The Pre Power Vision:

“We see a world in which all local communities own and control enough infrastructure to meet all of their needs in a way which has positive results for people and planet.

We envision the Pre Power Co-operative System as our means to provide community owned and operated renewable energy equipment to provide for any communities electrical and energy needs.”

We find ourselves in a situation where the major power structures of our society – big business and government – appear to be fully committed to a mission of creating more and more money, by any means necessary. 

Unfortunately, one major casualty of this mission is the atmoshpheric stability of the Earth, due to excessive release of greenhouse gasses. While this has become priority number one for most of the people who know about the problem, big business and government are showing no signs of reacting to the climate crisis in a timely manner – and time is absolutely of the essence.

To enable the general public to make meaningful progress to combat the climate crisis, CoCanberra has developed the concept of the “Climate Co-op”. 

Working together, we can take the economy out of the hands of those with only greed in their eyes, and make the decisions that need to be made for ourselves.

We can regain ownership and control of the things that provide for our basic needs, through localised community ownership. This may well become critical as the climate crisis escalates beyond human control.

Building on top of the International Cooperatives Alliances traditional co-op ethics, values and principles, Climate Co-ops add 3 elements:

  1. Needs based: They provide for one of our basic human needs, as a primary purpose
  2. Towards a healthy Habitat: Their operations produce positive results for climate and/or the other crises we face – social, biodiversity loss, etc.
  3. A regenerative culture: The organisational design avoids the key institutional roots of these environmental crises, and the interconnected roots of our social ills at the same time. Climate Coops will create new institutions which regenerate both the Earths living systems, and the nurturing, non-destructive sides of human culture.

Find out more through THIS LINK.

Energy production, use and storage is the focus of the Pre Power co-ops. As one major source of greenhouse gasses, energy is a sector ripe for positive change.

Solar energy generation is a proven method to avoid the greenhouse gas emissions produced through coal-fired electricity generation. Every kWp the Co-op can install provides an on-going avoidance of the requirement for coal-fired generation, particularly if it is paired with energy storage technologies. 

The uptake of solar energy is being held back due to the up-front costs of installation being unaffordable or unattractive for many.

what we will do about it

Pre Power is pioneering a new form of self-funding cooperative, using a pre payment model (thus the pre prefix…). The first Pre power Local Co-op and the Central Co-op have been formed, and are in the process of being built into many allied renewable energy cooperatives. The unique self-funding model is transferrable to other sectors, which will be developed in the future.

The system is designed to maintain a community scale, replicating human scaled PrePower Local Co-ops rather than creating a single massive co-operative. This is designed to maintain the benefits of a community where members have the ability to meet and know everyone else in the coop – which then maintains accountability and a high level of trust.

These Local Co-ops will collectively own the PrePower Central Co-operative – whose sole job is to support the Local Co-ops and lower their costs of doing business. Using 20% of each Local Coops takings, Pre Power Central will employ people to do the hard organising work for the Local Coops. 

PrePower Central will provide business support ranging from work process templates through to ready made payment apps, and will facilitate support from a wide network of other Local Co-ops. The PrePower Central “Umbrella” co-operative will make scaling up as easy as it can possibly be.

The PrePower Co-op design opens the door for people, building owners, and businesses without the up-front capital presently required to install solar, to get solar installed. Simultaneously, they will be reducing their electricity consumption bills. 

An established PrePower Co-operative system will enable massive community investment in and ownership of renewable electricity generation assets, and will unlock many spaces which are currently unavailable for solar generation for economic reasons alone. This will greatly assist the communities capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Widespread community ownership of electricity generation is one of the PrePower Cooperative systems core purposes. The Pre Power Co-operative model provides a pathway for community ownership of renewable regeneration assets and empowers that community to control the impact of their energy use on others. 

PrePower Co-operatives will organise the installation of solar generation equipment onto members premises. The purchase and installation costs of these solar installations will be met through investment in the Co-op by its members. 

PrePower Co-operatives will deliver fair and affordable renewable energy to their members by owning and operating renewable energy assets, including solar panels, inverters and batteries. 

how does it work?

The PrePower Co-operative system is unique. This is the first occurrence of this co-operative design that we know of anywhere in the world. It has combined elements of franchise design, and of Co-operative Commonwealth design as seen in the Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in Spain, alongside a new system of pre-payments being pioneered and built right here in Canberra.

Becoming a member means you are becoming an owner of the Co-op.

Once you are a member, you gain the right to do two things (or both at once):

  • Have the Co-op install a solar generator on your premises
  • Invest in the Co-op’s solar generation capacity

The electricity produced will be sold directly to the members within the premises, who receive a discounted price when compared with the price of grid supplied electricity. 

Investment is open to members with or without Co-operative owned solar installed on their premises. 

Opportunities for investment will arise when another member takes up the option to have Co-op owned equipment installed at their premises.

Returns on investment will come in two ways:

1. The Co-ops preferred option is for those with Co-op solar installed on their own roofs to invest. Their returns will be met through further discounts on their already discounted electricity prices

2. If there is not enough investment from members with Co-op solar installations, members without Co-op equipment installed can invest. 

Their returns will be met via a fixed return over a fixed timespan, paid for  through Co-op members regular electricity bill payments by who those who do have Co-op equipment installed.

The PrePower Co-operative system has been designed to fully fund itself, and to create a small profit which can be used (according to the direction of the PrePower Local Co-op membership, through a democratic budgeting process) to:

• Fund the establishment of and maintain the operations of the Pre-Power Central Co-operative – whose sole job is to support the operations of the PrePower Local Co-ops, and lower their costs of doing business.
• Create more PrePower Local Co-ops
• Provide a funding source to subsidise further energy efficiency, electrification, renewable generation and energy storage options for its members

• Provide a funding source to develop similar local organisations in other sectors
• Create a common reserve fund for emergency use

why should I join?

The entire community can benefit from establishment of the PrePower Co-operative system, including:

• Households and commercial premises who cannot currently afford the up-front costs of solar installation
• Landlord / tenant combinations who both wish to contribute to the generation of solar electricity (provides a small income stream for the landlord)
• Public housing providers seeking cost effective ways to find efficiencies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions within their housing stock
• Public housing tenants who want to contribute to the climate change response

• People wishing to invest their money into projects which enhance social engagement and environmental stewardship, while maintaining a respectable return on their investment

• Everyone else through the avoidance of further greenhouse gas emissions.

Membership of a PrePower Local Co-operative is attractive to all members of the community:

• Members all have an ownership stake, and through that, a voice in how the co-op is run

• Membership provides access to renewably generated electricity at no upfront cost except for the membership fee (provided that the member has suitable premises to install Co-op equipment on)
• Members have the opportunity to get their premises retrofitted for energy efficiency at reduced cost
• Members with Co-op owned installations are getting much cheaper electricity due to the 30% membership discount
• Members are directly contributing to Greenhouse gas abatement through Co-op participation
• Members must engage in choosing where the co-ops profits are directed (as a membership condition)
• An excellent avenue has been created for divestors and self-directed super funds to put their investments into

• Landlords can earn an income stream for having Co-op panels installed on their premises

• Communities can create their own local coop to raise funds for specific local causes, eg. the local school (provided the local cause meets the community development fund application criteria)
• It is not hard for a local group to start up or maintain a PrePower Local Co-operative (due to PrePower Central Coop support)

The prospect of climate breakdown means every community will be in need of capable leadership teams. The proliferation of Pre Power renewable energy co-ops and Climate Co-ops in other sectors will develop community leadership through:

• The small scale replication of Local Co-ops (up to about 150 households)
• Communities will get to know each other through membership +

• Many local leadership teams will emerge through the existence of many PrePower Local Co-ops.
• These teams will all have a common network (PrePower Central Co-op) through which to communicate, network, and mentor each other
• Discussing and directing where the PrePower Local Co-op profits will go is a part of the membership requirements of the PrePower Local Co-op

As a further development of the Pre Payment funding model, we intend to establish a local electric vehicle conversion, charging and car sharing network using the same funding model. 

Plans are already under way to use the Pre Payment funding model in the housing and farming sectors. Your support for the Pre Power renewable energy co-ops will hasten the transition to a truly sustainable economy.

Who is involved?

Our team includes people with a wide range of relevant experience, including:
• Tom Nockolds (director) – Wide corporate experience including project management. Currently working with Pingala Energy Co-operative and the Community Power Agency
• Kevin Cox (director) – Long experience in computer programming and business start-ups
• Scotty Foster (director) – Electrician with 8 years experience in solar installations – Clean Energy Council certified for design and installation of on-grid and off-grid solar. Co-op Nerd.
• Lizzy Smith – Provides a commercially oriented, scientific approach to solve complex issues and improve business outcomes. Creates strategic programs for complex human systems.

• Paul Marando – Software Systems Developer and Large scale IT systems designer with 20 years experience.
• Brendan Eve – User interface and User Experience designer with 18 years experience on large scale IT projects