The Network can have up to 9 Directors on the Board, we currently have one vacancy and our current Directors are:
Caroline Bird (chair)
Caroline is a freelance researcher, currently based at the University of Bristol where she has been working on energy demand management, alternative forms of city governance, community energy, and with social enterprises in various sectors responding to climate change. Her research in 2013 helped BEN develop the groundbreaking Bristol Community Strategy for Energy and has fed into the national Community Energy Strategy. At the core is an interest in the broad issues of environmental sustainability and, more specifically, in community action, energy and climate change, and sustainable environments and how interdisciplinary, cross-sectoral approaches help develop practical solutions – particularly in cities.
Caroline has past lives in Civil Engineering and local government environmental policy and brings a breadth of sustainability knowledge and experience and a few useful skills to the board. She was also a director of Transition Montpelier and a member of the Montpelier Energy Group.
Jake Barnes (advisor)
Jake is an activist and academic. He joined the network shortly after its first public meeting in late 2010, first helping coordinate the network and later as a director. In 2013 he coordinated the development and launch of the Bristol Community Strategy for Energy and in 2014, led the incorporation of the network into a CIC. In his research Jake explores how progress towards low carbon energy systems and sustainability transitions more broadly can be achieved. He has worked with local governments, community groups and social enterprises to reflect, learn and pursue transformations to sustainability. He currently holds a research position at the University of Oxford.
Jenny Howard Coles
Jenny is from Bristol and works as a Senior Development Manager at Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) where she develops new ideas, projects and income streams for the organisation. She has worked in the local and community energy sector for five years and has experience of developing and managing energy projects and services with domestic, commercial and public sector beneficiaries, collaborating with a variety of partners.
Jenny joined CSE following four years working for Plymouth City Council as a Low Carbon Officer and Business Developer for the award-winning community benefit society Plymouth Energy Community (PEC). Her varied role involved project, partnership and organisation development and management.
Jenny is especially interested in projects which link the sustainable energy and fuel poverty agendas with wider issues such as housing, education and economic development. She has an MSc in Architecture, advanced environmental and energy studies from the Centre for Alternative Technology where her research focused on community energy and local planning.
The following new directors were elected to the Board at the AGM – pictures and more details to follow.
Karn works as a civil engineer and project manager for Jacobs, an engineering consultancy. In this role, he has gained experience in delivering planning applications, business cases and stakeholder engagement for flood risk management and transport projects. Prior to this, he has worked in France on a project developing innovative construction methods for onshore wind turbines, and in Peru developing innovative, low-cost sanitation solutions and businesses in Peru for Water for People. Since moving to Bristol in 2017, Karn has been involved with Bedminster Energy Group, both as a director and a volunteer, learning about the community energy sector and its key role in combating climate change from the ground up.
Mark has worked in varied roles across public, private and charitable sectors.
Over a decade in local government has included coordinating the 2015 European Green Capital bid, supporting the Bristol 2015 company, managing the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, working on climate change policy, land-use planning policy, and providing BCC support to Bristol Energy Network, other community energy organisations and Bristol’s Community Strategy for Energy.
His background includes training and development, community development, and community and stakeholder engagement and consultation.
Mark is currently organising the Clean Air for Bristol engagement programme for Bristol City Council.
Paul has been working for the community energy sector in the UK since 2003. He was involved with the first community owned wind farm in Scotland and won the prestigious Ashden Award for this and other projects. Paul continued to support the development of charitable community energy projects in Scotland until 2008 when he joined Energy4All. Since then Paul has delivered five shared ownership co-operatives in Scotland, including the Spirit of Lanarkshire Co-operative, which successfully raised £3m and owns a stake in two large commercial wind farms. Paul was a founding member of Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op, the largest community owned rooftop solar project in the UK and is a founding member and currently Chair of Rumbling Bridge Community Hydro Society, the largest community owned hydro scheme in the UK. Find him on Linkedin.
Rebecca has recently completed a PhD exploring the use of temporary planning consents for onshore wind and solar farms. More broadly, Rebecca’s research has focused on how the planning system can facilitate increased renewable energy production. Rebecca has experience in advising government policy on renewable energy including shaping policies on onshore wind repowering. She has a MSc in town planning and experience of working as a planning consultant. She is currently working as a policy analyst for for Business West where her work focuses on planning and environmental issues in Bristol and the surrounding area.
I am an environmentalist, SuperHome (Think Bristol Green Open homes!) owner (achieved over 70% carbon reductions through behavioural change and technology combined), researcher, sole-trader with 25 years’ experience of sustainability within a public- service organisation. New to Bristol, I bring experience of how to run a successful, constituted, community environmental organisation over twenty-years and have delivered low carbon innovation, saving over £250,000 per year, with a projected efficiency saving of over £2,000,000 on projects already in the ground and an expected payback on investment of under 3 years. I have trained as a Low Carbon Retrofit Coordinator and have delivered practical refit at scale.
Sam Willitts has worked in environmental roles across the public sector. He has been the Energy and Sustainability Manager at University Hospitals Bristol since 2010. Along with tackling carbon emissions through both engineering and behaviour change approaches; his efforts are focused on embedding sustainability in activities across the Trust. Key successes in greening the Trust have been achieved through developing partnerships with organisations across Bristol and beyond. He is particularly interested in community led solutions to sustainability problems. He is a Director of Keynsham Community Energy. He has recently completed a One Planet MBA at Exeter University.
AGM – January 2020
The 2019 Annual General Meeting was held on Wednesday 22 January 2020 at the Future Economy Hub on Gloucester Road. The full review and annual Directors report is here.
Board meetings are held regularly, usually on the first Wednesday of the month, to review activities of the CIC and ensure good governance.