Brighton Energy Coop is about community-owned renewable energy. Basically, we get lots of people together, everyone puts in a little bit of cash and collectively we are thus able to build large scale renewable energy systems.
Money raised from selling the electricity flows back into the coop; it’s then distributed in the form of our community fund, interest to members and paying back capital. Our host sites benefit from the cheap electricity that our panels provide.
BEC sprang to life in 2010. After six months of planning 8 people invested the start up capital that led to our first share launch in 2012. During this period 120 people joined BEC, and we built our first solar PV systems.
Since then we have been mentored by many different organisations and have achieved press coverage both locally and nationally. More than 500 people are now BEC members; we’ve raised £1,900,000 and built many big solar PV systems. For a detailed look at how we got started check out the Sussex University research project on BEC here.
Chairman & Co-Founder: Will Cottrell
Will has driven BEC forward from its inception. Overseeing both new project development and fund-raising for BEC, he has experience in the technical and financial aspects of renewable energy, as well as marketing and communications. In 2014 he was awarded Community Energy Fundraiser of the Year; in 2015 he also won the People’s Environmental Award’s prize for Energy. Previously Will started and run a newspaper in Barcelona, a yoga holiday company in Egypt and continues to run an online listings of yoga holidays.
Damian brings a sharp scrutiny to BEC’s board. With emphasis on financial, legal and regulatory aspects of our organisation, he has 14 years’ experience as a project and programme manager at Cable & Wireless and BT and was also a director of a small software company. He has Prince 2, MSP and APMP project management qualifications and has been working with Brighton Energy Co-op since August 2010. Having originally read Business Studies at Hull University, Damian completed a Masters in Leadership for Sustainable Development at Forum for the Future in 2009.
Matt joined BEC in 2013 as head of new project development. Since then he’s overseen lots of BEC’s new solar systems – indeed, Matt has been a project manager for many years across various technical businesses. He helps BEC take a positive and pro-active approach to developing our renewable portfolio and gain a strong base of generation that will see the Co-op through the next 20 years. He is committed to the concept of community energy and helping BEC’s members to continue the move towards greater community ownership of generation.
David leads on developing strategic projects and accessing financing. David specialises in clean technology business development and, in the past 18 years, has worked with over 100 innovative technology businesses to raise finance, gain sales and create strategic partnerships for growth. David’s knowledge of clean technology spans all areas of energy and resource use and frequently supports Government-run business innovation programmes. In 2012, he was part of the team at Heatcatcher who built the UK’s first waste heat to power installation that produces 500KW of electricity from industrial waste heat.
Terry Walker joined BEC after retiring as Head of Governance and Company Secretary for Radian Group – a Hampshire-based housing association. He also spent many years working as Head of Policy at Citizens Advice and as Corporate Secretary to the Pensions Regulator. He’s a member of the Green Party and a past director of Brighton Jazz Festival and more
recently Brighton Housing Trust.
Sue is a qualified accountant and also served as a Green Party Councillor in Brighton & Hove from 2003-7. She’s a proven record of running successful businesses and has worked in accountancy for various commercial organisations, culminating at First Leisure PLC (then one of the largest leisure organisations in the UK) where she was Group Management Accountant. More recently she – along with husband Mick – own and run a series of successful boutique hotels. Sue is also on the Board of Brighton’s Food Partnership.
Peter joined the BEC Board in April 2017 after retiring from Shoreham Port where he was the Development Director responsible for planning, property and the environment. Previously, he was Head of Planning at Adur Council and before that he worked in various economic regeneration roles in the Midlands. He is a Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and a Fellow of the Institute of Economic Development. While at Shoreham Port Peter was instrumental in developing and delivering a green energy strategy, including the three solar arrays installed and owned by BEC.
Community Engagement: Stefania Rosso