Brighton Energy Co-op 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 able to build large scale renewable energy systems.

Money raised from selling the electricity flows back into the co-op; 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 achieved press coverage both locally and nationally.  More than 600 people are now BEC members; we’ve raised over £3,000,000 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.

 

Co-Founder & Secretary: Damian Tow

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.

Damian Tow
Matt Brown

New Project Developer:

Matt Brown

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.

Will Cottrell

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 won the People’s Environmental Award’s prize for Energy and he’s been a mentor for several other community energy groups.

Previously Will started and ran a magazine in Barcelona, a yoga holiday company in Egypt, was an active anti-fracker and delights in making esoteric music mixes.

 

Director: Peter Davies

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.

Peter Davies

Director: Sue Paskins

Sue is a qualified accountant (FCCA) and served as a Green Party Councillor in Brighton & Hove from 2003-7. She owned and ran a number of 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 the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership who recently won the UK’s first Gold Sustainable Food Place award for the city.

Sue Paskins

Director: Stuart Condie

Stuart joined BEC’s Board at the end of 2019 having previously been chairman at Shoreham Port 2015-17 and involved in many small companies.

His working life has mostly been in transport infrastructure, but he has also chaired two pension funds, and been a Non-Executive Director of Heathrow Express, a European airspace group, and airport companies in Australia.

His areas of expertise include finance, commercial contracts, and compliance issues. Stuart is an athletics coach, a UK/France dual national and his first novel The Uganda Sails Wednesday has just been published.

Stuart Condie
Gerard Sauer

Director: Gerard Sauer

 

Gerard joined BEC as a Non-Executive Director in December 2017, helping the team with some of the more technical issues of the PV assets. Lately concentrating on the post FIT strategy, and its technical and commercial implications for our Co-op.

Gerard’s expertise straddles the three cornerstones of Renewable Energy namely: Hydrogen, Solar, and Wind power generation. He started in the Renewable Energy Industry in 1992, and has been involved in the design and build of Fuel Cell cars and boats, and static generators, building large scale Solar plants, and Continental wind projects in Poland. His cross sector knowledge will contribute to the board making the right decisions  for the future.

He is a member of the Industrial Advisory Board of Portsmouth University, a Director of a small consumer product company called Heed Studio. He is a committed EV enthusiast and holds occasional talks about them.  Watch his EV talk for U3A here 

Communications & Community Fund Manager: Atlanta Cook

Atlanta joined the BEC team  in November 2020, to keep our Members and supporters up to date with our newsletter, manage our web content, liaise with the press and engage with BEC’s Solar Schools to redevelop our Education Programme funded by our Community Fund. 

As a longtime eco educator, campaigner, event organiser and charity fund-raiser, she brings a wealth of knowledge to our table.

Her renewables experience comes from being a conference organiser for SUSTAIN – World Sustainable Energy Fair in Amsterdam back in the 90s. Atlanta is a Co-founding Trustee & Secretary of eco education charity Beacon Hub Brighton CIO, a Regional Rep for Surfers Against Sewage and runs her own marine environment consultancy.

Atlanta Cook
Noeleen Keane

Next Generation Community Fund Project : Noeleen Keane

Noeleen Keane joined the BEC team in December 2020, focussing on developing new income streams for BEC through the roll out of electric vehicle charge points at our solar sites. She has 20+ years’ experience in developing innovative new products and services in the low carbon sector, helping homes & businesses on the road to a low carbon future through use of solar, battery storage, electric heating, & EVs. She was a board member of the Sustainable Energy Association for over 10 years lobbying for change in the UK’s policy & regulations to enable the growth of renewable technologies. She is active in a number of local community organisations supporting young people and the environment in Brighton & Hove.