Community Innovation & Support Officer

Are you experienced in working with community organisations and in community development? If so, and you also possess knowledge of the renewable energy sector, decarbonisation, climate accounting and Net Zero, we could be interested in hearing from you.

We are looking to recruit an energetic, well-organised and self-motivated individual to work as part of a team delivering Carbon Neutral Island Plans. You will be responsible for developing community climate change plans on the six carbon neutral islands, which build on the depth climate accounting exercises being carried out as part of this project.

Your high standard of communication, representation and co-ordination skills will serve to support island communities carry out meaningful local participation and engagement to inform the Community Climate Plans.

For more information and an application form, please visit our Careers & Opportunities page.

Climate Accounting Officer

Research not accounts! Do you have effective partnership-building skills, and practical and effective experience of partnership working, especially with community groups? Knowledge of the renewable energy sector, decarbonisation, climate accounting and Net Zero is also essential for this role.

We are looking to recruit an energetic, well-organised and self-motivated individual to work as part of a team delivering Carbon Neutral Island Plans. You will be responsible for delivery of an in-depth climate accounting exercise on the six carbon neutral islands to provide the community with a clear account of the state of greenhouse gas emissions related to each island.

Experienced in research projects and working to funding specifications, your strong team-working skills in a research focussed manner and a good understanding of community development will help drive the success of this project.

For more information and an application form, please visit our Careers & Opportunities page.

Development Manager Vacancy

If you have a creative mind, excellent networking and project development skills, and a track record in identifying and accessing project funding opportunities, this could be the perfect job for you.

Community Energy Scotland is Scotland’s only charity dedicated to supporting local communities develop their own decarbonisation projects and an outstanding Development Manager is vital for us to continue this work.

Experienced in community energy and committed to our values, you will be able to work effectively on your own and as part of our energetic team.

For more information and an application form, please visit our Careers & Opportunities page.

Network 76 in Motion Project Officer Vacancy

Are you interested in hands-on community development that focuses on sustainable transport solutions? If so, we have a full time vacancy providing an exciting opportunity for a role helping to decarbonise communities in South West Scotland.

We are looking to recruit an N76 Project Officer to work on sustainable transport solutions in Dumfries & Galloway and East Ayrshire. Network 76 in Motion (N76) is a project developed together by six communities on and around the A76 with support from Community Energy Scotland.

There is some flexibility with the work location for this post.

For more information and an application pack, please visit our Careers & Opportunities page.

The National Campaign for a Community Energy Revolution

Image courtesy of Aberdeen Community Energy

Community energy has the potential to significantly reduce the costs that we all must pay for our energy. The work that community energy groups do across Scotland and the rest of the UK, beyond renewable generation, is as impressive as it is varied: from fuel poverty relief, to grant giving, to helping improve energy efficiency in their local areas.

In 2014, a government report stated that community energy could deliver 3,000 MW of power-generating capacity by 2020 and that the potential for growth beyond this was even more substantial. With Community Energy currently contributing around 330 MW, and having barely grown UK-wide since that report came out, it is clear that this potential has not been realised. Last year the Environmental Audit Committee said that by 2030 the community energy sector could be up to 20 times larger, if given the right policy support. Without that support however, this potential will continue to be wasted.

It is important to note how scalable Community Energy could be. This is not a niche thing to be enjoyed only by those lucky enough to have a scheme near them: there are extensive natural resources across Scotland that remain untapped. Many more local wind, solar and hydro installations could spring up all over the country, and thrive if given the chance.

The major block that must be removed is that at present it is impossible for community energy projects to sell the energy they generate directly to local people, except those who supply through necessity, as their communities are off-grid. The process of becoming an on-grid licenced supplier is wholly disproportionate – upwards of £1 million – and so burdensome that currently none exist across the whole of the UK.

Under the current regulations and excluding those off the grid, supply is only feasible at a national level. As a result, it is extremely difficult for local schemes to get a fair price for the energy they generate. At present they can either sell back into the grid or to a large national utility, both at fractions of the cost we all pay for our energy. Many projects struggle or go under, and many more find that setting up a project is not financially viable.

In the existing market setup, scaling up community energy is not feasible: we are campaigning for change. We have drafted the Local Electricity Bill, which is in Parliament as a proposed piece of legislation, and are building support to try and see it made law. The Bill would make the costs and complexities of becoming a local supplier proportionate to the scale of the generation project. This would fundamentally change the financials around setting up and running a community energy project, by creating a new potential source of revenue.

The benefits of such a change felt locally would be significant. If local people were able to buy their clean energy directly from a local co-operative supplier, not only would they be able to get it for a fairer price, but by keeping the money circulating within our local areas, that money could go towards supporting local businesses and new skilled local jobs, and could be reinvested into our communities through local initiatives like fuel poverty relief.

Over 80 national and international organisations have added their names in support of the Bill, including Solar Energy UK, British Hydropower Association, the Association for Renewable Energy and Clean Technology, Energy Saving Trust, 4 of the UK’s 6 Distribution Network Operators (DNOs, the companies that own and manage the UK’s regional grid infrastructure), RSPB, The National Trust, Greenpeace, WWF and many more. Over 1000 local organisations and councils have also added their names in support all over the UK, and we are hoping that many more will continue to do so.

Through our work, and as a result of many people and organisations across the UK advocating often and loudly for the Bill, a cross-party group of 306 MPs have added their names in support. This is close to a majority in Parliament, and is extremely encouraging progress. If you have taken action for the Bill already, thank you very much – it is because of you that we are close to winning.

Back in November of last year, we organised a debate about the Bill in Parliament. Because it was well attended by MPs from all over the UK and from all major parties, the Energy Minister, Greg Hands, agreed to meet with us to discuss the technical detail of how the Bill could be implemented. As a result of this meeting with Mr Hands and his policy advisors, we have drafted a new policy discussion paper, and are in the process of scheduling another meeting.

The upcoming Energy Security Bill, which was announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, is a fantastic opportunity. The first energy Bill for almost 10 years, its intentions are to ensure the security and decarbonisation of the UK’s energy supply. Community Energy should rightly be a part of these considerations, as it has huge potential to deliver both.

In the coming months, we plan to organise that provisions for Community Energy, such as those contained in the Local Electricity Bill, are included as a clause in this new Energy Security Bill. We are in a promising position: with 306 MPs on board already, nearly a majority in Parliament support the campaign. We will continue to work to ensure that this opportunity is not missed, and please do all that you can to help ensure that as well.

If you have not yet signed up to support our campaign, either as an organisation or as an individual, please do so. Our website has a list of all the MPs that support the Bill so far: if your MP does not yet support the Bill, please urge them to do so by writing to and meeting with them. If your MP does support it, please ask them to speak in favour of the need to enable and empower community energy generation schemes at the upcoming Second Reading of the Westminster Government’s

Energy Security Bill. If you would like suggested points to make when asking your MP to do this please get in touch with us.

A big thank you to everyone who has already been campaigning with us for this change. Together, we can win this.

Rupert Meadows, Campaigns and Engagement Officer, Power for People – Guest blog


At Community Energy Scotland we value our team’s and communities’ opinions. Blogs are a chance for us, our members and guests to share personal opinions and expertise, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Community Energy Scotland as an organisation. Please note opinions may change and Community Energy Scotland does not offer any endorsements.

Community Energy: State of the Sector 2022 report. Read it now.

This year’s report was produced by Community Energy England, Community Energy Wales and Community Energy Scotland, and is available to read from today. It describes the progress of the community energy sector across the UK in 2021 as well as providing a breakdown of the sector’s activities in each nation. This marks the second year that Scottish data has been gathered and is the first year that the survey and report was produced in-house by the three national community energy organisations.

As always, we are very grateful to all organisations that took the time to complete the survey this year. Maintaining an up to date database is crucial if we are to encourage and persuade policy-makers and other stakeholders to create a more supportive policy landscape for community energy at local, regional and national level.

We are also grateful to SP Energy Networks, our sponsors of this year’s report. Scott Mathieson, Director of Planning and Regulation at SP Energy Networks said:

 “We are delighted to support the State of the Sector report for a fourth year. This year’s report is providing timely data for us, which we will be studying carefully to ensure we can support our local communities in the best possible way to help them realise their net zero ambitions.”

Heat Pump Plus

Heat pumps can offer a viable alternative for many homes to transition from fossil fuel-based heating systems to a much cleaner system.

There is currently little data on how heat pumps operate over time after their installation, and what factors impact their performance. Community Energy Scotland (CES) are looking to target this head on with the Heat Pump Plus (HPPlus) project.

What will the project do?

HPPlus is looking to gather high quality data on the factors which dictate how effective heat pumps operate, and the impact energy efficiency measures can have. The project will collect information on the heating system in place; deploy energy monitoring equipment (to monitor the heat pump’s electricity consumption and in some cases heat output); capture participants’ heating habits as well as perception and understanding of the heat pump system. From this information, HPPlus will, where possible, propose measures to increase the performance of their heating system which could help contribute to energy savings.

Participants with installed energy monitoring equipment will have access to the real time data being collected. The equipment will then be gifted at the end of the project to allow continued monitoring by the homeowner.

The project will first focus efforts on Orkney, as a test bed before for the project’s approach, ahead of potential roll out in other regions.

Who is this project for?

  • Those with properties in Orkney which are occupied all year round with heat pumps, or those who are scheduled to have a heat pump installed in the next 6-months
  • Homeowners who would like assistance in understanding how effectively their heat pump is operating
  • Those who are happy to actively contribute towards the data collection and are open to energy efficiency measures

How can I take part?

If you would like to find out more, or register your interest in the project if you live in Orkney, please contact:

Community Energy Scotland

Email: hpplus@communityenergyscotland.org.uk

Leanne Fischler

My role at Community Energy Scotland is to support community innovation projects underway in Orkney, especially the ReFLEX project. As part of this, I’m working with my CES colleagues to install energy monitors into community members’ homes that will produce data that can help ReFLEX to achieve its aims of prototyping an integrated, affordable, low-carbon energy system for the future.

I grew up between the island of Hoy and the mainland of Orkney; giving me a deep interest in how communities solve problems. I left Orkney to study a Product Design degree, with my particular focus being environmentally sustainable design and design methods that can empower communities. In my final year, I created a kit in which participants built miniature energy generators from scrap materials to demonstrate and document the power of location-specific problem solving.

In the years between leaving university and beginning at CES, I worked in foresight and futures design. I contributed to cultural works exploring and tackling the big issues of today: global heating and environmental degradation; the application of new technologies and the intersection of this with social issues and rising inequality. 

While living away from Orkney, I never lost my passion for community work. I sat on the board for a charity in Dundee; taught at a Glasgow makerspace; ran a program of community workshops for V&A Dundee and ran DIY solar panel building with energy literacy workshops for charity Demand Energy Equality in London. My growing interest in local energy issues then brought me back to Orkney and to Community Energy Scotland. 

Growing up on an island means I will always attribute a deep importance to supporting local communities in themselves addressing and solving the problems on their doorstep. I believe this way of working leads to the most efficient, nuanced and resilient outcomes.

I spend my spare time between my home craft studio and the sea. If the weather is nice, you’ll find me sailing, kayaking, swimming or learning to surf; and the rest (or most?) of the time I’ll be indoors making anything from flotsam jewellery to DIY electronics.

Fun fact about me: I worked as a spotlight operator lighting up the Queen during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in Glasgow 2014—despite having no experience in theatre lighting whatsoever!

leanne.fischler@communityenergyscotland.org.uk

Phone no: 07795 801814

Community Energy Fortnight 2022

Community Energy Fortnight is a social media platform held over two weeks that enables groups to share their experiences of community energy – both the challenges and the success stories.

Your opportunity to amplify your voice!

This year’s programme emphasises the cost of living crisis and increasing rates of fuel poverty experienced within our communities. Using the hashtag #EfficiencyFirst to raise awareness of the real-life effects on the lives of communities and individuals, we will share the ways in which you support those you represent.

#EfficiencyFirst spreads the word and highlights our sector’s significant contribution to a just transition and climate crisis solutions.

Quick and easy to get involved – a simple image, comment or quote will do. Click here for more information & suggestions.

Tag us in so we can spread the word: we have +1k followers on Facebook & +4k on Twitter!

Decision-makers need to know about what we do in our sector and the solutions we create – make that message loud & clear between 11-24 June!

Cat McGinley

I joined Community Energy Scotland in March 2022 and my role is to provide technical, community and project delivery support to a portfolio of Orkney energy projects, including Net Zero Islands and ReFLEX.

I completed my undergraduate degree in 2017 in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Dundee. I then worked doing various jobs abroad, from teaching to project engineering. In 2020 I started my Masters in Marine Renewable Energy, at the Heriot-Watt University Orkney campus. During my Masters I worked part-time as a renewable heat consultant specialising in government subsidy schemes like the Renewable Heat Incentive.

For my dissertation I investigated within the subject area of skills and training for the Just Transition in Aberdeen. I believe that communities and people’s livelihoods should not be lost in the energy transition. My research work argues that the Just Transition concept should be a guiding principle for the growth of the wind energy sector in Aberdeen to ensure a fair and equitable transition for the city and its working communities.

I’m a keen environmental activist and I was involved in organising the UN Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY16), a side event of COP26, which was held in Glasgow early November 2021. COY serves as a space for capacity building and policy training, in order to prepare young people for their participation at COP.

I love the outdoors, if I’m not in the sea, you’ll find me looking out at sea for cetaceans as part of a citizen science project. If I am indoors you’ll find me cooking an Ottolenghi dish or watching some obscure world cinema.

catherine.mcginley@communityenergyscotland.org.uk

Phone no: 07919 492318

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