Rona Mackay

Director, People & Communities

Rona's responsibilities are HR, running the Board and Management Team and ensuring a well organised, coherent overall approach to delivery of all our operational projects.

My responsibilities are HR, running the Board and Management Team and ensuring a well organised, coherent overall approach to delivery of all our operational projects.

I have a great deal of experience in community renewables, supporting community groups through major political, regulatory and funding changes. An achievement I’m particularly proud of is forming a local community partnership to deliver Uist Energy in Motion. I conceived this project to remove barriers to the adoption of electric vehicles in Uist and make electric vehicles more accessible, tackling fuel poverty related to road transport and reducing carbon emissions.

Recently I managed Community Energy Scotland’s contract with the Energy Savings Trust to deliver community engagement for the COBEN project in Oban and Barra & Vatersay. I led on the study of opportunities for communities from Surface Water Source Heat Pumps in the Lochmaddy Warmth from Water project, and worked with Lochboisdale Amenity Trust on their Warm Homes project looking at the potential for district heating from wind.

I was responsible for Community Energy Scotland’s contracts with the Big Lottery and HIE, coordinating teams delivering tailored support on renewables to community groups, and managing the fund distribution for the Community Renewable Energy Support Programme. Through my contract management role, I led the design and roll-out of Interactive Coaching Sessions; telephone conferencing for remote community groups to take forward their projects in support of each other.

Supporting 5 large wind projects in the Western Isles has played a major part in my role, helping them towards planning permission and managing contracts on their behalf with consultants.

I led a Community Energy Scotland team working with the Open University to create an educational resource for community micro-renewables projects, and I also wrote and edited sections of the Scottish Government Community Renewable Energy Toolkit

I’m passionate about the environment & climate change and always have been since I was a youngster. When I joined the Third Sector straight after Uni I felt a new passion for community. Working for Community Energy Scotland gives me the perfect opportunity to work for both. Originally from Glasgow, I fell in love with island life, the people and wildlife in the Western Isles. Living in a small rural community means people have to be adaptable, resilient and tackle their own problems. It’s the same working for Community Energy Scotland, although everyone has their own personal drivers, we share our devotion for community and environment.

We have a highly skilled and diverse team, many of whom are new to community energy so with 13 years of experience in Community Energy Scotland I bring the story and past learning to our team.

My main hobby is crofting, we keep around 20 Hebridean sheep on a boggy croft which requires regular ditching (possibly the most satisfying task in the world). My husband comes from a long line of crofters but isn’t up for carrying on the tradition so I’ve raised two children to help me round up the sheep! I’m currently Chair of Sealladh Hiort, a Charity developing a St Kilda viewing centre in North Uist. I love this project as it will create a great local resource for all ages and much needed economic development.

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