A Community Benefit Society
As a Community Benefit Society (or BenCom), Keynsham Community Energy's focus is on community investment in renewable energy – building solar arrays and other renewable energy technologies in Keynsham that are funded by members of our community.
The idea is beautifully simple. We develop a project and members of our community put in some money to fund it, in the form of shares. The profit that we make from selling this clean, green electricity is then distributed through our community fund to help tackle fuel poverty in Keynsham.
Read our KCE rules to find out how we're governed.
Investors get a great return on their investment, and local business owners and landlords get cheap electricity.
We’re doing this for two important reasons
With energy prices set to rise sharply over the coming years, we want to keep energy costs low for residents of our town.
And we want to do our bit to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions.
The benefits to creating sustainable energy at a local level are clear:
- People living in our town get cleaner, cheaper energy
- Investors get good returns on their investments
- The townsfolk get help to make their homes warmer and more comfortable
- Renewable energy doesn't pump greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere
Transforming our town
Keynsham Community Energy grew out of Transition Keynsham's energy group and became a BenCom in 2016. Since then, we have been working to give Keynsham the power to transform how we generate, use and buy energy.
Our town is rich in potential for renewable energy. We have advanced plans for a solar array project on the Riverside building in Keynsham and are in the early feasibility stages for a hydro project.
We want to make Keynsham a resilient town that is well-placed to withstand the future shocks that climate change and resource constraints are likely to bring.
"Community energy projects offer local people the chance to power their homes and businesses with clean energy, and to help tackle climate change at the same time."
Sam Willitts, Keynsham Community Energy director
Alastair's early career was in Government Service, initially with the Royal Hong Kong Police, and then with HM Diplomatic Service, working as a diplomat in Whitehall and the Middle East. His business career was in executive search and consultancy, recruiting at senior level and building boards and management teams for a broad range of commercial and non-profit organisations. He was elected to the South West Regional Council of the CBI. In parallel, he has extensive charity trustee experience, including with Keep Britain Tidy, VSO and CleanupUK, and has been involved with a number of local social and environmental groups including Keynsham Fairtrade and Keynsham Action Network. He served as a Magistrate in Bath for fifteen years. Alastair has Masters degrees from Cambridge and Bath Universities and an MBA from INSEAD in France.
Sam has worked in environmental roles across the public sector. He has been the Energy and Sustainability Manager at University Hospitals Bristol since 2010, where he tackles carbon emissions through the twin approaches of engineering and behaviour change. His efforts are focussed 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 and Bristol Energy Network. Sam has a One Planet MBA from Exeter University and an MSC in Environmental Science from the University of London.
Mark has a Master’s and PhD in Chemistry. He works in the aerospace industry leading a Research and Development team bringing new technologies from concept to final products. Since moving to Keynsham Mark has been involved in a number of community groups including Transition Keynsham. He was part of the team which set up Keynsham Community Energy and was chair from 2011 to 2020. During his time with TK energy group and KCE he has been involved with giving energy advice at community events in Keynsham, taken part in public meetings promoting sustainability and sustainable energy and conducted surveys in the town for potential renewable energy projects.
A civil engineering graduate, Richard has worked on water and wastewater plants and the Jubilee underground line. He spent 28 years at Wessex Water in design, project management, planning, and regulation before becoming business auditor, reviewing projects and performance across the business. Later, he worked at a national housing association for new housing schemes and then IT, managing projects and carrying out business case assessments. Outside work, he was as Chair of Avon Wildlife Trust and a board member of Bath Self Help Housing Association. He currently juggles various charity roles in Keynsham.
Nick is a chartered accountant who has worked across private, not-for-profit and public sectors at Finance Director level. His expertise covers strategy, change, problem solving and growth. For the last ten years he has worked as a business consultant advising small and medium sized businesses in food and professional services.
Following a degree in renewable energy engineering, Matthew has worked in the renewables industry for over a decade. He is currently responsible for a portfolio of large scale onshore wind and ground-mount solar farms for institutional investors. He has experience of project management, engineering and finance of such projects
Liz has over twenty years’ experience in public and third sector communications and currently freelances as a writer and editor. Liz is active in the local community as a member of Transition Keynsham. She recently completed an MA at Bath Spa University.
Tom is a Business Systems Analyst in Bristol, with experience in highly analytical data-driven approaches to manufacturing processes, Building Energy Performance monitoring and reporting, implementation of a large-scale solar project, and energy storage technologies. Tom moved to Keynsham in 2018 and volunteers a Cub Scout Leader with the 1st Keynsham Scout Group.
Keynsham Community Energy is always looking for volunteers with an interest in renewable energy, community and the environment. Please get in touch!