FRECo held its Annual General Meeting on the 18th May at Frome Town Football Club.
We can have up to 7 directors on our non-executive Director board. As we did not receive any additional applications, the five current directors were elected unopposed: Anna Francis, Peter Macfadyen, Pete Capener, Peter Andrews and Alison Turnbull (Mongoose Energy’s Rep). Tim Cutting has decided to stand down. Please see nominations below and a short summary of our team here.
Anna Francis, Chair, FRECo
Anna has is a co-founder of FRECo and has chaired the organization since its inception. Her role has included securing funding for all of FRECo’s projects to date including two Frome Open Home’s events (attended by over 600 people), fuel poverty work through DECC’s Big Energy Saving Network and £30,000 from the Rural Community Energy Fund to explore local opportunities for solar and hydro. This work resulted in FRECo setting up a successful community share offer in 2015 to fund 200kw of solar on Frome Medical Practice and Frome Football Club.
Anna is very keen to continue this work and, despite lack of government support, to ensure that FRECo is able to develop significantly more carbon cutting projects over the next few years, working towards Frome’s ambitions of becoming a fossil fuel free town. In the short term this will include setting up a range of local solar projects and linking with Mongoose Energy to offer local residents the UK’s first community energy tariff. In the longer term Anna is keen to explore other technologies such as batteries and grid demand management, as well as exploring opportunities for retrofit and fuel poverty related projects.
Anna has over 17 years’ experience working in the sustainability sector and is an experienced Director and project manager. She has raised over £1.5m in the past few years for community projects and has set up successful social enterprises such as Sutton Community Farm, Frome Renewable Energy Co-op and the UK’s first share shop – SHARE: A Library of Things. She has is passionate about the transition towards a low carbon community and wants to continue to dedicate her organizational, project management and fundraising skills to ensure FRECo becomes a thriving social enterprise that maximizes social, environmental and economic benefit.
I was a founder of FRECo and have served on the Board since its inception as secretary. My role has been primarily around ensuring good links into Frome, promoting the organisation to both the public and owners of potential sites for energy generation. I’ve played my part in enabling FRECo to complete the two current installations and in the general business of our regular Board and other meetings. Like all the Directors I have been deeply disappointed that central government chose to eviscerate the solar industry just at the point when FRECo was ready to significantly benefit the community and wider environment. I’d like the opportunity to continue to lobby and campaign for a saner approach to energy policy in the UK from the position of a Director. I’d also like to follow up on the various leads we have for potential further investment should this be financially viable. As leader of the Town Council I am significantly engaged with attempting to steer the Town towards a more resilient future and a role within FRECo is useful in combing strategic direction with real action. Finally, I have 30 years experience of grant making and as FRECo profit starts to include funding for community projects I’d like to help design how best to do this.
I have for many years been strongly committed to the principles behind community energy, around increasing the local ownership, local control and local benefits secured from energy generation and supply. I believe community energy has the potential to transform the way we do business around energy, by valuing community partnership and retaining locally generated profits locally.
So I was really excited to have the opportunity to get involved with FRECo when it set up. Since then I have been very supportive of the holistic approach FRECo has taken to community energy, embracing energy efficiency and fuel poverty as well as renewable energy. So if re-elected, I would be delighted to be able to continue to support FRECos work as a member of its board.
I am currently chair of Bath & West Community Energy, a community enterprise that since it started in 2010 has with partners raised over £14 million through local share offers, which has in turn helped build 15.5MW of community solar PV. This is enough generation to meet the equivalent annual demand from approximately 5,000 typical UK homes.
I have worked in the sustainable energy field for 30 years, including many years as Chief Executive of the Centre for Sustainable Energy where I started in the mid eighties working with schools and communities. Since resigning from CSE in 2002 due to family illness, I have worked as an independent advisor and consultant on a range of energy efficiency, renewable energy and fuel poverty projects for various government, private and voluntary sector clients, with a strong focus on community action.
I am a director of Community Energy England and Mongoose Energy, a trustee of the Centre for Sustainable Energy and a member of DECC’s ministerial Community Energy Contact Group. I was awarded an MBE in the 2015 New Year Honours List for services to sustainable energy and have an MSc in Energy Resource Management.
As a result, I believe I can offer a mix of senior management and business development expertise with a particular understanding of the energy sector and what it takes to begin to scale community energy.
As a founder director of FRECo I would very much like to continue my association with this Community Benefit Society. I feel that despite the best efforts of this government there is still scope for a dynamic organisation like FRECo to have an environmental impact locally not only in energy generation but in energy saving, relief of fuel poverty and amelioration of the effects of climate change.
The skills I feel I can contribute are based mainly around local finance, fund raising and community engagement. I was a founder director of FRECo’s sister organisation Bath & West Community Energy and have worked with them for 5 years, successfully I like to feel, in these areas. I am not however a technical expert in solar energy.
I feel it is important that FRECo can continue to provide a reasonable financial return to its members as well as contributing to the community fund. I would see part of my role in ensuring this happens. Working with community other benefit societies I feel it is important to show that investing in local energy is a valid and sound use a people’s financial resources – that value generated in and around Frome stays in the area.
FRECo is entering a new phase in its life and I would relish the opportunity to be part of that adventure.