History & Founders Statements

Founder's statement: Vijay Bhopal

Community energy ticks so many boxes, offering the chance to foster tightly bound resilient and energy conscious communities, with long-term revenue streams. Whilst most energy systems may not fit this system of distributed ownership entirely, the political will exists in abundance in many places around the globe. This is certainly the case in Scotland where we chose to form in 2011. For those reasons, it is often wondered why community owned renewables continue to make up just a tiny fraction of total renewable energy capacity in most places.

I believe that the tiny fraction that community energy represents can grow rapidly. However, the approach must be joined up, with greater collaboration between community and private sectors, whilst the knowledge of the market should be collected diligently and honestly - with a view to showing what works, where and why. This is what Scene aims to do. We are working to make sure that the understanding of community energy, its motivations, benefits and drawbacks are well understood, so that we and others can help drive growth in a sector that has the potential to be truly beneficial to the widest range of people.

Vijay Bhopal
Vijay Bhopal
Operations Director, Sustainable Community Energy Network (Scene).

Founder's statement: Jelte Harnmeijer

After a dozen years of work in various capacities at universities in Africa, Australia and the Americas, Jelte finally became fed up with the growing gaps between Knowledge, Policy, and People. What's the point of doing good research if nobody uses it, and if the tax-payers that fund it don't even get access to the increasingly unreadable 'outputs'? At the same time, life and work in communities across the planet had opened Jelte's eyes to the power and potential of local ownership: be it water, land, forests or power generation. Local community ownership of renewable energy generation, in particular, has two powerful forces on its side: economics, and thermodynamics.

Economics is on the side of community renewables (and Scene!) because local ownership gives individuals and communities a vested interest in efficiently managing and maintaining projects, and helps disperse all manner of benefits across society in the process. Producing and storing energy closer to your home and community also makes thermodynamic sense, especially for dispersed and intermittent resources such as solar, tidal and wind. Read some of the select publications and Scene reports on this website to find out more about this.

Join the Sustainable Community Energy revolution.
Jelte Harnmeijer
Jelte Harnmeijer
Director, Sustainable Community Energy Network (Scene).