Edinburgh Community Solar Co-op is run by a board of twelve directors consisting of seven elected members, three representatives of the City of Edinburgh Council and two co-opted individuals whom the rest of the board have agreed to appoint. One third of the elected directors are required to stand down or seek re-election at every AGM. Appointed directors follow a different process of review in accordance with the co-op’s rules. None of the directors receive any remuneration for their work and are instead driven by their commitment to the success of the business, it’s ethos and the environmental, financial, educational and community returns the business delivers.
The board consists of…
Lesley Hinds is a former City of Edinburgh Councillor and held numerous positions in the Council, including Leader, Lord Provost and Convener of Transport and Environment Committee. Lesley is a qualified primary school teacher. In addition, she is a past Chair of NHS Health Scotland, a member of the Co-op Party and Scotmid. Lesley has extensive experience of board membership in a personal capacity, as well as representing the Council in numerous public and private sector organisations, such as Edinburgh’s Telford College, Pilton Partnership, Edinburgh’s Mela, Dance Base, Edinburgh Fairtrade City, One City Trust and the City of Literature. Lesley currently Chairs Edinburgh Community Solar Co-operative, North Edinburgh Arts and is a Board member of One City Trust, NKS and Capital Carers.
Johanna has a first level degree in Zoology (2.1 Oxford), an MsC from Napier and a PhD from Glasgow. She taught Science and Biology from 1960 to 2002, being Principal teacher of Biology at Portobello High School from 1974. Johanna has been interested in sustainability since the 1970s and a supporter of various environmental organisations including Friends of the Earth, WWF, RSPB and the Marine Conservation Society. Johanna has installed solar thermal panels on her house in 1988 and PV panels since 2012. In March 2014 she was elected to the Board of Harlaw Hydro. She was also a board member of the Edinburgh Community Energy Co-operative until it was disbanded. Johanna has been trained in giving energy advice to householders for a project run jointly by Transition Edinburgh South and Transition Edinburgh Pentlands. In 2014 she added to this by taking the training provided by Changeworks to be a Heat Hero.
Drew’s interest in community energy developed over 10 years working in the environmental sector. He currently works for the Scottish Government supporting the decarbonisation of heat in Scotland and has previously worked for Zero Waste Scotland and Changeworks on a range of initiatives focusing on low carbon heat, renewable energy and fuel poverty. Drew has a masters in Carbon Management from the University of Edinburgh and has been a director of ECSC since 2017. Drew lives in central Edinburgh with his wife Liz and son. In his spare time he enjoys cycling and playing guitar.
Jenny is currently a partner in international law firm CMS, living in Edinburgh with her husband and 2 young children.
She gained her LLB (hons) and Diploma at the University of Edinburgh, and subsequently trained (and worked for 7 years) at Shepherd & Wedderburn, prior to joining CMS in Edinburgh to focus on energy finance work, having qualified in Scotland in 2006 (also England & Wales 2007). She currently has a strong focus on advising on the financing of renewable energy projects and is familiar with the multiple legal issues involved in the construction and operation of such projects, including community projects.
Her recent work has included advising in relation to community energy wind, hydro and solar projects in both Scotland and England, as well as advising on more novel energy storage and capacity market projects.
Kirsty Lewin is currently on a career break from the Scottish Government. While in the Government she led the development and publication of Scotland’s Climate Change Plan for Ministers, as well as work on adapting to a changing climate, behaviour change, and climate justice. She also worked on a number of high profile transport issues including bridge tolls, congestion charging and sustainable and active travel. Before returning to Scotland she worked for the RSPB in Sandy, Bedfordshire, and the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment in Wellington. She spent six years on the UK Board of Sustrans as a trustee, and now coordinates a local Spokes cycling group – focusing on improving cycle infrastructure in and around Portobello, Edinburgh. She speaks Spanish, and is spending much of her time now writing fiction and telling stories.
Originally from Aberdeenshire, Niall moved to Edinburgh 14 years ago to study chemistry, a subject chosen, in part, because of its importance to environmental issues (specifically batteries and the potential “hydrogen economy”). Currently a contract consultant software engineer, he graduated in 2013 from Napier University with an MSc in Advanced Security and Digital Forensics having previously acquired a BSc (Hons) in Computing and a BSc (Hons) in Chemistry at Heriot-Watt between 2005 and 2010. Niall has had a strong interest in environmental issues his entire life and is particularly focused on efforts to stop climate change.
Mark Bitel lives in Edinburgh and was delighted to invest in Phase 1 of the Edinburgh Solar Cooperative. He has been a Board member of 15 local, national and UK-wide charities. He currently serves as Convenor of the Board of the Quaker Housing Trust (a grant making trust) and Independence from Drugs and Alcohol Scotland, a charity he founded in 2013, after leaving the Drugs Policy Unit at the Scottish Government. He works as an independent consultant specialising on the impact and effectiveness of not-for-profit organisations. He is a social entrepreneur and delivers programmes for the School of Social Entrepreneurs. He is educated to Master’s degree level with 3 master’s degrees in Sociology, Research and Evaluation and Professional Studies.
Crispin has an environmental consultancy business mainly focussing on community sustainability issues. In terms of community contribution, he is a member of Sustainable Cupar, and is on the Steering Group of Fife Communities Climate Action Network, the latter being a network for more that 25 organisations in Fife. He represents those organisations by sitting on the Fife Environment Partnership. In addition, Crispin is a trustee for two smaller charities and been an ethical investor for the last 20 years that has included many community renewables projects including ECSC from the start. As a board member he’s particularly interested in how to sell community-generated energy direct to the community.
Gavin Corbett has been Green councillor for Fountainbridge-Craiglockhart in Edinburgh since 2012 and has also worked in the housing sector in Scotland since 1987. As a councillor he sits on the Finance and Resources Committee and Transport and Environment Committee and is the city canal champion. He is a dad of two sons and cycles, climbs and kayaks in his spare time, along with being a scout leader. In 2018 he won the environment award in the inaugural Scottish councillor awards.
Lezley Cameron represents the Liberton Gilmerton Ward on The City of Edinburgh Council. Lezley is Chair of the Council’s Cross Party Working Group on Equalities and Edinburgh’s Small Business Champion.
A Speyside girl, Lezley’s professional background is in HR, Economic Development and Strategic Policy. Lezley has previously ran her own business providing executive coaching, business development, strategic policy, HR, events organising, fundraising and public affairs.
Living in Sydney, Lezley’s MBA studies specialised in Strategy, Global Mindset and Executive Coaching. She also worked in the British Consulate, and the Supply Chain and the Marketing Divisions at the Asia Pacific HQ of Dematic, a global logistics firm. Lezley has worked with companies in Australia and the UK to define and develop their Global Mindset capability.
SNP Councillor for Liberton Gilmerton, Lesley is the Transport & Environment Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, as well as Deputy Leader of the SNP group on the Council. She lives in the ward she represents.
Originally from Skye, she grew up in several places in Scotland and as an adult has lived both rurally and in Glasgow and Edinburgh. For almost 15 years she lived and worked around Geneva in Switzerland as part of the senior management team for an international NGO dealing with landmines and cluster munitions. Most of her working life has been in the public sector in communications, inward investment and NGO management.
She is particularly interested in both shaping a sustainable, inclusive and healthy transport environment in Edinburgh which equips the city for the future and delivering an attractive environment for all those who live, work and visit Scotland’s beautiful capital city.
Jim is Energy4All’s Project Officer based in Scotland. Jim has been active in the Co-operative Movement for many years working in various sectors of the movement to promote the co-operative business model. He is a director of the Arrochar Community Hydro Society and Spirit of Lanarkshire Wind Energy Co-operative which has a stake in wind farms at West Browncastle and Nutberry. He chairs Co-operative Education Trust Scotland, a body set up by the Co-operative Movement to promote co-operative ideas in the curriculum of Scottish schools and universities. He is also a director of the Lanarkshire Credit Union. In recent years, he worked for the Scottish Fair Trade Forum and for Community Links in South Lanarkshire where he supported the establishment of several food co-ops.
Fiona is a University of Edinburgh graduate with a MA in Geography with Environmental Studies. She is employed by Edinburgh Leisure, initially as an intern in 2012, then as an Energy and Sustainability Officer from 2013. This was a self-created role following a demonstration on the benefits of ‘grass roots’ staff engagement. Through this, she developed and launched the Edinburgh Leisure Green Plan which directly engages over 100 staff members to deliver on key sustainability outcomes such as reducing energy, waste and water, analysing procurement practices, promoting sustainable travel and engaging with local nature. This has resulted in a 5% reduction in carbon emissions year on year since 2012, saved 28.7 million litres of water, removed 2 million plastic cups a year, 1.6 million single use plastic pool shoes and increased recycling from 30% to over 70%. In addition, Edinburgh Leisure won the first ever Green Team Vibes Award which rewards Scottish Businesses at the forefront of sustainability. As of 2017, Fiona is the Energy and Sustainability Manager with her focus being energy and water management and investment in efficient, low carbon technologies to further reduce demand, carbon emissions and impact on the environment.