Who are Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo)?

Who we are

BHESCo stands for Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative. 

We are a not-for-profit social enterprise who work with property owners and renters in Sussex and the South East, enabling them to take control over their energy supply and reduce the environmental impact of their buildings.

Based in Brighton and Hove, we have delivered many successful community energy projects throughout Sussex and our reach is growing.

We have the expertise and the ambition to scale our social enterprise business model throughout England. We hope to be considered as an archetype of how heat and power needs can be met sustainably, affordably, and democratically.

The BHESCo Team (left to right):

Dan Curtis, Kayla Ente, Alec Evans, Diane Smith, Simon Punyer, Sofia O'Donovan, Tim Beecher, Nici Rice, Jack Ward

Our Mission

Our mission is to empower everyone in England to meet the cost of their energy needs with efficient buildings and clean, affordable, community-owned energy.

Our Vision

We will become leaders of the community energy sector, recognised for the depth of our knowledge, excellence in project delivery and strength of our community relationships.

How do we help our customers?

BHESCo operates within the community energy sector, providing consultancy and project management services and developing new projects through the power of community investment.

Experience tells us that most property owners want to reduce their environmental impact, but don’t take action because of the technical complexity or financial cost of achieving their goals.

BHESCo offers a solution to such barriers by providing a trusted project management service which delivers a cost-effective, technologically savvy energy solution delivered at no upfront cost.

With our help, our customers are leading a community energy revolution – together pioneering a new way to meet the financial and environmental cost of the energy we use, now and for decades to come.

What we've achieved so far

63 community energy projects completed

£2m investment raised

3,000+ energy saving surveys conducted

465 shareholder investors

What makes BHESCo so unique?

BHESCo is a consumer co-operative made up of members who all have an equal say in our governance.

The majority of our members are people who have made an investment in our co-operative, putting their money to good use reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change.

Our other members include current and previous community energy project customers, who are invited to join the co-op as part of our business relationship with them. In this way, BHESCo remains accountable to our customers long after the project installation, because all of our customers become members of our co-op and have a say in how we are run.

As a co-operative, each of our members is entitled to one vote regardless of how many shares they hold.

For a minimum investment of £500 you can become a member of BHESCo today, entitled to on your investment plus the right to vote on the future of the business at our Annual General Meetings.

Being a not-for-profit means that we can keep our project costs affordable for our customers because we are not aiming to generate big dividends for our shareholders.

Everything that we do at BHESCo is driven by a desire to reduce energy costs for the local community and to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels in our energy supply. We want to help you make your home, your business, and your community more sustainable, and for this reason we keep our costs as low as possible.

Our Project Team consists of highly technically proficient professionals with decades of experience in energy project delivery. 

As a small team we remain agile and flexible to your energy project requirements. With project oversight for all work coming from the CEO decisions can be made quickly in response to evolving project requirements or policy landscape changes. 

We believe that the ‘for-profit’ energy industry is not working in the interests of people or the planet.

Energy bills are at record highs while oil and gas majors are enjoying record profits, continuing to invest in new fossil fuel projects while communities around the world suffer the effects of climate change.

Our goal is to demonstrate that energy can be done differently, where assets are collectively owned by the communities they serve, operating at the lowest possible cost to keep bills down while producing zero carbon emissions in the process.

BHESCo has delivered sixty low-carbon energy projects since our first successful share offer of 2015. 

In that time our Project Team have deployed a great variety of low-carbon technologies including solar PV, battery storage, air source and ground source heat pump, insulation, biomass heating, and LED lighting. 

In addition to our project management and installation work BHESCo have completed a number of decarbonisation studies for a variety of local authorities including  the Firle Estate, Shoreham Parish Council in Kent, and Crowhurst Parish Council in East Sussex.

View BHESCo Case Studies

The majority of BHESCo’s community energy projects are financed through a community share offer paying investors a 5% return.

The upfront cost is repaid by the project customer over a number of years using a portion of the savings achieved from their monthly energy bill.

By meeting project costs in this way we are able to remove any financial obstacles that can prevent property owners from improving the energy performance of their buildings.

Here’s how it works:

1. Research and Design: We survey your property and recommend energy improvements,

2. Fundraising: Upfront project costs are met by investors who buy shares in BHESCo.

3. Project Delivery: Investments are used to develop clean energy projects.

4. Finance Period: Customer repays project costs (plus interest) using savings from energy bills

5. Interest Payments: Interest is passed on to investors

6. Transfer of Ownership: Customer becomes the owner of the energy saving system

What do we mean by community energy?

BHESCo Executive Team

Kayla Ente MBE
Founder & CEO

Kayla established BHESCo in 2013 and is the driving force behind the co-operative. Kayla is responsible for new business development and is the primary lead on the BHESCo Projects Team.

She is considered a thought-leader in the community energy sector and her insight has been sought by the BEIS Community Energy Contact Group and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on energy storage.

Kayla is a qualified accountant with an MBA in Environmental Management, who has previously worked with Greenpeace International, Nuon (a Dutch utility) and Ecofys (European pioneers in renewable energy).

Kayla was awarded an MBE in 2021 for her services to community energy

Garry Felgate
Chair, Non-Executive Director

Garry has a strong business and policy background in energy, environment and sustainability, built in corporate organisations (IBM, Landmark Graphics) and leading consultancies (KPMG, A.T.Kearney).

He was formally CEO of the Energy Retail Association representing the big six energy companies in the UK where he was instrumental in setting up the Warm Homes Programme.

Garry was a founder director of the Carbon Trust leading on the UK’s carbon reduction programmes for business creating the Action Energy and Carbon Management programmes.
He has been a non-executive director of the Energy Saving Trust, The Ombudsman Service Limited, The UK Public Health Association and the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group. 

He is an alumnus of the University of Cambridge, HRH The Prince of Wales Business & The Environment Programme.

Nowadays he supports his passion of clean affordable energy through innovation creation, regulatory and policy advice both here and abroad and assisting not-for-profit organisations.

Diane Smith
Operations Director

Diane has been a finance professional for more than 25 years. After running treasury operations for The Economist Newspaper in London, she moved to the Netherlands to set up Nike’s European foreign exchange risk management programme and then to Belgium to lead operational support teams and IT project managers at BNY Mellon (a US investments company). She has been working in the renewable energy sector since 2014.

Mark Kenber
Non-Executive Director

Mark was formally CEO of Mongoose Energy – a company providing asset management, project development and finance services to the community energy sector. Prior to joining Mongoose, Mark had been with international climate change NGO The Climate Group for nearly 12 years, with the final five of these as CEO.

During his time with the Climate Group Mark oversaw the launch of the Verified Carbon Standard, We Mean Business coalition and RE100 campaign and was an expert advisor to former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair on the joint policy initiative Breaking the Climate Deadlock.

Mark’s other experience includes being Senior Policy Officer for the WWF’s International Climate Change Programme, Director of Planning and Policy at Fundacion Natura in Ecuador and climate advisor to the Ecuadorian government.

Rachel Espinosa
Food Waste to Energy Director

Rachel is an expert in waste management operations, strategic planning and development and has worked in the waste industry for 20 years.

She is a centre councillor for the London and South Counties Centre of the Chartered Institution of Waste Management and is currently engaged as a waste management specialist at the global sustainability consultancy Ricardo Energy and Environment. Rachel has been a Non-Executive Director of BHESCo since 2015.

Paul Beckett
Non-Executive Director

Paul is co-owner and co-founder of the multi-disciplinary environmental consultancy Phlorum, which he set up with a colleague in 2003.

Before then he provided environmental consultancy at WSP and RPS. As a consultant, he has completed environmental impact assessment work on a very broad range of projects, from housing developments to energy production, warehousing, sewage treatment, various industrial processes and transportation infrastructure schemes.

He has recently been the industrial supervisor for EU Regional Development Fund and UK Research Councils funded PhD studentships at Liverpool, Lancaster and Sussex Universities.

He is a past member of the Manchester City Council Climate Change Action Plan Steering Group.

BHESCo Staff Team

Simon Punyer

Simon Punyer

Technical Lead

Simon is a mechanical engineer who has spent much of his career with the global engineering consultancy Ricardo, based in Shoreham. Between 2002 and 2007 Simon was with Npower renewables developing small hydro power schemes, before volunteering in Nepal also to work with hydro power.

Richard Dow

Richard Dow

Technical Consultant

Richard joined BHESCo following a postgraduate degree in Smart Energy in the Built Environment. After working previously as a civil engineer in the water sector, he has joined our project team to focus on energy assessment and improvements for commercial buildings. Richard is passionate about contributing to successful community energy projects.

Alex Williams - Project Developer

Alex Williams

Project Developer

Alex completed her Masters degree at Imperial College London in Mechanical Engineering, with a dissertation on the role of Energy Storage Systems in local energy generation.

She then worked at the Energy Networks Association as part of their Open Networks programme, before joining the BHESCo Projects Team in 2024.

Tim Beecher - Energy Saving Service Team Leader at Brighton Hove Energy Services Co-operative

Tim Beecher

Retrofit Assessor

Tim joined BHESCo after qualifying as a Domestic Energy Assessor. He has an environmental science masters degree (MSc) in ecology conservation and biodiversity surveying. His background is in community-focused work, giving housing advice and benefit support. Tim is also qualified to deliver Energy Performance Certificates (EPC’s).

Jack Hope - BHESCo Energy Advisor

Jack Ward

Domestic Energy Efficiency Advisor

Jack is the newest member to join the BHESCo team and will be supporting our work alleviating fuel poverty in Brighton & Hove. Jack holds an undergraduate degree in Ecology from Essex university, and has recently completed his postgraduate degree in Environment, Development and Policy at the University of Sussex. 

Nici Rice - BHESCo Energy Adviser

Nici Rice

Domestic Energy Efficiency Advisor

Nici is an experienced energy assessor and joins our team to support our work tackling cold homes and fuel poverty. Her background is in sports development, using sport to bring about positive, social change. “I’m excited that in my role at BHESCo, I will bring some warmth and wellbeing to the community”.

Dan Curtis - Customer Services & Communications - Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative

Dan Curtis

Communications Officer

Dan joined BHESCo following a previous career working in financial services. Dan is responsible for BHESCo’s public facing communications, including website development, social media, public events, direct marketing and media enquiries. Dan is also BHESCo’s project lead on the Big Energy Saving Network, providing free energy saving support and advice to residents across the city.

Socfa O'Donovan Bookkeeper - Brighton and Hove Energy Services Co-operative

Sofia O’Donovan

Accounts & Bookkeeping

Sofia is fluent in several major languages which have enabled work in different countries in Europe and South America. Sofia studied Internaional Relations at the University of Barcalona and Economics with Specialization in Sustainable Economics at the Universidad Catolica del Ecuador. Sofia recently completed her Xero Bookkeeping certification.

RF for website

Rebekah Fleming

Energy Efficiency Advisor

Rebekah recently graduated from Sussex University where she studied International Development. Her research interest was in alternative economies with a focus in social and environmental justice. Rebekah is the team lead on BHESCo’s Carbon Neutral Communities programme and is working towards becoming an Domestic Energy Assessor.

BHESCo's History

BHESCo was founded in 2014 by Kayla Ente, who remains the driving force of the co-operative to this day.

BHESCo’s initial community share offer was in 2015, when we successfully raised enough money to complete our first four community energy projects. Since then BHESCo have completed dozens of community owned energy projects which together will reduce CO2 emissions by thousands of tonnes over their lifetime.

READ MORE >>> How Kayla Ente founded BHESCo

Recognition From Ofgem

In their 2016 report ‘Local Energy In A Transforming Energy System’, the UK energy regulator Ofgem recognised BHESCo’s business model as a key solution to accelerating the transition to low-carbon energy .

Read report

What are people saying about BHESCo?

“BHESCo works hard to improve the quality of life for local families by reducing the amount of energy they need and by encouraging the uptake of clean, locally generated, renewable energy to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels”

Caroline Lucas MP

“”BHESCO do wonderful, innovative work that manages to deliver actual progress on the ground for people in difficult situations, particularly the fuel poor. Problem solving is BHESCo’s forte!””

Dr Brenda Boardman

“BHESCo are an amazing organisation, constantly pushing for a fairer deal for residents and planet alike”

Phelim MacCafferty

Former Leader of Brighton & HOve City Council

What is community energy and how will it support the UK's climate change targets?

To avoid 4°C of global warming and the worst-case scenarios of runaway climate change, communities across the UK must work in partnership to achieve net zero carbon emissions as soon as possible. Together, we can demonstrate what can be achieved when people are united in their ambition.

Community owned energy systems will be a key factor in avoiding catastrophic climate change, by enabling towns and villages throughout England to live and work in buildings that are affordable to heat and powered from locally generated renewable sources. 

BHESCo is partnering with a number of communities across the South East to develop local, sustainable microgrids and heat networks that will deliver multiple benefits to local residents while preserving our natural environment. Read our manifesto to learn more. 

Shared Ownership residents can become investors in and co-owners of their local energy infrastructure, ensuring fairness, transparency and equal access to all those the network serves.
Part of an international community – join thousands of community energy members across the world who are uniting to develop sustainable low-carbon heat and power projects.
Bigger than politics – transcend the divisions of party politics and unify communities to take agency and ownership over local energy provision.
Power the UK’s net zero transition – make fossil fuels history and leave a healthy, thriving planet that future generations can depend on.
Building local resilience – community energy projects contribute to local job creation, provide protection against price volatility and establish new revenue streams for community benefit.
Working in partnership – in every community there are people who can make a contribution, whether they are an electrician, a councillor, an IT specialist, an engineer or a city planner.

Become a member – Got money sat in a low interest savings account? Join hundreds of other investors  who are putting their money to work developing community led solutions to the global climate crisis.

Partner with BHESCo  – our passionate team of experts would love to become your partner in driving down the financial and carbon costs of your home, business, or entire community.

BHESCo's Award Winning Community Energy Services

We are very proud to have been nominated for the following awards in recognition of our exceptional services:

Winner 2019 Regen Community Energy Initiative

Winner 2019 Community Energy England Carbon Saving Award

Winner 2019 NEA Heat Heroes Award

Winner 2018 Brighton and Hove Business Awards – Green Business of the Year

Finalist 2019 Energy Institute Awards

Highly Commended 2018 Energy Efficiency Awards South East

Finalist 2017 Community Energy England Energy Champion Award

Winner 2016 Community Energy England Energy Saving Award

We’re constantly looking to improve our service and greatly value all feedback from our customers. Please take a moment to leave a review on Trustpilot or Google, where you can also see what others have had to say about BHESCo.