A message from Mark Kenber, Chairperson of Brighton & Hove Energy Services Co-operative (BHESCo)

It is testament to the resilience of BHESCo’s business model, that I am able to report a successful year for the organisation.  

Despite the numerous challenges the covid pandemic has presented, BHESCo has grown over the past year, tripling turnover and expanding the team.  A new project manager joined in January.  His experience in large-scale project management positions us well for our plans for village heat decarbonisation projects.  

We now have a comprehensive asset management programme which will ensure we get optimum performance from our expanding portfolio of assets (currently 30).

This year saw a further diminishing of government support for renewable energy installations with the termination of the Non-Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive. This puts renewable heat at a competitive disadvantage to current gas prices and makes it challenging to create a compelling case for heat pump installations. Our strategy, therefore, targets off-grid sites – villages and industrial estates using oil or LPG – where the benefits, both financial and environmental, will be greater.

Our work with schools continues. During the year we installed our first ground source heat pump at The Montessori Place school and provided a local housing co-operative with solar PV and a ventilation system.  Combined, these assets will reduce CO2 emissions by a further 53 tonnes per annum on top of the annual 415 tonnes currently being saved by BHESCo projects.

Since closing our last share offer at the end of October 2020, we have built an encouraging list of potential investors who have expressed an interest in buying BHESCo shares when we next open a share offer.

Mark Kenber 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.

He lives in Brighton with his family, is a keen theatregoer, gardener, runner and activist and a season ticket holder at Brighton and Hove Albion.

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