Meet the judges for the 2017 Community Energy Awards:

Patrick AllcornHead of Local Energy, BEIS

The local energy team was created to help DECC support and develop energy solutions at a local level. From the community through local authority to the Local Enterprise partnerships - sharing best practice supporting strategic and project development and delivery. Previously Patrick has been responsible for the design and implementation of the Domestic RHI. He joined that team in early 2012. Prior to this appointment, he was responsible for community energy in DECC. He set up the LEAF project that enabled over 200 communities to set up local energy schemes in 2012. Before joining DECC, Patrick worked for Transport for London and the London Borough of Croydon as well as time working as a journalist and a sustainability consultant.

Graham Ayling- Head of Foundation, Energy Saving Trust

Graham is Head of the Energy Saving Trust Foundation, the charitable part of the Energy Saving Trust group. The Foundation focuses specifically on community energy and Graham leads its work programme, delivering community energy projects and programmes across the UK. He has 20 years’ experience of sustainable energy and climate change on a professional and voluntary basis and a Masters degree in Sustainable Energy Policy.

He has managed a range of different government support programmes for community and local authority activity on energy, including the £9m Local Energy Assessment Fund and the “Green Communities” advice and support programme. Graham has contributed to research projects on community and local energy, including the evidence base for the UK Community Energy Strategy and work on the role that communities can play in addressing fuel poverty and in the smart meter roll-out. He has an interest in smart technology and its place in decarbonising the UK economy and enabling new models of energy supply. His past work has included community renewable energy programmes, area-wide carbon reduction plans and local projects on affordable warmth.

Chris Blake - Founding Director of The Green Valleys & Chair of Community Energy Wales

Chris Blake is the Chair of Community Energy Wales and a founding director of The Green Valleys, established in 2009 to help local communities build more sustainable and resilient communities and fight climate change. Chris has built considerable experience in generating renewable energy through microhydro power and is a founding director of TGV Hydro who design, build, and finance microhydro systems for communities. He has particular expertise in financing renewable energy schemes and in setting up successful social enterprises.  He has prepared business plans, won grants, and secured finance for a range of social enterprises including The Green Valleys, Felin Talgarth Mill (community owned tourist attraction), Bakers Table (community cafe/bakery), TGV Hydro.

Leonie CooperChair of the London Assembly Environment Committee

Leonie is a councillor for Furzedown Ward in Wandsworth as well as the Labour London Assembly for Merton & Wandsworth. She is chair of the Environment Committee at City Hall and is a long-standing member of The Friends of Tooting Common, and of the Tooting Commons Management Advisory Committee. She also serves as a governor of Eardley Primary School and was formerly the Co-Chair of SERA – the Labour Environment Campaign.

Alistair MacphersonCEO Plymouth Energy Community & 2016 Community Energy Champion

Since 2013 Alistair has led the development of PEC from a council initiative, into a big thinking multifaceted venture delivering targeted support to the fuel poor, and community owned alternatives to fossil fuels. With a degree in Geography from Plymouth University, Alistair has a background in biodiversity and sustainable development projects for local authorities and third sector organisations in the UK and overseas. He currently also manages the Low Carbon City Team at Plymouth City Council. Alistair sees Plymouth leading the way in the community energy revolution and is proud to be part of it.

Jennifer PrideHead of Renewable Energy, Welsh Government

Jennifer Pride leads the Onshore Renewable Energy team in the Welsh Government and is responsible for policy on onshore renewable energy, and delivery in support of the policy aims. She has led in a number of roles related to leadership development, climate change, sustainable development, energy and resource efficiency.

Before joining Welsh Government in 2005, Jennifer had a varied work background, including retail management for M&S, running her own manufacturing and retail business, consultancy on risk management, and service in both Reserve and Regular forces as an Army engineer officer. During her 25 years’ military service she was the first woman to command an engineer squadron and to reach the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Engineers.

Dr Afsheen Rashid (Hon) MBE, Co-founder Director of Repowering London, Chair of Brixton Energy & Community Energy England

Afsheen is a community energy specialist with over 10 years extensive experience of working with communities and Local Authorities. Afsheen is Chief Operations Officer at Repowering London and sits as Chair of the Brixton Energy Solar Co-operatives, the UK’s first inner city community-owned solar power stations. A former Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Energy and Climate Change and current Chair of Community Energy England Afsheen remains influential in both local and national community energy decision making. Afsheen is a Trustee of Friends of the Earth and an advisor to several organisations: ‘UK 100’, an ambitious network of local government leaders committed to 100% clean energy; ‘IGOV 2’, an Established Career Fellowship on Innovation and Governance: Future Energy Systems; and the Community Business Panel for Power to Change.

Prior to Repowering’s foundation, Afsheen pioneered Lambeth Council’s Community Energy Programme and managed the Brixton Low Carbon Zone. She was instrumental in setting up the Muslim Women’s Collective in Tower Hamlets that seeks to empower women to play an active role in improving the environment. Afsheen has a MA in Geography and MEnv in Environment, Science and Society and an Honorary Doctorate.

Nina Skorupska - CEO at Renewable Energy Association

Nina Skorupska is the Chief Executive of the Renewable Energy Association (REA), the UK’s largest trade association for renewables and clean tech, including energy storage and EVs. With over 30 years of working in the Energy Industry, her career started as a fuel specialist but moved quickly to managing power stations for Npower. After several senior roles within the Group, her career culminated with joining the Board of the RWE’s Dutch business, Essent, as Chief Technical Officer, responsible for their electricity generation portfolio including new energy and sustainability developments. 

She is also currently Vice President of the European Renewable Energy Federation (EREF), a proud member of the Board of WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) Campaign and the Board of Transport for London.  Nina was awarded a CBE in 2016’s New Year Honour’s list for her contribution to renewables and equality in energy.