The Glasgow Community Energy project has been developed by local people on a largely voluntary basis over the last six years.
It started life in 2015 as Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund (RRAAF) project, which aimed to establish a new ethical and autonomous funding source for radical art and activism, by investing in renewable energy technologies. This was seen as a radical alternative to existing public/private funding streams, particularly corporate sponsorship from the fossil fuel companies causing climate change.
The Project Timeline below details how RRAAF evolved into Glasgow Community Energy – a project focused on connecting and empowering local communities across the city of Glasgow – and the many individuals and organisations who have been involved along the way.
6 October 2015 – Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund (RRAAF) crowdfunding campaign launched by Ellie Harrison.
17 December 2015 – Opportunities for new Community Energy: A Scoping Report for the Radical Renewable Art + Activism Fund launched at Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Glasgow (pictured above).
23 – 24 July 2016 – crowdfunding backers and members of the public invited to attend the RRAAF Founding Symposium at CCA, Glasgow to agree the new organisation’s aims and values. Decision taken to constitute as a Community Benefit Society (BenCom).
22 August 2016 – support secured from Co-operative Development Scotland (£1,470) to begin working with Jim Lee from Energy4All to help constitute as a BenCom.
1 November 2016 – meeting at CCA, Glasgow to agree the new BenCom’s Rules and Objectives and to appoint founding members to the Board: Ellie Harrison, Cecilia Wee, Jain McIntyre, Jim Lee and Annette Heslop (from Energy4All).
15 February 2017 – the new BenCom Radical Renewable Art and Activism Community Energy Society Ltd (RRAACES) registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) by amending and renaming a dormant BenCom (Southern Community Energy Society Ltd), which had be registered by Energy4All on 23 June 2015. The founding members of Southern Community Energy Society Ltd were Energy4All employees: Marna McMillin, Stephanie Tyson and Annette Heslop.
28 September 2017 – Jim Lee and Ellie Harrison meet Calum Watkins and Ben Frazer from the University of Strathclyde to begin investigating possibilities for installing ground-mounted Solar Panels on vacant and derelict land in Glasgow.
29 May 2018 – Calum Watkins and Ben Frazer appointed to the Board.
3 October 2018 – CARES Enablement Grant secured (up to £19,233.38) for the ‘Glasgow Community Energy’ project to commission a feasibility study for installing ground-mounted Solar Panels on vacant and derelict land, and, if successful, to appoint a legal advisor.
28 November 2018 – Claire Williams appointed as Community Organiser for Glasgow Community Energy on a one-year contract (1 February 2019 – 31 January 2020).
September 2018 – March 2019 – Calum Watkins and Ben Frazer run series of workshops at schools in Easterhouse (including Ashton Secondary School).
17 December 2018 – Locogen commissioned to undertake the feasibility study, after a procurement process.
25 February 2019 – Locogen present feasibility study recommending roof-mounted Solar Panels on the roofs of six schools and public buildings in North East Glasgow.
28 February 2019 – Andy McAvoy and Barbara Vecchione from Retool Architecture undertake a community consultation on renewable energy for East Pollokshields on behalf of The Pollokshields Trust with funding from Architecture & Design Scotland. This results in proposals to install Solar Panels on Glendale Primary School.
13 March 2019 – grant secured from Network for Social Change (£6,755) to employ a part-time Communications Organiser to develop social media networks.
30 March 2019 – seven schools and public buildings across Eastern Glasgow pre-registered with Ofgem for the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff (before the scheme is closed on 31 March 2019), including Ashton Secondary School. Installation must be completed within one year (by 29 March 2020).
30 March 2019 – The Pollokshields Trust pre-register Glendale Primary School (and two other buildings in the local area) with Ofgem for the UK Government’s Feed-in Tariff.
13 July 2019 – Community Energy Fayre held in Easterhouse to engage local people in the project, with Seven Lochs Wetland Park, Glasgow Community Food Network, East End Flat-Pack Meals and the Pedal-Powered Sound System.
6 August 2019 – Richard Witney (On Site Generation) appointed to as Project Manager to develop the project proposal for the seven pre-registered buildings and deliver the installations before the Feed-in Tariff deadline (then 29 March 2020).
15 August 2019 – follow-up meeting with local community organisations at Kelvin College, Easterhouse facilitated by Ben Reid-Howells.
27 August 2019 – Glasgow City Council’s Climate Emergency Working Group recommends support for Glasgow Community Energy:
Local communities should be able to invest in low carbon solutions through mechanisms such as co-operative business models. There is a good opportunity to develop partnerships which will enable residents to support renewable energy in the city and to get local benefit from these resources. We recommend that the Council’s business support and planning services are made available to support community investment in renewable energy, including the Glasgow Community Energy Co-operative. (Recommendation 59)
26 August – 21 October 2019 – a series of five Community Energy Workshops held on Monday evenings at Garthamlock & Craigend Parish Church.
19 September 2019 – Zoe Dickson appointed to the Board following a summer internship with Energy4All.
2 October 2019 – Board Members meet Bill Fraser and Andy McAvoy from The Pollokshields Trust to discuss working together to deliver the seven sites pre-registered for Feed-in Tariff, plus the three additional sites pre-registered by The Pollokshields Trust, as part of the Glasgow Community Energy project.
1 October 2019 – Sophie Amono appointed as part-time Communications Organiser on a seven-month contract (1 October 2019 – 30 April 2020).
11 October 2019 – On Site Generation present report for a Glasgow-wide community energy project including installing Solar Panels at nine of the sites pre-registered for Feed-in Tariff.
14 November 2019 – Fraser Stewart appointed to the Board.
19 November 2019 – project proposal submitted to Glasgow City Council to progress ongoing discussions to secure a legal agreement permitting installations to commence.
19 December 2019 – Absolute Solar & Wind appointed Principal Designer and Installer for the project, after a procurement process.
19 December 2019 – Andy McAvoy appointed to the Board.
12 February 2020 – CARES Development Loan awarded (up to £20,000) to develop designs, secure Building Warrants and a legal agreement with Glasgow City Council (and potentially the other buildings’ owners).
12 February 2020 – Calum MacLeod of Harper Macleod appointed as legal advisor to draft legal agreements.
31 March 2020 – Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, UK Government announces extension to the deadline for installing sites pre-registered for Feed-in Tariff (initially six-months, later extended to one year, allowing until 29 March 2021 to complete installations).
19 May 2020 – Building Warrant secured for Glendale Primary School.
8 June 2020 – Building Warrant secured for Ashton Secondary School.
20 July 2020 – Grid Connections accepted for Ashton Secondary School and Glendale Primary School.
31 July 2020 – SPEN Green Economy Fund grant secured (£77,149.95) to fund two-thirds of capital costs of installing Solar Panels at Ashton Secondary School and Glendale Primary School.
13 August 2020 – Electricity Supply Agreement signed with Glasgow City Council to supply electricity generated at the two schools to the Council at an inflation-protected fixed rate for 21 years (until 13 August 2041), and permit installations to commence.
4 September 2020 – installation of Solar Panels at Ashton Secondary School commences (site commissioned on 20 September 2020).
8 September 2020 – UK Government announces further extension to the deadline for installing sites pre-registered for Feed-in Tariff (allowing until 29 March 2021 to complete installations).
22 September 2020 – Admin Services Contract (Agreement for Services) signed with Energy4All to support the administration of the BenCom (10 year contract with a break point at 2 years, on 22 September 2022).
1 October 2020 – insurance cover arranged with Naturesave for Public Liability, Employer’s Liability and Operational All Risks.
9 October 2020 – Memorandum of Understanding signed between Glasgow Community Energy and The Pollokshields Trust to transfer the Feed-in Tariff for Glendale Primary School to Glasgow Community Energy, in return for The Pollokshields Trust becoming a key partner community organisation and having a seat on the Board.
9 October 2020 – installation of Solar Panels at Glendale Primary School commences (site commissioned 4 November 2020).
13 November 2020 – Feed-in Tariff Application for Ashton Secondary accepted by Ofgem (registration complete on 24 March 2021).
29 January 2021 – Claire Williams and Bill Fraser appointed to the Board (Bill Fraser as a representative of The Pollokshields Trust).
8 February 2021 – Completion Certificate accepted for Building Warrant at Glendale Primary School.
25 February 2021 – Feed-in Tariff Application for Glendale Primary School accepted by Ofgem (registration complete on 13 May 2021).
23 April 2021 – Completion Certificate accepted for Building Warrant at Ashton Secondary School.
24 April 2021 – Monitoring Services Contract signed with On Site Generation to monitor the performance of the Solar Panels at both schools (expires 30 September 2026).