History & Founders Statements
Founder's statement: Phillip Bruner
The ideas which later came together to form SCENE were dreamt up by Phillip Bruner in 2008. Through discussions with a group of sustainable architects in Ghent (Belgium), he began to realise that stakeholder participation in project development was not equally represented amongst city planners, businesses, municipal governments and urban residents. The voices of communities in particular were being drowned out by those with vested interests, while innovative designers were fighting an uphill battle to see their projects brought to fruition.
In late 2009 Phillip relocated to Edinburgh where he soon began to realise that a similar disconnect existed in renewable energy development. Divisions between public and private sector stakeholders had given rise to exclusionary practises which tended to treat communities as the means to an end in the pursuit of profit. SCENE was founded with the express goal of bridging the communication gap between local people and investors, empowering communities to engage with the private sector on more equal footing.
In recent years the market for community renewable energy has grown. Both urban and rural populations, along with residential and commercial property owners are taking initiative to become developers and clean energy producers themselves. These fantastic achievements have been made possible by core groups of committed volunteers as well as smart government incentives. SCENE aims to contribute to the growing success of locally-owned energy by enabling communities in the UK and abroad to build sustainable energy businesses; businesses that don't rely on public sources of finance.
The SCENE team has grown as well, taking in a talented group of professionals from around the world. Having found a home with the new Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, we look forward to fast-tracking connections between energy investors and sustainable communities everywhere.
Co-founder and Non-Executive Director, Sustainable Community Energy Network (SCENE).
Founder's statement: Jelte Harnmeijer
After a dozen years of work in various capacities at universities in Africa, Australia and the Americas, Jelte finally became fed up with the growing gaps between Knowledge, Policy, and People. What's the point of doing good research if nobody uses it, and if the tax-payers that fund it don't even get access to the increasingly unreadable 'outputs'? At the same time, life and work in communities across the planet had opened Jelte's eyes to the power and potential of local ownership: be it water, land, forests or power generation. Local community ownership of renewable energy generation, in particular, has two powerful forces on its side: economics, and thermodynamics.
Economics is on the side of community renewables (and SCENE!) because local ownership gives individuals and communities a vested interest in efficiently managing and maintaining projects, and helps disperse all manner of benefits across society in the process. Producing and storing energy closer to your home and community also makes thermodynamic sense, especially for dispersed and intermittent resources such as solar, tidal and wind. Read some of the select publications and SCENE reports on this website to find out more about this.
Join the Sustainable Community Energy revolution.
Director, Sustainable Community Energy Network (SCENE).