Westmill Co-op Board
Mark Luntley (Chair)
Mark had a career as local government accountant starting at the Audit Commission. Mark was the Finance Director at Oxford City Council for seven years and before joining the Local Government Association where he developed the business case for the UK’s first Local Government Bond Agency.
More recently Mark has focussed on creating more community-owned renewable energy projects. Mark helped found and subsequently chaired the Oxfordshire Credit Union, he chairs Westmill Wind Coop and was a founding director of Westmill Solar Coop which is one of the most successful projects of its type in the UK.
As a non-executive director at Energy4All, Mark focusses on relationships with member cooperatives and international relations. In 2021 Mark was re-elected to the eight-person board of “REScoop” – which represents renewable energy cooperatives across Europe. He was also elected to the board of Community Energy England in 2019.
Gary is a mechanical engineer. His journey into renewables started with traditional apprentice training on a conventional heavy industry manufacturing plant, via several roles, and into a gearbox manufacturer for the wind industry. He was responsible for the wind energy division service of all the geared drives out in the field, looking after a team of 40 engineers. At a bank to Nordex (A wind turbine manufacturer), he held various roles over a 7-year period and a 3-year spell looking after the construction side of wind for Mott MacDonald. His present role is as Managing Director and Regional Director EMEA for K2 Management, a global consulting company that specialises in construction management and due diligence for both wind and solar projects.
Mike Blanch (Advisor)
Mike is a Chartered Mechanical Engineer with 17 years experience in renewable energy. From 1991 to 2004 he worked in wind energy related research firstly for 2 years at Cranfield University and then at the Energy Research Unit at CCLRC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. Mike has since worked for AEA Future Energy Solutions where he provided consultancy services to both private and public sector organisations primarily in wind energy technologies. Mike is currently the Wind Energy Manager at Atkins which includes providing consultancy services and the management of the development of two wind farms. Mike also chairs the WeSET charity.
Dr Douglas Parr is Chief Scientist and Policy Director at Greenpeace UK. He has worked as an environmental activist for over a quarter of a century, first working on climate policy and the role of local authorities in emissions cuts in early 1990s. That was after obtaining a doctorate in atmospheric chemistry, in particular the ozone layer, from Oxford University in 1991. Since that time he has worked on a number of green issues including agriculture, chemicals policy, green refrigeration, marine conservation and bioenergy. However the last few years have been mostly focused on the technologies and policies of clean energy. Engaged in such detail as helping and supporting the first Feed-in-Tariff regime and getting full Renewable Obligation support for offshore wind’s first farms in the noughties. And going right up to now, as the dawn of low cost renewables is turning upside down the mantras of conventional thinking on energy. He has been a shareholder in WWF since the outset.
Vivian has been a member of Westmill Wind Farm Co-op since it’s beginning and has taken a keen interest in its development and governance. His background is in the development of enterprises in the Co-operative Movement, and he hopes to bring that perspective to this role.
Vivian believes our common need to tackle climate change by changing the way we produce and consume energy should be addressed as a community while generating an adequate (but not excessive) economic return. He also believes that thanks to the hard work of the board and others, our co-operative has done this well over the years. He welcomes the move to enable members to receive a co-operative trading dividend as energy consumers through a tariff developed in partnership with Co-operative Community Energy.
Looking ahead, we will sadly not have solved the problems of climate change when our wind farm reaches its 25th anniversary in a decade or so, and although the original plan was to wind it up at the end of that time, Vivian supports the idea that our co-operative should continue to trade into the future, potentially growing with additional projects. He also welcomes the closer partnership with Westmill Solar Co-operative, of which he is also a member.
Josh has worked in renewable energy for eleven years, starting as a Project Manager at renewable energy consultancy Natural Power where he carried out feasibility assessments for over 60 onshore wind and solar farm sites, and developed a number of large-scale wind farms and solar farms through to construction in the UK and Ireland. Josh then worked for Co-op Energy for three years as the Renewables Manager. This involved managing their PPA portfolio, which almost exclusively consisted of community energy sites. From this he established a good working knowledge of the community energy sector and the PPA market.
For the last three years Josh has worked for SSE as the Commercial Arrangement Manager, where he focuses on route to market, ancillary services, Corporate PPAs, hydrogen and International markets for their 4 GW+ renewable portfolio.
Aude Duquesne has a background in biochemistry with a keen interest in climate change and education. After obtaining her PhD from the Mathematics and Natural Science Faculty at Leiden University (The Netherlands), she specialised in operations management. In the last 12 years, she has managed the portfolio of one of the largest project aggregators in greenhouse gas emissions reduction, been the secretariat of a trade association in the climate change space, as well as managed the operations of the UK’s largest community-owned energy generating co-operative (Westmill Solar Co-operative). Two years ago, she went back to her academic roots as the programme manager of a large multi-donor research programme aiming at improving educations systems in developing countries.
Jess has a great passion for Community Energy, working in the community energy sector since graduating from her studies, where she had completed a dissertation on the role and potential for community energy groups to contribute to a Net Zero future in England. She has previously worked as a project officer at SELCE, marketing for their Future Fit Homes retrofit programme, and Community Energy London where she looked after membership, organising several events and developing a peer mentoring programme to support the development of new community energy groups in London. Jess also freelanced for Community Energy England, supporting Policy and Advocacy, and in September 2022 was shortlisted for the Youth Energy Award at the Community Energy England Awards.
In February of this year, Jess began a new role with Joju Solar and Energy4All, developing rooftop solar community energy projects. Jess is also a director of Youth EmPowered, a new community energy group focused on empowering more young people to get involved in community energy projects and boards of directors.