About Energise South Downs

Powering the energy transition in the South Downs and surrounding areas.

What is Community Energy?

Energise South Downs is a non-profit Co-operative, one of over 400 other Community Energy organisations in the UK.

The impacts of increasing energy costs, energy insecurity and climate change affect us all. Community energy offers people and communities the opportunity to tackle these issues at a local level.

Community energy delivers carbon savings through locally generated renewable energy projects funded through local investment, it also gives communities a say in how and where their power is generated.

Community Energy creates local jobs while profits are channelled into local projects such as supporting energy advice projects and fuel poverty programmes.

How does Community Energy Work?

Energise South Downs wants to reduce energy costs, build in future energy security and help reach net zero goals. It does this by finding suitable sites for renewable energy projects.

ESD leases rooftops to build high-performance solar PV systems; we then supply our landlords with cheap electricity that comes from the solar panel. We raise the capital through local investment that guarantees a return.

Assuming suitable sites can be found it’s a very simple and effective model that brings significant benefit to local communities and businesses alike.

Core Team

Catriona Cockburn

Chair, Organisation and Project Development - Director

Having worked in the NHS for twenty years, three years ago Catriona moved into the environment sector, she was a founding member and Trustee of Petersfield Climate Action Network.

With a passion for renewable energy Catriona now brings her MSc. in Leadership and Service Development as well as project management skills to Energise South Downs. 

Catriona enjoys working with and getting to know the community around her, she is developing her skill set and knowledge through the excellent courses offered by Centre of Alternative Technology and is excited about developing renewable energy projects locally which will benefit the local community.

Having lived in Petersfield for 15 years with her family one of her favourite past times is running in the South Downs National Park.

Malinka Van Der Gaauw


In the past Malinka has written succinctly about complex political situations in far flung places, outdoor experiential education & most recently marketing Petersfield’s successful, inaugural Walking Festival. Although technically a Petersfield resident since 1996 she has only recently returned home, after living overseas for almost 20 years. This experience opened her eyes to the effect of the climate crisis beyond our shores as well as the beauty on our doorstep. When not writing, Malinka can be found out walking – exploring the Western Weald.

Amelia Gabriel

Programme Manager

Amelia has joined ESD with experience in project, event and programme management from a variety of charities tackling social mobility, youth mentoring and climate action.  She is passionate about addressing the climate crisis, empowering communities and transitioning to cleaner energy. Outside of work she enjoys admiring trees through the seasons with her children. 

Martin Heath

Technical Advisor

Martin is one of the partners in Basingstoke Energy Coop and has many years experience of installing solar and other renewable technologies in domestic, commercial and public sites.

Liz Bisset

Membership Secretary, Petersfield Area Co-ordinator

Liz believes that community energy has an important part to play in reducing carbon emissions and would like to see community-led renewable energy generation projects across the South Downs and surrounding areas, helping to increase energy security, to reduce transmission losses and resource inefficiency and to engage people in local action on climate change, fuel poverty and innovation. She is very excited to be part of the start-up of Energise South Downs and hopes to contribute by networking and involving as many local communities, businesses, schools, farmers and individuals as possible, in community energy projects, to effect long-term system change.

Andy Figgins

Legal Affairs - Director

Andy Figgins is a seasoned energy projects lawyer with over 25 years of experience in project agreements, financings and operations in the oil & gas sector. While his career has been in places such as Algeria, Angola, Azerbaijan, Egypt, Oman and other developing countries, there are many transferable aspects that can help UK community energy. Seeking redemption for a fossil fuel career, Andy is now supporting ESD as a director and on the legal aspects such as governance, agreements and regulatory framework.

Peter Carver

Finance - Director

Peter is a qualified accountant who was worked in private practice, industry and the public sector.

Peter trained as an accountant in Exeter preparing accounts for sole traders and small businesses. After qualifying he joined Peat Marwick London where he worked on large company audits, stock exchange listings and general financial advisory work. Peter then joined Ocean Group’s Environmental and waste management business based in London as Financial Controller and subsequently moved to be Finance Director to the DHL’s international shipping agency working with Far East and African businesses.

Following a reorganisation Peter left to join the Environmental Agency in Worthing as Finance and Corporate Services Manager responsible for Finance, Planning, Legal, Estates, Procurement and Facilities teams. During his time here Peter undertook a special role in relation to setting policy for, reviewing and approving EA and Local Authority flood risk and environmental projects. Peter’s last role was as Deputy Finance Director at DEFRA supporting the Rural Payments Agency.

Peter has recently retired and moved with his wife Rachel to Petersfield. They have three grown up children one of whom lives in Petersfield and has had a young daughter during the pandemic.  Peter states ‘The natural world and our environmental footprint have been areas of key interest to me during my careers and I now look forward to contributing to the work of Energise South Downs’.

Lynne Fornieles

Architectural & Planning Advisor

Lynne Has worked for many years as an architect in the South Downs with a particular interest in Sustainability and Green Architecture.

Lynne’s passion now is to help meet the challenges that face all if us in terms of creating renewable energy sources and to develop sustainable communities of families, individuals and businesses. Her years as a climate activist have made it clear to her the urgency and importance of taking firm steps to progress this intention as quickly as possible 

Rachel Ritchie

Energise South Downs - Energy Lead

Rachel is a UN-accredited Climate Change Teacher with ten years’ experience teaching about climate change both as a primary class teacher and as a visiting speaker to local schools (both primary and secondary).  Her awareness of climate change dates back to the time before becoming a teacher when, alongside working as a Chartered Accountant she took an Environmental Studies degree from the Open University.  Rachel has been working to educate others around climate issues since she graduated in 2010, as well as trying to reduce her own carbon emissions. More recently I‘ve also been talking to adults (including local environmental groups,  students at Winchester University,  and Parish Councils)  about the urgency of the Climate Crisis and offering them possible solutions. Rachel currently lives in a village near Petersfield, where she is active with the Parish Council’s Community and Environment Group, she also runs an Eco Café in Petersfield.  Rachel says ‘I have been involved with Energise South Downs from its inception and I’m looking forward to helping our communities to decarbonise through renewable energy initiatives’. 

Local Co-ordinators

Jane Healey, Katherine Hewetson, Sarah Greene

Harting Area Co-ordinators

Sarah, Jane and Katherine are the original members of Harting CAN. From a communications, arts and social enterprise background they are mobilising the parish to learn and act together to address the climate crisis. Their vision is a community that innovates and creates vibrant solutions to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels, that makes use of renewable resources whilst building a strong collective movement around climate action.

“We are thrilled to be part of Energise South Downs and to help our community understand the benefits and impact of community energy. We know that we can work better together to decarbonise and protect our environment.”

Chris Lang

Alton Area Co-ordinator

Sue Crossley

Hambledon Area Co-ordinator

Sue is a founder member of Hambledon Greening which has raised much awareness within the community towards action around  the climate crisis, building from the smallest actions of Recycling,  to Renaturing and Retrofit and Community Energy.  A  chartered surveyor trained in Land Management and a founder partner of The Country House Company, Sue is married to a farmer and together with their son is converting the farm to organic.

Sue has a passion for sustainable environmental matters, keen to help evolve,and enable the  community  to live and work sustainably and economically in harmony with the beautiful environment of the south Downs.

Danny Lee

Winchester District Area Co-ordinator

Danny is a Trustee at ‘Winchester Action on the Climate Crisis’ (WinACC), works on local and national environmental lobbying issues, and as a Citizens Advice advisor. This follows a career as a Mariner and sustainable design-and-build research and with the Environment Agency. One of his companies received a 2015 national Green Apple Award for an Eco-rating tool in the ‘Built Environment & Architectural’ category.

Danny is keen to close the sustainability gap in thinking and practice focused on the United Nation’s holistic need to address the ‘Triple Challenge’: stop Climate degradation, rising Pollution and loss of Biodiversity. The interdependence between these aspects and Energy and Food security are upmost in his concerns. He hopes to help and see local towns and parishes become more sustainable places to live and work.

Sue Hoar and Andrea Linell

Eco Rother Area Local Co-ordinators

Louise Bevan

Liphook Area Local Co-ordinator

Michael Levens

Petworth Local Area Co-ordinator