About

Established in 2011, Empower Community is a social enterprise that balances the interests of all stakeholders by developing projects that benefit all participants while providing a high quality, risk-mitigated investment opportunities.

We need to greatly accelerate the deployment of renewable energy and other balancing interventions at scale in order to address the combined factors of climate change, energy security, and social justice. This can be achieved by:

  • obtaining investment from capital markets and other sources on the best possible terms, for the benefit of the community
  • establishing a profit sharing programme to facilitate local stakeholders in utilising this financial resource effectively to build local resilience
  • other outcomes include increasing job opportunities at the local level and support for social enterprises to address wider issues relating to creating sustainable, socially just local economies

Management Team

Alex Grayson
Managing Partner

As a co-founding partner, Alex looks after the general management, project development, marketing, company secretarial and day-to-day operations of ECM. He is also a trustee to the Empower Community Foundation, providing strategic and partnering execution of the hard-wired community benefit elements of ECM’s asset portfolio.

Previously, Alex’s 25-year background in senior management, sales, marketing, public relations and corporate social responsibility roles, was in both UK and New Zealand corporate and SME settings. He spent six years heading up CSR and corporate sponsorship for a major New Zealand bank and a national telephone network, responsible for strategy development and delivery of several local, regional and national programmes, delivering maximum return on investment while supporting and protecting the integrity of a wide range of community, sporting, arts and other not-for-profit organisations.

He subsequently managed a privately-owned charitable trust operating in the field of education and personal development, where he planned, marketed and delivered a range of professional trainings and courses from around the world. Then, as CEO of a globally-trading educational training company he designed, developed and marketed a web platform and network of trained and licensed resellers in North America, Scandinavia, Australia and the UK.

Robert Knowles
Partner, Finance and Commercial

Bob is a co-founding partner of ECM and is responsible for all aspects of the financial planning and execution of ECM’s asset investments, including financial modelling, legal contracts, due diligence, reporting and asset optimisation. He also designs, tests and implements the development of new initiatives.

Prior to Empower Community, Robert had a twenty-year background in business and financial services, working with organisations and their senior management. This has included designing and delivering solutions in new ventures creation, capital raising, institutional investments, project finance, tax planning and personal wealth planning. He has developed a considerable network of contacts in the financial and professional services arenas and has raised over £500m of investment capital in syndicated investments and bespoke arrangements.

Robert has advised and helped establish a number of ventures focused on sustainable development including companies developing new technologies, a clean tech fund, a climate change communications initiative and a renewable energy projects company.

Paul Yiannouzis
Partner, Engineering and Project Delivery

Paul looks after the technical and commercial aspects of new project acquisition, development and delivery, as well as the operation and maintenance, contractor and project host relations and asset monitoring and optimisation.

Paul is a Chartered Electrical Engineer with over 40 years’ experience in the energy, water and petrochemical sectors gained both in the UK and overseas. He has been responsible for the development and delivery of large energy infrastructure projects over the past 20 years. Paul has managed his own project development organisation delivering large energy-from-waste projects for private and public sector clients. In 2009 he was appointed a non-executive director of MWH Engineering Group leading the developing of the company’s Energy & Industry activities and developing a capability to deliver services in the EMEA region.

Paul was an executive director of the London Climate Change Agency responsible for developing and managing projects and initiatives catalysing the renewable sector in the London environment.  During this period, he was an executive director of the London ESCO, an EDF Energy and LCCA joint venture, responsible for the management of large infrastructure projects. During his time with LCCA, Paul was Deputy Chair for the London Energy Partnership promoting the implementation of energy efficiency and decentralised energy infrastructure.

Before joining the LCCA, Paul was European regional director for Black & Veatch Engineering, a consulting and construction group, responsible for managing the business across the region. During his time in the energy and water sectors Paul has managed, either as programme director or manager, in excess of £650m of projects. 

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