Community Energy Congress


Monday 27th February 2017


Mon 27 February, 2:30-6:00pm and Tues 28 February, 9:00am-3:45pm


Melbourne Town Hall, 90 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC
Sponsored by Flex and BCCM (Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals)

As part of C4CE’s Community Energy Congress, the ATA is happy to present a special Speed Date a Community Energy Expert event. Open to Congress attendees, speed dating will run across the two days of the Congress and will offer free personalised advice from experts on the financial, legal, community engagement, and technical aspects of getting a community energy scheme up and running. Experts’ details will be added below as they are finalised.

You must be registered for the Community Energy Congress to take part in Speed Date a Community Energy Expert. Read more and register for the Congress here.

Speed Date a Community Energy Expert is a free event, but bookings are essential. 

The Sustainability Experts

  • Andrew Bray – Australian Wind Alliance

    Andrew joined the Australian Wind Alliance in February 2013 after spending two years on the 100% Renewable Campaign, building skills and leadership in local communities to help them speak out in support for renewable energy. Before that he was an active member of local sustainability group, Ballarat Renewable Energy And Zero Emissions. Now based in one of New South Wales’ prime wind districts of the Southern Tablelands, Andrew has a particular knowledge of wind power and the contribution it can make to the local economy while at the same time helping Australia transition to a cleaner energy supply. He has extensive experience in campaign communications and attempting to appeal to politicians’ better angels.

  • Andrew Reddaway – ATA

    Andrew Reddaway is a solar expert at the ATA and can advise on solar and battery technology, and how they can be used for community energy projects – including their economics.  He can also share learnings from the ATA’s community energy project at Kurrawang, and can explain embedded networks. Andrew designed and developed the ATA’s Sunulator program and has delivered training courses and presentations to a variety of organisations. Prior to joining the ATA, Andrew worked at the Australian Energy Market Operator where he developed the organisation’s first forecast of rooftop solar generation for the National Electricity Market.

  • Anthony Taylor – BCCM

    Anthony Taylor is Policy Officer at the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM). Prior to working at the BCCM, he studied law and worked in a community-owned enterprise. Anthony looks forward to providing information on what the co-operative structure is and how it can be utilised in community energy projects. Anthony and the BCCM have extensive knowledge of the different ways co-operatives have been used in community energy in Australia and worldwide.

  • Bjorn Sturmberg

    Dr Sturmberg received his PhD from the University of Sydney in 2016, with a project on improving photovoltaic designs. This work won him an ARENA scholarship. He is currently an associate lecturer at Macquarie University and co-founded the renewable energy engineering company Kairos Power, whose projects include multi-million dollar hybrid microgrids and embedded networks. In 2015-17 he co-initiated and managed the community energy project at Stucco Co-operative, which was the first installation of a Solar + Storage system in an Australian apartment block. This project required technical and governance innovations, and set a regulatory precedent for Australian apartment blocks. It won an Environmental Performance – Innovation Grant from the City of Sydney. In 2017, Bjorn launched a new social enterprise SunTenants that brings the solar revolution to Australian rental properties in partnership with community energy groups.

  • Chris Cooper – Suncrowd

    Chris is founder and CEO of Suncrowd, a social enterprise aiming to take renewable energy to the people via a unique community approach. Previously, Chris was the founding-member of Repower Shoalhaven, one of Australia’s leading community solar organisations, and an energy economist at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF) at the University of Technology, Sydney. He was also co-founder of Berlin Bangers, a member of the Sydney food-truck fleet. In 2015, Chris was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship and travelled the world meeting visionaries and leaders who are building the next generation of people-powered energy organisations.

  • Christina Kirsch – ClearSky Solar

    Dr. Christina Kirsch is the founding Director of the not-for-profit community energy organization ClearSky Solar Investments, a social enterprise that links community investors with high quality, low risk solar projects launched in 2013. Christina is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a registered organisational psychologist with a PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. Christina has over 20 years’ experience working as researcher, academic and consultant on major organizational change and technology projects. As a social entrepreneur her passion is conscious capitalism, shared value initiatives and transformational change leading into the post-carbon economy. In her work, Christina supports national and international organisations on strategic alignment and projects that harnesses the opportunities inherent in the transition to a more sustainable economy. Christina is available to share her experience in developing business models and strategies that empower local communities to benefit not only environmentally, but economically from the generation of clean energy.

  • Damian Richmond – Bank Australia

    Bank Australia is Australia’s first 100% customer owned bank. Customers have been banking with us since 1957 and today nearly 130,000 people and community sector organisations choose to bank with us. Our customers have told us that they want us to encourage growth in renewable energy, so we’re excited to support the Community Energy Congress 2017.

  • Damien Moyse – ATA

    Damien leads ATA’s policy analysis and advocacy work, engaging with government at all levels, industry and consumers. He works in the areas of energy efficiency and demand management, renewable energy and carbon markets, water conservation and efficient transport. Damien also oversees the management of the ATA’s portfolio of research and consulting projects with our project partners and external clients – many of whom have been and currently are developing community energy projects.

  • Dan Spencer – Solar Citizens

    Dan Spencer has worked with the Port Augusta community as an organiser & campaigner since 2012 seeking to build Australia’s first large scale solar thermal plant with storage. Dan is Solar Citizens’ South Australian organiser and was previously a campaign co-director at the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. He is experienced in community engagement, campaigning and lobbying.

  • Ed Langham – Institute for Sustainable Futures

    Ed is an environmental scientist specialising in the planning, policy and economics of decentralised energy. His work focuses on the integration of supply and demand side options to deliver low cost, low carbon energy. Ed has driven much of ISF’s work on Local Network Charges and Local Electricity Trading, as concepts to keep public grid assets viable and open neighbourhood scale business models in an era of distributed generation and storage. He has also been instrumental in ISF’s work in developing innovation in business models to unlock ambition for climate action with local governments, universities and others. He has 15 years’ experience across public and private sectors, including time with the Sustainable Energy Development Authority of NSW’s (SEDA) solar programme, consulting in sustainable building design, and developing energy efficiency and renewable energy projects in the South Pacific. Ed was a founding member of Pingala Community Renewables and the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE).

  • Flex/Energy Matters

    Flex is a $25B company with over 200,000 employees worldwide, founded in 1969. Flex’s Australia team, under Energy Matters brand, has been paving the way for renewable energy solutions in Australia since 2006 and has supported some of the most innovative solar and battery storage projects in the country. Our team is uniquely positioned to deliver a 360° approach to solar and energy solutions, from solar farms to community energy programs. Flex’s local team combines under one roof engineers, economists, supply chain experts, seasoned project managers, legal experts and some of the finest accredited system designers in Australia. Nicolas Kesten (Head of Strategic Marketing and Partnerships) expert in end-to-end Solar Delivery Platforms, Stephen Hill (Head of Sales and Operations) expert on solar Bulk-Buy Program and Wilf Johnston (Managing Director) will be joining the C4CE Congress speed date event. and

  • Gavin Ashley – Moreland Energy Foundation

    Gavin is an experienced operator who has worked in the development and sustainability sectors for over a decade. A planner by qualification – he holds a post-graduate diploma in Social Science (Planning and Environment), Gavin works for the non-for-profit Moreland Energy Foundation heading up their consultancy operations and taking a lead role in community energy reduction and renewables strategic work. Gavin project managed the Zero Net Energy Town project, participated in the development and workshop component of the Community Energy Guide for Victorians and is a member of the C4CE Steering Committee and Surf Coast Renewable Energy Taskforce.

  • Geoff Erder – Energy Locals

    Energy Locals is a new retailer focused on customers and their communities.  Geoffrey joined Energy Locals in 2016 to bring his experience in distributed energy finance modelling such as the development of the analytical modelling for the Federal Government’s $100m Smart Grid, Smart City project. Geoffrey also recently worked for AEMO where he was a specialist, analysing distributed energy markets and how they can empower customers through access to ancillary, wholesale and distribution network benefits. He can advise on the business models that support solar PV, batteries and transactive energy arrangements.

  • Haydn Fletcher – Canadian Solar

    Haydn left his studies to be an astronaut and shifted his passion for space to the sun. He has 16 years in the solar industry with experience in design and installation of both grid and off grid systems. He is currently the Country Manager for Canadian Solar Australia where has been employed now for 3 years. Canadian Solar operates as a global energy provider with subsidiaries in 20 countries. Besides being a leading manufacturer of solar PV modules, Canadian Solar has services in project development for commercial and utility-scale power projects.

  • Heather Smith – Changing Weather

    Heather is an electrical engineer and has been both an industrial energy efficiency consultant and a climate change policy maker in her career. After many years in state government, Heather has moved on to focus on community energy. She is a Churchill Fellow, recently returned from looking at the role of community energy around the world in provoking change and defining each country’s energy transition. 

    Heather can assist in providing businesses with practical energy efficiency and audit advice. More importantly she can help with fitting your short term actions into a vision for the clean energy transformation of your business which can be achieved with the help of your customers and community and in the face of significant uncertainty about the shape of Australia’s future energy systems.

  • Jacqui Fetchet – Norton Rose Fulbright

    Jacqui is a lawyer at Norton Rose Fulbright working in project finance for renewable energy projects. Previously she worked in environmental litigation and climate change policy for the NSW Government. Jacqui is the Program Leader for the Renewable Cities Young Ambassadors Program and is also on the Board of Pingala, Sydney’s community energy co-operative. Jacqui is passionate about renewable energy, sustainable communities and working with interesting people to create a better future. Jacqui can offer information on legal structures and business models for setting up community energy organisations and investment vehicles, contractual arrangements needed to develop a project and legal risks/issues to consider in the Australian renewables market today.

  • Jarra Hicks – Community Power Agency

    Jarra has a professional background in community development, campaigning and renewable energy. She studied Development Studies at the University of Newcastle and in 2009 completed Honors research that focused on grassroots renewable energy projects as effective responses to climate change using innovative economic practices. She is a co-founder and Director of the Community Power Agency, motivated by the power that everyday people are engaging to make real contributions to the sustainability of their communities. Jarra spent two years as the Project Coordinator of Mount Alexander Community Wind in Central Victoria. She has also co-founded and worked for a range of community organisations and social enterprises, from food to energy, advocacy to banking and, most recently, helped to found the Coalition for Community Energy.

  • Jay Rutovitz – Institute for Sustainable Futures

    Jay Rutovitz is a Research Director at the Institute for Sustainable Futures. She is an environmental scientist who has worked in renewable energy and energy efficiency since 1994, after 15 years in the electrical contracting business. She has worked on precinct scale options for designing energy smart solutions, was the lead author for the NSW Bioenergy Handbook, and worked on the early development of Network Opportunity Mapping. She has a particular interest in the integration of renewable energy and demand side options into the energy system, and is working on a number of projects aimed at optimising the interaction between distributed and renewable energy and network management, including a strong focus on Local Electricity Trading.

  • Kylie Hitchman – ClearSky Solar

    Kylie has been a co-director of ClearSky Solar Investments Ltd since 2014. ClearSky is a non-for-profit social enterprise established in 2013, that supports communities and individuals to invest in renewable energy solar projects. To date, ClearSky has facilitated over $1.7 million being invested in 14 projects resulting in 996 tonnes of CO2e avoided. Kylie has been an environmental activist for the past 35 years and has worked for Greenpeace and Climate Action Network Australia and as a journalist for 2SER Environment Matters and freelance reporter for ABCJJJ for the Rio Earth Summit. Speak to Kylie if you are interested in setting up a self-sustaining renewable organisation that attracts community investors at significant competitive return.

  • Lee Fernandes – Canadian Solar

    Lee has 6 years’ experience with sales totalling over $19 million in the renewable energy industry. He focuses on solar PV renewable energy and recently joined Canadian Solar Australia in the C&I division. His passion has driven him to now work on large solar projects from 500kWp – 10MW range. Canadian Solar operates as a global energy provider with subsidiaries in 20 countries. Besides being a leading manufacturer of solar PV modules, Canadian Solar has services in project development for commercial and utility-scale power projects.

  • Richard Johnston – Shannon Power Management

    Richard Johnston has over 8 years’ experience as a passionate wind and solar renewable energy practitioner. He draws from his management consulting background, broad energy market and renewables experience to assist his clients in developing innovative power solutions. Richard works with Shannon Power Management where he is responsible for project scoping and business development. His clients include large horticultural companies and renewable energy developers. His role often includes negotiation of connection agreements with transmission and distribution companies. He is currently developing a transmission connection for a 5000 HA horticulture project in NSW. He has worked on large behind the meter solar projects in the industrial and agricultural sectors. Richard is available to share his experience on embedded networks and factors to consider when considering grid connection for your community project.

  • Sharyn Hunnisett – Lismore City Council

    Sharyn is an Environmental Strategies Officer at the Lismore City Council. Sharyn has been responsible for successfully formulating and delivering Lismore City Council’s Climate Change and Sustainability programs since 2002. She is currently leading the implementation of the council’s 2023 Renewable Energy Master Plan which incorporates Lismore Community Solar – an innovative Council/Community Energy project in partnership with Farming the Sun. The project consists of 2 x 100kW solar farms installed on council sites funded by a community loan to the council. This financial model is the first of kind in Australia and the project was four years in the making. Sharyn can share this experience and answer questions about this community energy project from a council perspective.

  • Tom Nockolds – Community Power Agency

    Tom is a Director of the Community Power Agency and a general expert on business models for the community energy sector.  He’s a member of two co-operatives, which he assisted through their formation and start-up phases.  Tom has advised many community groups on their options for choice of legal structure and business model and has a strong knowledge of the models being adopted or adapted by groups across Australia. Speak to Tom if you’re considering becoming a co-operative and want to speak to someone with practical hands-on experience in forming co-operatives in Australia.  Tom has developed a ‘rules generator’ tool, which can cut through the complexity of forming the rules (constitution) for your new Co-op. Tom also has expertise in community building and engagement, particularly in the areas of community investment and host site relations and sales.