Learn more about our confirmed speakers
We have put together a group of highly respected professionals to share their insights into the future of Community Energy.
Ivor Frischknecht is ARENA’s inaugural CEO. Before joining ARENA he was Investment Director at Starfish Ventures, a venture capital firm that manages $400 million primarily on behalf of Australian superannuation funds. Ivor’s responsibilities included the firm’s clean technology investment activities. Ivor was previously Director of New Ventures at Idealab, a company involved in developing and investing in renewable energy technology start-up companies.
His other previous roles include CEO of H2onsite (a company involved in commercialisation of clean energy generation technology) and a senior executive and advisor to a range of venture capital and energy companies. He started his career was a consultant with Bain & Co. Ivor holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Economics with Honours from the University of Sydney and a Master of Business Administration and Public Management Certificate from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
Geoff Brown is the director of Tangent Consulting and has over 20 years of group-work experience. His passion is helping communities and organisations progress complex challenges in order to co-create a better future.
Geoff’s optimism is fueled by a belief that change starts with a single conversation – ‘like a seed that produces connections and relationships’. He has an ability to facilitate diverse perspectives, in the service of sustainable collaboration, that lasts well beyond any single event.
As a designer and facilitator Geoff has worked with a range of clients within Australia and internationally. His work has spanned across sectors including sustainability, indigenous housing, natural resource management, public health, physical theatre and education. His collaborations are global with work in the USA, Canada, the UK, Netherlands and New Zealand.
Arno Zengerle is the Mayor of Wildpoldsried, one of Germany’s leading renewable energy villages. Mayor Zengerle is a member of the Christian Social Union (CSU) political party and over the past 10 years has played a critical role in transitioning Wildpoldsried to generate over 300% of its electricity from renewable energy sources.
Wildpoldsried’s electricity is generated from a mix of wind, solar PV, biogas and small hydro power plants, some of which are privately owned and some community owned. Additionally, the heat demand of all public buildings and approximately 40% of private buildings is provided by a biomass heating plant.
Wildpoldsried has received numerous awards in recognition of its renewable energy achievements including the German Solar Award, the title Climate Protection Community (assigned by DUH - German Environmental Relief) and the first place in the RES Champions League. Mayor Zengerle participates in a number of renewable energy associations, including Eurosolar and the Climate Alliance, drawing on their expertise to aid Wildpoldsried and sharing his success with other communities and organisations across Europe and beyond.
Simon Holmes à Court
Simon Holmes à Court is the founding chairman of Hepburn Wind, Australia‘s first community wind co-operative. Hepburn Wind’s two turbine wind farm commenced operation in June and is set to produce more energy annually than used by the homes in nearby Daylesford. The project has a strong focus on returning benefits to the community and has grown to almost 2000 members.
Simon is also the founder and chairman of Embark, the non-profit peak body representing and supporting communities that seek to play a significant role in their own carbon-neutral energy production. Embark empowers communities to engage constructively in and benefit from the climate challenge.
Simon has broad commercial experience, ranging from ‘dot com’ businesses in Silicon Valley to remote cattle stations in Australia’s remote Northern Territory. He is a founder of Melbourne company Observant, which designs and manufactures highly-scalable monitoring and automation solutions for remote infrastructure. He also is a Director of the Victorian Wind Alliance.
David Green OBE. FRSA. JP. FInstE
David Green is the Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council, having previously been the founding Chief Executive of the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy. He holds the Award for Outstanding Contribution to Sustainable Energy made by the UK Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group. In the UK, David co-founded and launched the national charity Neighbourhood (now National) Energy Action and is now a Vice President of National Energy Action.
He was a member of the UK Government’s high-level group on energy policy the UK Government’s delegation to the World Summit on Sustainable Development and follow up International Renewable Energy Conference, chaired the Mayor of London’s Energy Partnership and was also a member of the UK Local Government Association’s Climate Change Commission. David has also worked as advisor to the Victorian State Government as well as the US Department of Energy and various institutions of the European Union.
David is an Executive Director of the International Council for Sustainable Energy, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a Fellow of the Energy Institute.
David was awarded the MBE in 1986 and the OBE in 2003.
Paul Cruickshank is an environmental lawyer working with NSW Office of Environment and Heritage to encourage the development of large scale and community renewable energy projects. Paul has worked as CEO and Public Affairs manager for organisations as diverse as Greening Australia, Leightons and OTC, and recently (as Manager of Lismore Neighbourhood Centre) developed the nation’s first multi-million dollar regional no interest loans scheme.
NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
OEH works towards a secure, affordable and renewable energy future for NSW. The Renewable Energy Action Plan supports the achievement of the national target of 20% renewable energy by 2020, and addresses the current barriers to investment and community concerns.
The Plan launched a Regional Clean Energy Program to support community engagement in RE projects – large and small – across a variety of technologies, and to provide information to encourage best practice in the sector.
David Woodgrove, BA has worked in design and manufacturing for over 20 years in Melbourne and regional Victoria. David worked across a number of industries including electronics and heavy manufacturing, lecturing at universities, running his own design business and short placements in Singapore, England and Germany.
David has undertaken engineering and project management roles at Thales and Flowserve before joining SRA in 2009 as operations manager. David is committed to working with business and the community in delivering strategic ‘first step’ projects which he believes are critical in moving our economy away from fossil fuel use and tackling climate change.
Adam is Executive Director of Starfish Enterprises, Director of the Minerals Policy Institute, Chair of The Armidale Waldorf School Governance & Leadership Committee, Advisory Committee Member for the UNE Student Association (UNESA), Social Leadership Australia alumnus and a member of the Great Transition Initiative.
Adam’s past roles include Director of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Coalition; Director of Families Australia; National Executive Officer of NAPCAN; National Coordinator of the Climate Action Network (Australia); various Director and senior management roles with Greenpeace International and Greenpeace Australia Pacific; Financial Controller with Rural Press; and advisor with KPMG.
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. In 2010 and again in 2012 Jarra completed study tours of community renewable energy initiatives in North America and Europe and spent time as a volunteer renewable energy policy advisor in Delhi, India.
Jarra is also currently a PhD Candidate at the University of New South Wales. She is researching the potential for community energy projects to contribute positive social, economic and environmental outcomes for regional communities in Australia. Her research focuses on community engagement, social enterprise models and diverse economic arrangements that community energy projects use.
Jarra grew up between regional NSW, the Philippines and Thailand. Her other life passions involve riding bicycles, growing food gardens, making ceramics and dancing.
Nicky Ison is a Senior Research Consultant at the Institute for Sustainable Futures (ISF). She is an expert in the field of community energy, specialising in energy policy and governance, participatory training and energy options assessment. Currently, Nicky is leading the development of a National Community Energy Strategy in collaboration with eight other organisations.
During 2010, Nicky undertook a self-funded study tour of 30 community energy projects and organisations across Europe.
In addition to working at ISF, Nicky is a Founding Director of the Community Power Agency and has over a decade of experience in the community climate sector.
Mark Byrne is energy market advocate at the Total Environment Centre and convenor of the North Coast Energy Forum. He was formerly an environmental law educator at the NSW Environmental Defenders Office. Unlike most of Australia’s current governments, he suspects there may be some kind of link between energy sector emissions and the quickly unravelling global climate.
Taryn works for Australia’s first community-owned wind farm Hepburn Wind – delivering industry best standards in community engagement since 2010. Taryn also works for Embark – an NGO set up to kickstart the emerging Australian community energy sector since 2012. In these roles, she supports other communities around Australia who are on the journey to build their own projects. She has extensive local and international community development experience.
Taryn is also a Director of The Victorian Wind Alliance and an advisor for the Coalition for Community Energy (C4CE). She holds a BA in International development an MA in Integrative & Transformative Studies. She is a fellow of the Centre for Sustainability Leadership’s, Future Sustainability Leaders course and an Australian Youth Ambassador for Development.
Craig Memery is the energy market specialist and consumer advocate with the Alternative Technology Association. Established in 1980, the ATA is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to connect, inspire and assist people to make sustainable choices in their homes and communities through providing independent advice.
Craig is funded by the Consumer Advocacy Panel to advocate for more affordable and sustainable energy supply for all Australian energy consumers. He promotes reform of energy regulation, competition and consumer protections, engages with energy market institutions, businesses and communities, and sits on a number of national advisory groups and steering committees.
Craig also provides communities, governments, and the private sector with expert advice on the feasibility of sustainable energy projects, and supports community energy groups who are negotiating the rabbit warren of regulation and policy to deliver their own projects.
Craig’s enthusiasm for community energy grew out of 12 years in the energy sector as an advocate, advisor, project manager and educator, and hands-on experience delivering energy projects ranging from household stand-alone power supplies to large wind farms.