The greatest source of power in the energy transformation is people
Dr. Jarra Hicks
Co-Founder & Executive Director
With 10 years experience in community energy in both Australia and overseas, Jarra’s expertise spans community engagement, business models, facilitation, policy development and partnership building. She has worked as a project manager on the ground, as well as with governments, peak bodies, NGOs and the corporate sector. Jarra recently completed a PhD in Law/ Built Environment from the University of New South Wales. Her thesis analyses the outcomes and impacts from community owned wind energy projects in small regional communities.
From 2014 to 2016 Jarra acted as an advisor to the ACT government in the design and delivery of the Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing component of their Renewable Energy Auctions. In 2017 Jarra co-authored the Victorian Government’s Community Engagement and Benefit Sharing in Renewable Energy Development: A Guide for Applicants to the Victorian Renewable Energy Target Auction and worked with the Clean Energy Council to produce a comprehensive report of current and best-practice community engagement and benefit sharing in the wind industry, titled Enhancing Positive Social Outcomes from Wind Development.
Elizabeth has long had a keen interest in community engagement and environmental education. She has well over a decade of experience managing sustainability projects that focus on community involvement, consultation and education, and which produce environmental as well as social benefit. Since 2002, she has worked across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in Australia, the UK and Asia as a project manager, sustainability advisor and environmental educator. She has extensive experience in household energy efficiency and renewable energy, and has particular interest in community-owned solar. Elizabeth also holds a Master of Environmental Science and a Certificate in Environmental Education focusing on enquiry-based learning and behaviour change.
Executive Director & Haystacks Project Manager
Kim is a professional environmental problem solver with a keen interest in innovative energy systems that transition our community to a cleaner and fairer future. With over a decade of experience in project management and community engagement in the Local Government sustainability and climate change sector she is passionate about tangible actions on the ground. Trained as an Environmental Engineer, Kim has worked across the private and public sector in carbon accounting and solar analysis as well as being a long standing member of the Sustain Northern Rivers Energy Working Group and the North Coast Energy Forum. Kim is based in the Northern Rivers of NSW.
Kristy is a skilled facilitator, educator and environmental campaigner. Since 2006 she has worked and volunteered on campaigns including renewable energy, climate change and protecting prime agricultural farmland in Queensland, at Friends of the Earth Brisbane and most recently at Solar Citizens. While in Brisbane she led the education program at a permaculture farm, designed and facilitated activist education programs for students and was involved in the food sovereignty movement.
Kristy is passionate about ensuring the transition to renewables is as fair and fast as possible, through appropriate community engagement, working with governments and RE developers. She holds a degree in Environmental Management (Sustainable Development focus) and has experience working in social enterprises, local government, cooperatives and the private sector. Kristy is also the chairperson of the Haystacks Solar Garden Cooperative.
Heidi is motivated by the challenge of co-designing sustainable solutions to existing problems in regional Australia through collaboration with the full range of stakeholders in the space. Communications, engagement and education are the three key tools she has developed in her 20-year career spanning projects in the community, non-profit, government and corporate sectors.
Heidi is based on the NSW Northern Tablelands within the New England Renewable Energy Zone. She believes the renewable energy transition offers an opportunity to strengthen local economic and social resilience while powering Australia with clean energy – if it is done well. A deep respect for the land, biodiversity and cultural heritage underpins her approach, and a commitment to lifelong learning.
She stays grounded by growing food, tending her animals, and spending time in wild places, and is thankful for the opportunity to do all these things.
For the past five years Elianor has worked in academia and consulting, lecturing and conducting research in the community and social services sector. She holds a Bachelor of International Development and Graduate Certificate in Community Development. Elianor is also in the final stages of a PhD looking into ‘just’ transitions – the shifting from fossil fuel industry to new sustainable technologies in fair and just ways – as it plays out in Australian regional coal-power producing communities.
Prior to venturing into academia, Elianor worked in communications, education and as a development practitioner for a variety of NGOs in Australia, Spain and Indonesia. Elianor is passionate about delivering positive social and ecological change and building an equitable and regenerative future for all.
Eleanor is an environmental communications specialist. She is passionate about empowering people to make informed decisions about their environment. After studying media and communications, followed by user experience and web design, Eleanor decided to apply her skills in the environmental sector. Her communications strategies focus on translating research into engaging, user-friendly resources.
Since 2017, Eleanor has worked with environmental researchers and non-profit organisations. Most recently, she worked in the energy team at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute. As well as promoting the team’s research findings, she hosted and facilitated fortnightly knowledge-exchange workshops to encourage collaboration and help build foundational understandings between disciplines.
Eleanor is based in Canberra and is currently studying a Master of Climate Change at ANU.
Ella Rose Goninan
Ella is a social change agent, activist, artist, event manager and community leader based in Northern Rivers NSW. She works as director and team member for a range of organisations, spanning the fields of environmental action, renewable energy, mental health crisis, community arts and indigenous cultural connection.
Over the last five years she has founded and continues to direct several community organisations, namely: COREM, a community-owned renewable energy group; Renew Fest, an annual festival of ecological, economic and social renewal; and First Light, a peer support network for mental health crisis and awakening. Ella is the experience curator for Newkind Festival and team member of Culture Aware, and has previously worked for Bruns Eco Village, Bentley Protectors Camp, Kulcha Jam and Bob Brown Foundation.
Dr. Franziska Mey
Franziska has a professional background in project management, renewable energy policy and sustainable development. For 6 years she worked at WWF Germany and gained extensive work experience coordinating European and international projects on sustainable regional development. In one of those projects Franziska has developed and managed a network of 14 local governments and national organisations across Europe to enhance regional policies for sustainability.
Since 2013, Franziska has been a Director at the Community Power Agency. In this role she delivers research projects, leads community energy business model development and contributes to national campaigns for community energy in Australia. Franziska is also works part-time at the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University of Technology in Sydney as Senior Researcher. She works on research projects to further a just transition in Australia with a special focus on social access of low-income households.
Tom has a vision of a future where people share the benefits and the burdens of the world more fairly. He left his corporate career in 2012 to pursue this vision in the community energy sector. Tom has an extensive work history and a strong track record of success in various roles and, prior to his career change, Tom held positions as diverse as business development manager, project manager and operations manager and has university qualifications in project management and a background in engineering.
As one of the founding members of Sydney group, Pingala, Tom has helped oversee the continued commitment of a core group of volunteers working to bring community energy projects to the wider Sydney community. Tom has a strong knowledge of the different business models being adopted or considered by community energy groups in Australia and has helped groups navigate their way through the complex technical and regulatory environment. Tom fundamentally believes in sharing and collaboration and has become an enthusiastic participant in the Coalition for Community Energy – the sector-wide collaboration for the community energy sector in Australia.