Our team

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 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 Noble

Executive Director

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.

Kim Mallee

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.

Heidi McElnea

Regional Coordinator

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.

Eleanor Buckley

Communications Coordinator

Eleanor is a communications specialist committed to providing people with the information they need to make informed decisions about their environment. With a diverse background in media and communications, web design, research and project management, Eleanor has dedicated the past six years to working in the environmental and non-profit sectors.

At Community Power Agency, Eleanor manages communications channels and contributes to various projects, including co-authoring the Community Energy Collective Impact Report.

Prior to joining Community Power Agency, Eleanor worked with the energy team at the University of Oxford’s Environmental Change Institute, where she managed two research programs and led their communications and engagement efforts.

Eleanor is based in Canberra and is currently studying a Master of Climate Change at ANU.

Claudia Hodge

Project Manager – Community Development 

Claudia is passionate about creating systems-change toward a more sustainable and equitable future for communities. With a background in law and community development, Claudia’s experience spans across state and federal government, environmental and human rights advocacy groups, and the not-for-profit sector. Since 2022, Claudia has worked as a community development professional in the Greater Sydney and Southern NSW regions. 

With a belief in deep collaboration as a key element in addressing the climate crisis, Claudia recognises the vital role of community voices in enabling the transition to renewable energy. She is a strong proponent of place-based, co-designed solutions to issues that directly affect local communities, and appreciates the complexity of environmental, social, and economic factors affecting Australia’s energy transition. 

Claudia holds dual bachelor degrees in Law (with First Class Honours) and Arts (with a Major in Development Studies and Minor in Economics) from the Australian National University.

Laura Egan

Organisational Development

Laura has more than 15 years experience supporting people and groups to develop their ideas into impactful businesses that achieve substantial community benefit. She uses design thinking to understand issues, test assumptions, redefine problems, and create innovative solutions to prototype and test. Laura’s strengths are in project management, business and organisational design, and mobilising resources to achieve results. 

During a Churchill Fellowship undertaken in 2022, Laura studied innovative models for unlocking capital to innovatively resource high impact community driven business models. Laura is passionate about ownership models that prioritise community wealth building and joined Community Power Agency in May 2024 to bring support to regional communities seeking to unlock the benefits of the transition to renewable energy. 

Laura holds a Bachelor of Commerce (Economics)/Bachelor of Arts (International Relations) from Deakin University and a Graduate Certificate of Indigenous Research from James Cook University.

Our board

Ella Rose Goninan

Ella Rose Goninan

Non-executive Director

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

Dr. Franziska Mey

Non-executive Director

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 Nockolds

Non-executive Director

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.

Kristy Walters

Non-executive Director

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.