The Co-op was formed as a result of a decision made by a local community association, Community Energy for Goulburn Inc (CE4G). CE4G has been the driving force to build the community owned solar farm in Goulburn since late 2014. The Cooperative grew out of research conducted by CE4G to find a suitable financial and governance entity that would best suit the ownership and operation of the solar farm.
The committee looked at different investment structures and decided that a co-operative (“the Co-op”) was the most democratic form of ownership because each vote does not depend on the number of shares held. Whether an investor holds 400 or 4000 shares, he or she still only has one vote. No-one can use their voting power to support a vested interest.
So the Co-op was established mid-2020 through registration via the NSW Department of Fair Trading after extensive advice from legal, accounting and governance advisers.
What’s the relationship between CE4G and the Co-op?
CE4G will continue as an incorporated association and will be developing further renewable projects. The Co-op has been formed specifically to own and run the Goulburn solar farm.
CE4G is administered by a committee elected by members of CE4G, and the Co-op is run by a board elected by members of the Co-op. Membership of CE4G is open to anyone via the CE4G website.
The Co-op is run by a voluntary board elected by the Co operative members at the Annual General Meeting. Every Co operative member has one vote irrespective how many shares they own. The current Board was elected at the first General Meeting held by the Co operative on 12 April 2021
Peter Fraser (Founding Board Member)
Peter Fraser was one of the original founders of Community Energy for Goulburn in 2014 when it was a sub committee of The Goulburn Group. He was the first President of CE4G for 3 years until 2017 and was elected again as President in 2020. Peter has been Director of a number of SMEs for the last 40 years, starting life as a High School teacher in Economics. He has Arts and Divinity degrees from Sydney University. Moving from Sydney 12 years ago he has been an active member of the community since his move to Goulburn.
Gretchen Alt-Cooper (Founding Board Member)
Gretchen is a qualified accountant with more than 40 years’ tax and accounting experience. She worked for large public-offer and industry superannuation funds for many years and also had a financial planning practice. She now operates an accounting practice which specialises in self-managed superannuation funds. Her knowledge spans several investment areas including legal structure and business elements. She is Treasurer of Goulburn Community Energy Co-Operative Limited.
Ed Suttle (Founding Board Member)
Until 2017 Ed had run his own Executive Search business specialising in sourcing high level personnel for Australia’s leading consumer goods companies. But 10 years prior, he and wife Jane purchased a 230 acres property outside Goulburn on which they now breed Angus cattle as well as utilising many regenerative farming practices….they are true “Green-changers” who have become involved in many Goulburn community activities. Ed is a founding Board member of GCEC, and as Vice President of CE4G Ed is a member of the dedicated volunteer committee that has taken the concept of a Goulburn community-owned solar farm from a kitchen table thought bubble to today: tender documents from EPC head contractors are being assessed to build Australia’s largest community-owned dispatchable solar farm. In his non-CE4G time Ed is an accomplished baritone singing with many of Australia’s leading choral ensembles and is Chair of the Goulburn-based Hume Conservatorium of Music.
Rowena Cantley-Smith (Current Chair)
Rowena was admitted to practice: Supreme Court of Victoria
and High Court of Australia (1995) and the Victorian Bar (1998). Rowena teaches
across a wide range of subjects including, Australian and international energy
law, contract law, climate change law and private and public international law.
Rowena’s research is multidisciplinary and focuses on the interface between law
and the energy sector, primarily in the context of consumer and environmental
interests. An important aspect of this is the development of international and
national environmental and human rights law. Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law,
UTS, 2019 – current Energy Law, Regulation and Policy, Climate Change Law,
Consumer Law, Contract Law, Public International law, International Energy Law,
Regulation and Policy, Environmental Law, Monash University 2003-2019 Appointed
to the Monash Law Faculty in 2003. Academic and professional qualifications
include: BEc (1989), LLB (1993) and Grad Cert Legal Teaching (2005) (Monash
University); LLM in Public International Law (Leiden University); Doctorate of
Laws (Leuven University);
Kerry is an Associate Director, Research – Energy Consumers Australia, Power Shift program she has
been with ECA since its inception, building on her extensive experience on
energy consumer issues, previously as Executive Director of the Consumer
Advocacy Panel, and the inaugural Executive Officer of the Consumer Utilities
Advocacy Centre. Kerry has also worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade, including a posting to the Australian Embassy in Seoul, and has managed
her own consultancy business, strengthening relations between the private and
community sectors. Kerry also sits on the Executive Committee of the Consumers
Federation of Australia.
Ben started his career with an honours degree in computer engineering from UNSW and worked in
various positions as a software engineer for Cygnus, Wasabi and IBM. He then
returned to UNSW to complete a PhD in renewable energy policy. He has since
worked as an energy systems researcher at UNSW, a Senior Consultant for IT
Power and Passivenous Consulting. He was a Board member of the International
Solar Energy Society for two years until 2018. Ben is a strong supporter of
renewable energy and particularly interested in solar energy and electric
vehicles. As a Clean Energy Council accredited designer for grid connected and off
grid systems, Ben has a detailed technical knowledge of solar PV systems,
technology and standards.
Virginia has extensive experience in finance, particularly
commodities and trade finance, credit insurance and the financial markets. Most
of her career was with Société Générale Australia, Atradius Australia, Export
Finance and Insurance Corporation (EFIC), State Super, and CIBC Australia.
Qualifications include Bachelor of Science, Macquarie University and Graduate
Diploma in applied Finance and Investment, Securities Institute of Australia.
Virginia lives locally, is an investor in the Goulburn Community Energy
Cooperative, is an avid supporter of renewables energy, and passionate about
Roger was born in Wellington, NSW and grew up in Sydney, graduating with a B. Com from UNSW, then joining the NSW Public Service in 1965. After several positions in different NSW Government departments, Roger moved to Goulburn 1974 as the CAO at the Teachers College and later involved in transferring the NSW Police Academy to Goulburn. Roger has ten years experience as a Councillor on the Goulburn City Council and has served on numerous boards including the Goulburn Hospital, Regional Development Aust. (Southern Inland), and the Capital Region Council for Reconciliation. Roger built and operated a successful business in Goulburn for over 25 years. He is particularly interested in international and domestic financial, economic, and political systems. He brings skills of governance, accounting, administration and budget management to the project.
More information on the rules of the Co-op and other information can be found on the Financials page
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Supported by a grant from the NSW Government
A member of the Cooperative Federation
An initiative of The Goulburn Group (TGG)
A stand alone project of Community Energy for Goulburn