who are we?
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
Andrew Bray (Current Chair)
Andrew has a long list of experience in the renewables sector. In 2010 he became the Community Campaigner of the Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions association, and in 2011 he moved to 100% Renewables (later Solar Citizens) as the Communications Coordinator. In 2013 he became the Founding National Director of the Australian Wind Alliance which he later helped transition to Re-Alliance. Andrew has had extensive board experience, having acted as the secretary of Re-Alliance for 8 years, Treasurer of Southern Harvest Association from 2018 – 2020, and board member of 100% Renewables form 2013 – 2015.
In 2021 Andrew was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award by the Clean Energy Council.
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.
Ben started his career with an honours degree in computer engineering and worked in various positions as a software engineer for Cygnus Solutions, Wasabi Systems and IBM. He then completed a PhD in renewable energy policy at UNSW. 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.
Alex was the legal coordinator for the ACT’s first community-owned solar farm. She incorporated SolarShare, which was the corporate vehicle for establishing the solar farm.
Alex has a water science and legal background and is currently working at the Bureau of Meteorology. Previously Alex worked at the former Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment and prior to that in litigation in the ACT Supreme Court.
Alex currently lives in Sydney and is enjoying being a new Mum.
“I care deeply about the environment and social justice issues, such as addressing energy poverty within the Goulburn community.
I am also excited to be a part of a project to build the first community-owned solar farm with its own battery storage.”
More information on the rules of the Co-op and other information can be found on the Financials page
Get in Touch
Make an enquiry or ask us any questions you might have.
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