Our Journey

GV Community Energy Pty Ltd began in 2008 as a volunteer organisation aiming to establish a bulk purchase agreement for 15 solar photovoltaic (PV) systems for families in the Murchison area. An enormous response from the community saw over 450 people attending a public meeting, resulting in the installation of 501 solar PV systems.

This community PV bulk-buy project was followed by a further three projects culminating in 1,700 solar PV installations, 150 solar hot water systems and 31 public seminars/workshops. 

In September 2010, the organisation evolved into a not for profit company, managed by a volunteer board, and permanent staff who were responsible for the installation of a further 1,000 solar PV systems and 55 seminars.

 

Over the past five years, GV Community Energy have:

  • Conducted 86 community workshops, attended by more than 5,700 people.

These workshops provided independent, accurate information on practical measures to save energy and reduce costs, understand tariffs and electricity / gas accounts, consumer rights and how to manage their relationships with utility providers.

  • Delivered free, detailed, home energy assessments to more than 200 households, many of them low income and disadvantaged.

Assessments included an investigation of energy related issues, such as tariffs, billing, recommendations and, if required, assistance to resolve issues with utility providers.

Board Members

Our Board Members are passionate about the role community energy can play in the Goulburn Valley. Through this experience in both business and community, GV Community Energy have become a leader in renewable energy in the region.

Geoff Lodge (CEO and Executive Director)

Geoff has over 20 years experience in the Victorian public service, based in the Shepparton area, managing natural resource management projects on irrigation properties. Geoff’s combined program management skills and connection within the local community has enabled him to have considerable influence on key stakeholders aligned with GV Community Energy programs.  From 1996-1999, Geoff managed his own private consultancy, where he under took a four year collaborative research project with Central Queensland University on Chinese Water Chestnuts, and also investigated the commercialisation of European Carp. Geoff owns and manages a 2Ha native seed production area. From 1999-2005, Geoff was the Shepparton Irrigation Region - Community Surface Drainage Program Coordinator, and then accepted a position with the Department of Sustainability and Environment as Goulburn Broken Biodiversity Team Leader for five years. Geoff has been the CEO for GV Community Energy since inception in September 2010.

 

Qualifications

Bachelor of Horticulture

Terry Court (GVCommunity Energy Board Member)

Terry is a civil engineer with over 40 years experience in the rural water industry, possessing a wealth of professional experience and extensive community involvement in natural resource management, environmental asset restoration, irrigation, drainage, water catchment, river management, industrial relations, human resources, asset management and contract administration. Terry is a former Director of the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (GBCMA), Winton Wetlands Committee of Management and the Lower Goulburn Waterway Management Authority and GBCMA’s Waterways Working Group. Terry is Deputy President of the Goulburn Valley Environment Group and is heavily involved with local community organisations, including hospital and retirement village committees, Tatura Community Plan Committee and Transition Tatura.

 

Qualifications

Diploma of Civil Engineering (Ballart)

Engineer of water supply

Ian Christoe (GV Community Energy Board Member)

Ian has worked almost entirely on his family mixed farming business at Undera, Victoria. He took over management in 1986 and implemented changes resulting in better irrigation management and crop productivity. Ian’s interest in sustainable production systems led him to move to full crop residue retention and minimal tillage in order to minimise fuel use and improve soil organic matter and fertility. Ian is very active in raising awareness of environmental (and social justice) issues, particularly in relation to climate change and resource depletion. He stood as the Greens candidate for Murray in the 2007, 2010 and 2016 Federal elections, and as the Greens candidate in the 2008 Greater Shepparton Council election. In 2008, Ian joined the Murchison Goes Solar working group acting as spokesperson and a panellist on supplier interviews. He continued in this role during the subsequent Solar Valley Goes Solar projects in 2009 and 2010. Ian has been and continues to be a supportive Board member since the conception of GV Community Energy.

 

Qualifications

Diploma of Applied Science (Agriculture)

Doug Small (GV Community Energy Board Member)

Doug’s professional career includes nearly 40 years of research with the Department of Primary Industries, covering irrigated pastures, salinity, soil degradation, effluent reuse, nutrients in drainage, irrigated cropping and organic dairy production. After leaving DPI in 1999, Doug set up an environmental and agricultural consultancy business to consult on soils, irrigation, waste water and environment management systems.

Doug is actively involved in Landcare. He helped form, then lead the Kyabram Urban Landcare group for ten years.  He is currently secretary of the Goulburn Murray Landcare Network and assistant secretary of the Wyuna Landcare Group.

In 2008, Doug helped form the Sustainable Kyabram (SKY) which facilitated the installation of over 100 PV systems in Kyabram through a community bulk-buy.  The Lockington community engaged Doug to facilitate PV adaptation in 2009. Doug joined the Solar Valley Goes Solar steering Committee in 2009 and was accepted onto the GVCE Board in 2010.

 

Qualifications

Bachelor of Agricultural Science, Melbourne University,

Master of Environmental Science, Monash University,

Certificate 111 Conservation and Land management (RTD30102)

John Pettigrew (GV Community Energy Board Member)

John lives at Bunbartha and has had a lifelong connection to the Goulburn Valley. John has a strong horticulture, grazing and irrigation background and is an experienced past director of publicly listed (SPC Limited) and Government Authorities (Goulburn-Murray Water and the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority). He is currently a Board member of the Circa Group Ltd., GV Community Energy and several private investment companies. He has a background of natural resource management as a member of various Government committees, working with irrigation and salinity programs and more recently as a presenter with the Climate Reality Project. John’s other involvements and interests include The Environmental Farmers' Network, GV Environment Group, Landcare and sports administration.

 

Qualifications

No formal Qualifications.

Has done several Directorship courses and has experience of Directorships with Private and publicly listed companies and government authorities.

Austin Hazeldene (GV Community Energy Board Member)

Austin has 15 years experience working on large scale engineering and construction projects across Victoria within commercial building, water and roads industries. He is based in Benalla and has strong community ties within the surrounding North East Region.  Professional expertise includes the areas of project development, engineering design, construction supervision and risk management. He is a strong advocate for continual improvement and social accountability. Personal interests include sustainable building design, renewable energy, farm forestry and other ethical investments. Austin first began working alongside GVCE in 2010 as a Energy Auditor and was later invited to join the Board in 2018.

 

Qualifications

Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical)

Diploma of Project Management 

Austin Hazeldene