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.
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.
Kevin Simpson (GV Community Energy Chairperson)
Kevin is a Mechanical Design Draftsman and Project Manager. After moving to Echuca in 1989, he has worked with many factories throughout the Goulburn and Murray Valley regions. In 2000 Kevin started Simpson’s Engineering, where much of the work was in the food industry. Kevin spent seven years as a Councillor for the Shire of Campaspe, the last of which he was elected as Mayor. Kevin is committed to helping the community and has served on many local committees. Over this time he has become increasingly interested in the environment, in particular the energy sector. He joined the GV Community Energy Board in December 2013 and was elected Chairperson in December 2014. Kevin brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the GV Community Energy Board. During the Low Income Energy Efficiency Project Kevin trained as a Home Energy Assessor and carried out over 55 assessments.
AICD Company Directors Course
Graduate Goulburn Valley (Fairley) Leadership Program
Associate Diploma - Mechanical Engineering RMIT (equivalent to current Diploma)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
No formal Qualifications.
Has done several Directorship courses and has experience of Directorships with Private and publicly listed companies and government authorities.
Babsita van Tubbergh (GV Community Energy Board Member)
Babsita is presently employed as a Project Manager with Goulburn Murray Water. She has a Bachelor in Engineering, an MBA and qualifications in Project Management. Babsita has worked in Local Government, construction and consulting around Australia and overseas where she has developed a sound understanding of the project management process. She is a member of the Echuca-Moama Sustainability Water Group and is interested in development of the region both economically and socially.
B. Civil Engineering (University Stellenbosch, South Africa)
MAB (University Cape Town, South Africa)
Diploma in Project Management (University Swinburne)