Organising Committee

The forums are organised by a steering group of energy and sustainability professionals from a range of backgrounds including state and local government, the community sector and consultants. The organising committee welcomes several new members this year representing the Mid North Coast. Committee members from the Northern Rivers who are not actively involved this year include Kim Mallee and Debbie Firestone.

Current members are:

Kirsty Fikkers

Kirsty Fikkers

Corporate & Sustainability Planning Specialist – Coffs Harbour City Council

With a background in Environmental Science and Tourism Management, Kirsty has worked for Coffs Harbour City Council for the past 5 years managing a variety of community and corporate sustainability projects. Previously coordinating projects such as the annual Coffs Harbour Sustainable Living Festival, and establishing Coffs’ first Sustainable Schools Network for local teachers and parents; Kirsty is currently overseeing the implementation of Coffs Harbour City Council’s Renewable Energy and Emissions Reduction Plan. With a passion for community engagement and environmental education, Kirsty is excited to be a part of the organising committee for the 2016 NCEF, bringing renewable energy to the forefront in Coffs Harbour and the wider North Coast region.

Simon Proust

Simon Proust

Sustainability Manger, North Coast TAFE NSW

Simon Proust is Sustainability Manager with North Coast TAFE. With 16 campuses from Kingscliff to Tuncurry engaging 30000 students and employing 2400 part-time and full time staff NCTAFE has a significant ecological footprint to manage. We manage this through sustainability awareness programs, projects, monitoring and integrating sustainability in decision making in our in planning for redesign and renovation of our assets and new capital works. NCTAFE has 440 kW of solar arrays in total, across our campuses generating 10% of our own power which is supplemented by 6% of green power purchased which ensures we are on target to source 20% of our electricity from renewables by 2020. Together with our 20kW/20kWh lithium energy storage system we are trialling at Kingscliff which together with our 40kw solar farm will draw and store power from the solar arrays and use in peak demand periods. NCTAFE is committed to being a good corporate citizen which engages students, staff and the community to efficiently manage our finite resources to ensure we reduce our ecological footprint.

Kersten Schmidt

Kersten Schmidt

Principal Engineer and Director of renewable energy consulting company ENESOL, Bellingen.

With 22 years experience in the Australian renewable energy industry in engineering and project management, Kersten has worked on many landmark wind, solar, battery and diesel power system projects, from utility to commercial scale, remote area off grid/micro grid and grid connected, from Arnhem Land to Alaska to Alice Springs to Antarctica.

Enesol is currently managing the rollout of more than 1,000 solar systems and other energy efficiency measures for one of NSW’s community housing providers and is helping developers, architects and councils with the design, procurement and implementation of various solar and battery power system.

Kersten is also a committee member of the Bellingen Shire Electricity Alliance.

Catie Dale

Catie Dale

Treasurer, Repower Coffs Community Association Inc

Catie grew up in Coffs Harbour and after many years away moved back to the area in 2012 with her young family.

A passionate proponent of a 100% renewable future, Catie is very excited to have the 2016 North Coast Energy Forum taking place so close to home!

Catie is a founding member of Coffs Coast Climate Action Group and treasurer of community energy group Repower Coffs Community Association Inc.

Following fifteen years working in policy and sustainability roles in local government and NGOs, she is currently owner/manager of Coffs based business Equity Engineering Supply Co.

Mark Byrne

Mark Byrne

Energy Market Advocate, Total Environment Centre (convenor)

Mark Byrne is Energy Market Advocate at the Total Environment Centre and has been Convenor of the North Coast Energy Forum since its inception in 2010. He has been on the steering committee of the newly formed Coalition for Community Energy. He was formerly an environmental law educator at the NSW Environmental Defenders Office Northern Rivers office. TEC is currently working on two rule changes to encourage the integration of decentralised energy into the grid and is auspcing the project to establish a community energy retailer on the North Coast. He is based in Sydney but is a part time resident of Byron Shire.

Adam Blakester

Adam Blakester

Sustainability Entrepreneur & Social Change Strategist

Adam is Executive Director of Starfish Initiatives and active in the community and renewable energy sectors ~ with major projects including Lismore Community Solarfarms, New England Wind, Zero Net Energy Town and the Coalition for Community Energy.

Adam is also a Director of Lock the Gate Alliance and the Minerals Policy Institute.

Susanna carpi

Susanna carpi

Event Coordinator - 2016 Forum

Susanna is a passionate supporter of Community Renewable Energy - recently undertaking the role of Lismore Community Coordinator for the very successful Lismore Solarfarm projects. She is also the founder and mindset coach at Ready Mindset Go - empowering positivity, productivity and purposefuless in community-connected organisations through the Workplace Coaching programs.

Jess Gilmore

Jess Gilmore

Administrative Support - North Coast Energy Forum
Kim Mallee

Kim Mallee

Sustainability Officer, Byron Shire Council

Kim is locally born and bred and has spent the past eight years working in the climate change and sustainability field. This has been predominately for Ballina, Lismore and Byron Shire Councils. With a background in Environmental Engineering Kim has managed a diverse range of projects including the installation of solar on the Council buildings, lighting retrofits and many community engagement initiatives. Kim represents Byron Shire Council on the Sustain Northern Rivers Energy Working Group and contributes to many regional renewable energy projects through this innovative collaboration.

Debbie Firestone

Debbie Firestone

Sustainability Facilitator - Tweed Shire Council

Debbie Firestone is Program Leader - Sustainability at Tweed Shire Council. In this role, Debbie facilitates Council‘s annual Renewable Energy Think Tank of community and industry experts seeking to advance renewable energy generation in the Tweed. Debbie also coordinates Council initiatives to improve energy efficiency and investigate cost-effective renewable energy outcomes, and is Council’s representative on the Sustain Northern Rivers Energy Working Group