Smart Energy Council Board of Directors

The Smart Energy Council is a not-for-profit organisation and is governed by a volunteer board elected by its members.

Our current elected members are:

Steve Blume, President

Steve Blume ImagePresident, Smart Energy Council; Director, Global Solar Council; Treasurer, New Zealand & Pacific Solar & Storage Council; Director, Australian Institute of Energy; and CEO, NoCarbon Pty Ltd.

Steve is a former political adviser, private & public sector senior executive, and policy creator. Steve works pro bono on advocacy and policy for those not-for-profit peak bodies.

Steve is available for short-term engagements on smart energy, solar & energy storage and grid transformation pathways to fully distributed energy networks.

In his leadership roles with national and international peak bodies, Steve works to amplify the voice of the smart energy, energy storage and solar industries offering solutions for a 100% clean energy future for Australia and the world.

Geoff Bragg, Secretary

Geoff Bragg ImageGeoff has lived with off-grid solar since the early 90's and has been working in the industry since 2002, holding accreditation for both on and off-grid design and installation.

Geoff is a consultant designer/installation supervisor for New England Solar Power (NSW) .

He is currently managing several small commercial PV projects (40 to 100 kWp) and has been presented short courses in New Zealand on PV basics.

”Farming The Sun” is a community project he is involved in. Geoff is NSW Chairman of SEIA.

Samantha CraftSamantha Craft

Sam Craft is a Director at NRG Solar with experience in operations management developing and implementing key strategic initiatives to strengthen and encourage professional and valuable customer service.

Sam completed her Bachelor of Law and Legal Practice in 2014 before joining the Renewable Energy Industry. She works across every aspect of NRG Solar, providing the business with critical insight to the legislation and regulation of the solar industry.

Dedicated to her work, Sam strives to ensure that NRG Solar is operating by its core values in every business decision, demonstrating that NRG Solar is a responsible and sustainable leader in the industry. She is continuously facilitating training for team members, as well as focusing on areas of personal development as she recently completed a Diploma of Management and Leadership.

Sam is a passionate advocate for renewables, and has a particular interest in seeing the industry work together to create a better world through collaboration, hence a vocal support for Solar Cutters.

Sam can be relied upon to give balanced support within the solar industry including technical information, strategy planning, network requirements and customer service.

Simon Holmes à Court

Simon Holmes a CourtSimon Holmes à Court is one of Australia’s leading energy commentators and analysts. He is a senior adviser to the Climate and Energy College at the Energy Transition Hub at Melbourne University - a joint project between ANU, Melbourne, a number of academics around Australia and three major German universities. Simon was also the founding Director of Hepburn Wind and Embark.

Simon writes regularly for the Guardian and Renew Economy and has appeared on ABC’s The Drum and The Business — and is also fairly prolific on twitter.

Simon is passionate about Australia’s energy transition — the shift from coal-dominated to renewables-dominated generation — and passionate about breaking down barriers, especially misinformation.

"I have enjoyed watching the Smart Energy Council purposefully and confidently engage in the national conversation around energy and it is a privilege to serve as a director of this most important player in the transformation of Australian energy sector."

Philip Livingston

Philip LivingstonRedback Technologies Founder.

Phil is an experienced executive, entrepreneur and operations professional with 13 years of direct Renewable Energy experience, driving business development, and exceeding business targets for a diverse range of governmental, not for profit and for-profit organizations.

Adaptive strategic thinker specialising in the creation of entrepreneurial solutions to meet specific market requirements.

Phil has a demonstrated track record of growing start-ups into successful and profitable organizations. Adept at communicating complex technical information with non-technical audiences.

Cheryl Robertson

Cheryl RobertsonWith more than 25 years in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Industry, Cheryl has experience in several fields including Executive Leadership, Executive Management, Management Consulting, Business Development and Strategy.

Cheryl is currently the Western Australia (WA) State Director of Microsoft Australia.  She has previously held Senior Management and leadership positions with several National and Multinational ICT companies.  She has worked with Start-ups, Scale-ups and resellers and has owned and operated her own IT and Business Management Consulting business.  She has worked with an Australian Leadership and Development Organisation involved in Global Leadership programs in partnership with the Australian, Chinese and US Governments.

Cheryl is an experienced board director and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.  She currently has multiple board positions and has held several advisory positions with the Australian and WA Government, and within the IT Industry.

Barbara Elliston

Based in New Zealand, Barbara Elliston is a director of Elliston Power Consultants, Infratec Limited and Easy Warm. A qualified electrical engineer, Barbara’s background includes corporate governance, strategic development, transmission engineering, product development and start-ups in renewable energy, both solar thermal and solar photovoltaics. Previous roles in “big-energy” electricity networks include directorships with Genesis Energy and Transpower, and in power management with Comalco NZ.  Through these  associations, Barbara’s experience over 30 years in the electricity sector encompass generation, transmission and distribution, power purchase, and now solar in homes.  The entrepreneur is currently commercialising Hot PV™, a solar hot water product directly using solar PV to heat water, aiding stretched electrical networks and avoiding fuel supply to remote locations.

Vanessa (Fernandes) Sullivan

Vanessa has deep energy market experience in a range of roles across the energy supply chain and includes:

  • a demonstrated depth of Board and Executive experience across the water, energy and carbon sectors with broad market knowledge of both government and private sector market participants.

  • operating as a key Senior leader of water and energy reform teams.
  • personally led negotiations on complex infrastructure market transactions through to documentation and implementation, delivered on multi-faceted reform agendas,  developed and implemented business strategies in changing energy and water markets to deliver strong commercial returns. Focus in recent times included financing and contracting utility scale solar with large scale battery solutions.
  • Corporate governance, risk management and strategy development have been a key focus across all roles, including successfully championing cultural change and implementing WHS framework and reporting policies.
  • Previous senior positions include co-founding partner of a renewable/storage start up business which attracted funding and co-development support from Mitsubishi Tokyo and JERA, delivering renewable energy infrastructure and storage solutions in Australia and Asia. 
  • Vanessa’s history of involvement in the water and traditional and renewable energy sectors has led to deep market knowledge of both government and private sector market participants and included developing and delivering energy market solutions (policy, strategy and transactional) for a range of divergent stakeholder interests. 

Oliver Yates

Oliver YatesOliver Yates is the former Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and is currently Executive Director of UPC Renewables.

No-one in Australia knows more about renewable energy financing than Oliver Yates.

He has over 20 years of global experience in corporate advisory, financial structuring, project finance, debt structuring, equity raising and listings, with extensive experience in clean energy, including extensive experience at Macquarie Bank, where he was involved in establishing new businesses and growing operations internationally and leading the Bank’s initiatives in wind, solar, biofuels, carbon credits and other renewable businesses.


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