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.

Barbara Elliston, Treasurer

Barbara EllistonBased in New Zealand, Barbara Elliston is a director of Elliston Power Consultants, Counties Power Limited and Easy Warm.

A qualified electrical engineer, Barbara’s background includes corporate governance, strategic development, 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.

The entrepreneur is currently launching a Hot PVTM solar hot water product using solar PV to heat water.

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."


Gabrielle Kuiper

Gabrielle KuiperGabrielle Kuiper’s current role is Senior Policy Officer with the NSW Public Interest Advocacy Centre, Energy & Water Consumers’ Advocacy Program (EWCAP).

She was previously:

  • Senior Adviser, Climate Change, Energy and Environment in the Office of the Australian Prime Minister, the Hon Julia Gillard MP;
  • Head of Environmental Sustainability at the ANZ Bank; and as
  • the Climate Change Professional Fellow in the US Department of State.

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.

Antony Sachs

Antony SachsIt has been my privilege to serve on the Smart Energy Council Board of Directors for the past several years. I am also currently the President of the Queensland Branch of the Smart Energy Council, a position that I have held for the past three years. I have been closely involved with the efficient use of energy for much of my professional life. For the past decade, I have been a passionate advocate of renewable energy and for the need to control and reduce global carbon emissions.

My qualifications include being a Fellow of Australian Institute of Company Directors as well as Master of Business Administration and Bachelor of Chemical Engineering Degrees from the University of Queensland. Outside of my time spent on Smart Energy Council matters, I am employed in a business development role involving deployment of medium to larger scale solar power systems into the Commercial, Industrial, Utility and Government sectors.

Prior to my current role, I consulted to businesses that were engaged in commercialising new technologies, novel products and services.
From 2001 till 2004, I was the Managing Director of AGR Science and Technology Pty Ltd (now trading as AGR Industries). I have also held a range of management and executive roles within Industrial Galvanizers Corporation.

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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