Renewable Cobargo, and the Cobargo microgrid projects are an initiative of CaDET (Cobargo and District Energy Transition). CaDET is a coalition of residents, business owners, farmers and other interested parties working to improve the energy system in the region and accelerate the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy.
Formed in the aftermath of the 2019/2020 bushfires we have been working with the community to develop plans, secure funding and deliver on improving the energy resiliency around Cobargo. Read more about our vision and goals here.
If you’d like to get involved, please get in touch! You can find out how on the Contact us page.
Zena Armstrong is an active community volunteer, writer and musician who lives just outside Cobargo. She is currently Director of the Cobargo Folk Festival and President of the Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund Inc. A lifelong volunteer, she is a strong advocate of regional community action on resilience and climate change.
A former journalist and Australian diplomat, Zena is committed to working to ensure Cobargo and the surrounding district benefit from the global shift to renewable energy.
Frank Muller is a company director with a long career in governance, strategy and public policy, specialising in climate change, energy and transport. He has served as a Commissioner of the National Transport Commission, independent director of the consumer organisation Choice, head of climate change policy in the NSW Premier’s Department and director of policy research at a US EPA-funded university think tank in Washington.
Frank has a Master of Public Administration from Harvard, a Bachelor of Science from ANU and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. He currently divides his time between Sydney and Bermagui/Cobargo.
A Cobargo community member for the last 18 years, Debra Summer’s focus and energy has been in building community capacity and connection. A trained Art of Hosting Practitioner, she has been hosting Cobargo Community Catch-up Gatherings since the fires, bringing community together to find a way forward with a community led focus. Debra has deep ties across the community with her work as a local Civil Celebrant, leading life transitions from birth to death.
She has a strong volunteer ethic, is the MP Liaison Officer for the Bega Valley Shire and Far South Coast for Cancer Council NSW, is Trustee of the Crossing Land Education Trust, and has been on various local committees and boards such as the Cobargo School of Arts Hall, and the Cobargo Folk Festival. Debra is also vice-President of the Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund and Community Director of Cobargo Community Development Corporation. She has a Master of Applied Science – Social Ecology. Her past career was managing a team of consultants in online education.
Matt Godfrey is an electrical enginer with a background in semiconductor device design and electrical device testing. He is currently interested in clean energy technologies and deployment to help the electricity grid to transition to a cheaper, renewable future.
Currently living in Bermagui after moving to the region after working in the US in San Francisco for the previous 5 years, to help family in Cobargo rebuild after the 2020 bushfires.
Alex Boulgakov is an electrical engineer with over 10 years’ experience in electronics and system design, focusing on energy storage and power conversion technologies. She spent five years working in the San Francisco Bay Area on industry-leading battery energy storage products, before returning to Australia in early 2020 to be closer to her family in Cobargo. She’s passionate about contributing her technical experience to help the Cobargo community transition to resilient and clean energy generation.
Bill Southwood has held senior public appointments including
Director of Telecommunications for the Government of Papua
New Guinea. He founded Arup Communications, the ICT
consultancy of the global Arup Group, which brings together
business and technology skills. He consults to the Australian,
New Zealand and several State governments reviewing high
value high risk projects in a variety of business sectors.
Bill managed design and construction of the Sound Shell and
Pavilion at the Four Winds Festival site in Bermagui, both
completed on time, within budget and to an internationally
acclaimed standard. He is convener of Clean Energy for
Eternity’s Bermagui Chapter, which has seen the installation of
photovoltaic and battery installations on more than 1,600 homes and businesses in the Bega Valley.
Bill has degrees in Engineering from the University of Western
Australia and Economics from London University.
Clara Wilson is a community engagement specialist with a background in renewable energy development and environmental law. Based in Canberra and passionate about helping communities to benefit through the transition to clean energy.
After a career spanning over forty years as a personal assistant to CEOs and senior public servants, Jan Rivers, moved to Cobargo in 2012. Jan has travelled extensively, worked overseas for many years, and now enjoys life with husband on the Far South Coast. Jan involved as a volunteer in a number of local organisations. Jan would like to see Cobargo, her adopted home town, stand on its own two feet and be prepared for whatever may come in the future.
Alan retired in 2021 after a long career in funds management. He has extensive experience as an equity fund manager and asset allocator across industries and countries. Alan has been an active volunteer with community groups for many years. He is also currently involved with the Triangle Tool Library. Alan lives with Joanna on their small farm in Cobargo.
Don moved to Cobargo in 2000 with wife, Maryann and established Black Dog Furniture Co on Bermagui Rd. They raised 2 children who were schooled at Cobargo and Bega. During the last 2 decades Don has been active on the Cobargo Tourist and Business Association, Cobargo P&C committees as well as the School of Arts Hall committee. He has a wide range of interests including song writing, painting, furniture and landscape design and gardening. Don is currently employed as a classroom teacher in the Support Unit at Bega High. Since the Black Summer Fires, Don has been a committee member of the Cobargo Bush Fire Recovery Fund. He is keenly interested in the links between fire mitigation, sustainability and energy resilience.
Tikka Wilson has worked in a range of print and online publishing roles for the past 40 years, including at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, the National Inquiry into the Stolen Generations, and the Australian National University (ANU), National Archives and National Museum in Canberra. The thread holding these roles together is a passion for ensuring that publicly funded research and information benefits the public and is accessible to everyone.
Now retired, she is a member of an editorial board (Aboriginal History) and several research ethics committees (ANU and CSIRO). Tikka has a BA and MEd from Harvard and a PhD in cultural studies from the ANU. She returned to the Cobargo area in 2020 to be closer to family and friends, and is passionate about supporting energy resilience and transition.
Community Energy Coordinators
David Neyle comes to Renewable Cobargo to be a Community Energy Coordinator with a diverse background. Originally trained as an electronics engineer, he transitioned into technical training and, in recent years, wrote training materials for the electricity generation and distribution industry. He is also an experienced human resources professional – skills which lend themselves to community consultation and engagement.
Some people might also recognise David from his work as the Coordinator of Bega Valley Repair Café, a not-for-profit volunteer-led venture which he started four years ago. Whilst not a Cobargo local, David has empathy for the situation that many faced in 2019/20. David lives in Tathra and personally experienced the 2018 bushfire at close quarters when defending his own home and a number of other properties in his neighbourhood.
David welcomes members of the community to contact him and discuss their needs and thoughts around the issue of energy saving and emerging electrical technology.
Fiona Drum comes to CaDET from a background as Research Librarian with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, managing and meeting the information needs of departmental officers across northwest NSW. A Master of Business Administration developed her skills in project planning, stakeholder relationships, and marketing.
With over ten years living in Verona, she has become part of the community through volunteering with community organisations, participating in community activities, and working in local dairies. The Community Energy Coordinator role matches her strong interest in renewable energy and helping others to increase their energy efficiency. Fiona encourages community members to contact her to discuss their “electrifying” issues.
Past committee members
Luke Jewell is a career production horticulturalist currently working for the NSW Government on a project to improve coastal water quality here on the far south coast. Luke is passionate about renewable energy and sees great opportunities for its use and production in agriculture. Luke moved to Cobargo from Sydney almost 3 years ago with his wife Kristyne.
Page last updated 20 July 2023