Ed Suttle is the relatively new president of the Community Energy for Goulburn (CE4G) group.
As such he has been one of the faces behind the recently successful campaign to launch the Goulburn Solar Farm.
Mr Suttle is a ‘tree changer’ and a convert to sustainable living after he left the rat race and a fast-paced job in Sydney behind and bought a farm near Goulburn.
“My wife Jane and I bought 230 acres off Mountain Ash Road in 2005,” he said.
“We were weekend farmers for about eight years, coming down from Sydney and mainly keeping weeds under control and after 12 years there are no thistles and the tussock is diminished significantly.”
They moved here full-time about five years ago.
“The aim always was to get involved in the community in the sustainable environmental type area - because we were living it - we are tree changers,” he said.
“We moved into the shed while we built our solar passive house. It heats and cools itself - with no air conditioning and no fossil fuel heating. Inside, the coldest it has ever been in 16 degrees and the hottest is 28 degrees.
“In winter we have a solid fuel heater and burn a small amount of wood from our property, but only when absolutely needed. As a result our electricity bills are close to zero - it is a cheap house to run.”
They also have chooks and bees and a well-developed vegetable patch, an orchard, and they breed Angus cattle.
“Jane is on the committee of The Goulburn Group and is President of the Bee Club,” he said.
“In Sydney, I ran my own recruitment company for 20 years, but the hours were long.
“I am someone who needs to keep busy, but there is always something to do on the farm.”
Mr Suttle said CE4G was a team effort and they were at the stage of negotiating with panel suppliers, frame manufacturers and inverter and transformer manufacturers.
“We will know within a few weeks what the final cost will be,” he said.
“We have chosen our partners and are talking to companies who will buy the electricity. Hopefully by Christmas we will be ordering the hardware and once it is being built we will put our share offer document out to the Goulburn community.”
He said the Goulburn Solar Farm is just one project the group has in mind.
“We are small in the scheme of things. Our solar farm will create enough energy for 400 homes, but other solar farms in the area such as the Gullen Range are massive,” he said.
“The whole region should be making more of its renewable energy resources - it is so windy and so sunny - there are jobs in it. Goulburn could become a renewable energy centre.
“As we can’t trust politicians to deliver, communities are doing it themselves.”