The Advisory Panel is composed of individuals with expertise in their respective fields, including technical, financial, policy and strategy, and community engagement. The advisory panel can be engaged at key points for advice or information, can advocate for ZEB and expand networks.

Simon Corbell

Renewable Energy Policy and Planning

Simon Corbell has more than 20 years’ senior experience in public policy and has been a champion for reform in the renewable energy and climate change sector.

Before being appointed to the position of Victorian Renewable Energy Advocate (VREA) to the Victorian Government in December 2016, he was the Deputy Chief Minister and Minister for the Environment and Climate Change of the ACT, where he drove the delivery of large scale solar and wind farms and oversaw the implementation of the ACT large scale feed in tariff and reverse auction process.

The key responsibilities of his position as independent VREA include heading Victoria’s key advisory body on renewable energy development, leading efforts to attract further investment in renewable energy, assisting in the implementation of the Victorian Renewable Energy Target (VRET) scheme and providing independent advice to the Government.

Simon was a recipient of the Banksia Foundation’s Gold Award for the ACT Solar Auction program, and he has been recognised by the Clean Energy Council and Australian Solar Council for his work in championing the clean energy transition nationally.

Dr Amanda Cahill
Dr Amanda Cahill

Community Engagement and Governance

Amanda is the Director of the Centre for Social Change and Chair of the Next Economy. Originally trained as an anthropologist, Amanda has been working on community development projects across Asia-Pacific region, as well as in Australia for over 20 years.

After five years leading the Centre for Social Change in Brisbane, she recently established The Next Economy to support the emergence of more resilient, socially just and ecologically viable local economies across Australia and beyond.

She is a founding partner of the Zero Emissions Byron project, and is on the steering committee of the New Economy Network of Australia.

Amanda has a PhD in Human Geography from the Australian National University and has an adjunct position at the University of Queensland.

Dr Muriel Watt

Solar and Energy Policy

Muriel is highly regarded in Australia and internationally for her expertise in solar and energy policy. She has worked with government agencies, universities and industry in the areas of renewable energy research, development, policy and application since 1980.

Significant past appointments include Associate Professor, School of PV and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of NSW, Chair of the Australian PV Institute, Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Solar Energy Society, Chair of the Policy Group for the Australian CRC for Renewable Energy, Australian Executive Committee member on the IEA PV Power Systems (PVPS) Implementing Agreement, member of the Australian Solar Institute Research Advisory Committee and member of the Solar Flagship Education Infrastructure Fund Advisory Board.

Current appointments include: Member of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Advisory Pane; Member of the Advisory Panel of Zero Emissions Byron Limited. She lives in Lennox Head.

Giles Parkinson
Giles Parkinson

Media Advisory

Giles Parkinson is founder and editor of Renew Economy, and is also the founder of One Step Off The Grid and founder/editor of The Driven. Giles has been a journalist for 35 years and is a former business and deputy editor of the Australian Financial Review.

Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop
Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop

Land Use

Until 2010, Gerard Wedderburn-Bisshop worked as a Principal Scientist with the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Resources Management, leading a team of scientists using satellite imagery to monitor vegetation, deforestation and ground cover.

With a Bachelor of Surveying (First Class Honours) from University of Queensland, Gerard has lectured at UQ and the University of Canberra. Early in his career, he worked for Australian Federal Government, with the team mapping the Great Barrier Reef for its World Heritage listing.

Following 38 years in remote sensing science, Gerard is now engaged in communicating environmental issues such as deforestation, climate change, land degradation and biodiversity loss. He writes investigative articles and reports for the World Preservation Foundation and co-authored the Beyond Zero Emissions Land Use Plan. Most recently, he has been working with the Zero Emissions Byron Land Use team to bring emissions to zero within 10 years.

He has presented papers at national Australian conferences, the Climate Summit 2010, at side programs of the UN climate talks COP16 in Cancun and COP17 in Durban, at civil society climate programs, at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences.

Michael van Niekerk

Business Strategy

As the Managing Director of Peakview Strategy, Michael van Niekerk has a seasoned professional background in business strategy development. He has contributed the past 30 years of his life to taking on various positions of leadership in the fields of executive strategy and finance, working in retail sectors, financial services and the media. He has experience working in both domestic and international markets. 

Michael specialises in sustainability and responsible investment, wealth and asset management as well as superannuation. He utilises his skills in coaching and collective engagement to effectively drive home strategic agendas, provide professional advice to Boards and senior management, aid in strategy transformation initiatives and offer strategy formulation and strategic planning at the Group and Business Unit levels alike. 

Michael has received a Bachelor of Commerce with Honors, a Master of Business Administration, a Master of Studies in Sustainability Leadership and is associated with ACID, FINSIA and ASCPA. 

James Sturch
James Sturch

Renewable Energy and Batteries

With an honors degree in Industrial Design, post graduate qualifications in photovoltaics, accreditation by the CEC for both grid-connect and off-grid design and installation as well as full electrical contractor’s license, James is a true renewable energy professional with over 20 years’ professional experience within the renewable energy industry.

Currently he holds the position of Technical Business Manager Australia and New Zealand for Sonnen Australia as well as Managing Director of Evolving Energy.

His previous experience includes Technical Marketing Manager for Redback Technologies, National Sales Manager for SF Suntech Australia, Product Manager, Wholesale Account Manager and Technical Sales Manager for Si Clean Energy.

He is currently a Clean Energy Council Battery Installation Guide Committee member, an Energy Storage Directorate member, part of the Clean Energy Council Energy Storage Product Listing Working Group as well as a committee member for the National BESS Installation Guidelines.

With his passion for alternative energy, proven technical abilities, as well as knowledge in the needs and challenges of renewable energy retail, distribution and manufacturing companies in Australia James has helped grow and develop business sectors and products to the benefit of the Australian industry.

Craig Johnston

Large Scale Solar

Craig is the Founder and CEO of Redgum Projects, a local Byron Bay Sustainability and Climate Change consulting business. In this capacity, Craig works with corporations and individuals on strategy and project management relating to energy efficiency, climate change, renewable energy and sustainable investment, Australia wide. Craig looks to apply his experience in Project Finance, Financial Services and Financial Markets to ecologically sustainable development.

He is also Director of Coolamon Energy, which in early 2020 was awarded a $3.5m grant from NSW Government Regional Community Energy Fund (RCEF) for the Byron Bay Solar Farm plus Storage Facility a 5MW solar farm and battery storage facility. The recipient of the funds will be a company specifically set up to develop the solar farm called Byron Bay Solar Farm Holdings Pty Ltd.

Craig was previously a Director in Sustainability and Climate Change team at Pricewaterhouse Coopers Australia, a Commercial Development Manager in the Global Energy Solutions team at Johnson Controls and an Associate Director at the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. Before this Craig worked in the IT and Financial Services industries in Sydney and London.

Craig is currently on the Advisory panel of Zero Emissions Byron, the Byron Shire’s zero emissions strategy working group. Craig’s work in this space is centred on a synthesis of a wide range of external subject matter experts to enable informed and practical sustainability solutions for today.


Robert Rosen
Robert Rosen

Robert Rosen

Tax deductibility, Finance and Governance

Robert has been actively involved in range of environmental issues for the last 39 years. He has a Bachelor of Economics Degree (Syd) majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law and Certificates in Personal Investment Management and Real Estate.

Current positions include:
Director, Enova Community Energy Ltd and Enova Community Ltd
Director, Pingala Co-operative Ltd
Director, Earth Trust
Director, Social Habitat Housing Ltd
Vice President, Permaculture College Australia
Patron, Rainforest Rescue.