A small but dedicated team of New England community members has been leading the New England Wind project from concept to development (see individual Bios below). These people are committed to ensuring the progress of NEW through to completion - they form part of a greater Consortium which is the Steering Group for the NEW project.
The Steering Group, known as the New England Wind Consortium, was formalised at the commencement of the Feasibility Study to lead the work on the NEW project. This Group brings specialist expertise and broad networks to overall planning, coordination, analysis and key strategic decisions. Membership of the Consortium will vary according to the needs of each stage of the NEW project.
The current members of the Consortium are:
Adam Blakester (Starfish Initiatives), Patsy Asch (Sustainable Living Armidale), Liz Gardiner (Starfish Initiatives), Bar Finch (Sustainable Living Armidale), Andy Cavanagh-Downs (Embark), Chris Blanksby (Entura) and Paul Cruickshank (NSW Office of Environment and Heritage).
Adam is Project Director of New England Wind and honorary Executive Director of Starfish Initiatives, under the auspices of which this project has evolved.
Adam's speciality is social change for rural and regional sustainability, bringing an entrepreneurial approach to enhancing community wellbeing, livelihoods and the health of natural and built environments.
Adam's other work on community renewable energy includes the NSW Government Green Globe award-winning Farming the Sun initiative and the NSW North Coast Energy Strategy.
Adam F Blakester
Liz is Coordinator of New England Wind and an Associate of Starfish Initiatives. Her involvement as Coordinator in the award-winning Farming the Sun community solar project in New England led directly into the conceptual stages of the New England Wind project.
Liz’s background is mainly in research – economic, historical, environmental and humanitarian – with tertiary qualifications in Econometrics and Peace Studies. Her interest in renewable energy emerged in the late '70s and has intensified over the past decade.
Dr Chris Blanksby is an engineer currently working for Entura (part of Hydro Tasmania), and ARRB Group. He has specialist technical expertise in renewable energy projects (wind and solar) and transport. Chris will be leading the NEW team on technical aspects of the project.
Patsy is a local counsellor and a filmmaker who is deeply committed to strengthening local resilience. She is a founder of Sustainable Living Armidale (SLA) and convenor of their Energy subgroup which promotes and assists development of renewable energy and community-based projects. The original meeting to discuss regional energy self-sufficiency and the concept of a community wind farm in New England, was convened by the SLA Energy group.
Patsy videotaped the community forums held as part of the NEW Feasibility Study. Four compilations provide feedback to the community about the process undertaken.
Bar was a founder-member and is currently Secretary of Sustainable Living Armidale (SLA). She was co-facilitator for the community workshops held as part of the New England Wind Feasibility study, and a facilitator for the Climate Consensus Workshops conducted in Armidale, Uralla and Guyra in 2008.
With a background in town planning and a commitment to community development, she has had an interest in renewable energy since the mid-70s when her house just outside Armidale was successfully powered by a wind generator.
She has been involved in Armidale community organisations for over thirty years.