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Clean Energy Council Awards 2023

The Clean Energy Council Awards are the Australian renewable energy industry's most prestigious awards, recognising the outstanding contribution that individuals and businesses have made to clean energy in Australia.

Awards all

The Winners of the 2023 Clean Energy Council Awards

The winners of the Clean Energy Council Awards for 2023 were announced at the Australian Clean Energy Summit on 18 July 2023. It has been a remarkeable year for the industry and The judges were overwhelmed with the quality and quantity of submissions we received for these awards, in all categories, making final decisions incredibly difficult. A huge thank you therefore to all the nominees and finalists and congratulations to the winners.

Matt kean final

Outstanding Contribution to Clean Energy Award – the Hon. Matt Kean

The Outstanding Contribution to Clean Energy Award is presented to someone who has made a real impact in accelerating the clean energy transition.

As the previous Minister for Energy and Environment in NSW, the Hon. Matt Kean delivered the biggest renewable energy policy in Australia’s history: The Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap: a 20-year plan for NSW’s energy infrastructure. He played an enormous role in shifting the politics of clean energy for our nation, stepping into a leadership vacuum and ensuring states filled the void, when we needed them the most.

"Leadership is doing more than showing up. Leadership is taking risk, to have an impact, even if that comes at the expense of your own role or position. And that’s exactly what the winner of this award did. Championing a more progressive set of energy and climate policies in the Liberal Party, he has argued that the centre of Australian politics needs to reclaim its voice in the political debate. His leadership helped break through the partisan political barriers that had plagued our sector for years. Kane Thornton, Chief Executive of the Clean Energy Council
Collaboration final

Collaboration Award – Supply Solar Pty Ltd

The Collaboration Award is presented in recognition of an organisation, individual or group that has worked to build consensus and progress a reform that has benefitted the Australian clean energy industry. This award was born out of the Connection Reform Initiative, a unique collaboration between AEMO, CEC and many parts of the industry.

Supply Solar combined an environmental challenge with clean energy and as a result, are playing an important part in recycling and repurposing solar PV panels that would have ended up in landfill. Realising Australia faces a 450,000-tonne mountain of used PV panels, by 2040, Supply Solar formed a relationship with the Ministry of Defense, who awarded them a license to export secondhand panels out of Australia for ‘good cause’. They formed relationships and collaborated closely with numerous recycling collection centres and negotiated a drop off centre for used panels that normally would be put into landfill. They actively engaged in an industry that wasn’t there and have built a business that is beneficial for third world countries out of old solar panels

Supply Solar has saved thousands of solar panels from being discarded when they have plenty of life left in them.

The other finalists of the Collaboration Award were:

  • ENERGY CORPORATION OF NEW (ENERGYCO) is a NSW Government statutory authority. EnergyCo’s mission is to coordinate the delivery of energy infrastructure projects, including Renewable Energy Zones (REZs) and critical transmission infrastructure, through expert planning and design, strategic partnerships and meaningful stakeholder engagement. The Central-West Orana REZ Access Scheme was the very first statutory access scheme in Australia and facilitates the country’s first large scale REZ. Its unique design, which optimises outcomes for developers, consumers and communities, was made possible with the support and collaboration of a variety of groups across the industry, developers and investors.
  • STAR OF THE SOUTH is Australia’s most advanced offshore wind project, proposed in Bass Strait off the coast of Gippsland. Star of the South often leads initiatives which support the development of policy, regulations or other pre-requisites for the offshore wind industry’s development. One such initiative, the Offshore Wind Jobs Guide, was conceived as a way to boost awareness of opportunities the industry presents, while also supporting transition and career planning in regions such as Gippsland. A working group between Star of the South, Federation University, TAFE Gippsland and Yallourn Power Station was established and collaboration was critical to ensure the jobs guide would be a trusted and useful resource for Australians keen to pursue work in the local offshore wind industry.
  • ARRAY TECH INC recognised the lack of local manufacturing in the clean energy sector, and embarked on an ambitious project to harness Australia’s existing steel manufacturing capabilities, in order to fill this critical gap. Array’s objective was to fill this critical gap while promoting a cleaner future. Array’s initiative stimulates local businesses and creates jobs by establishing a robust manufacturing base within the clean energy sector. The project has dual benefits—it promises an influx of employment opportunities and a boost to the local economy, all while advancing renewable energy solutions.
First nations final

First Nations Engagement and Participation Award – First Nations Clean Energy Network

The First Nations Engagement and Participation Award is presented in recognition of an individual or organisation that has demonstrated outstanding positive community engagement in relation to First Nations communities.

Launched in 2021, the First Nations Clean Energy Network was established to ensure Australia’s renewable energy revolution happens in partnership with First Nations Peoples, upon whose land many clean energy projects will be hosted.

Over the past 12 months, the Network has engaged in a range of activities to raise the profile of First Nations voices, including deep community engagement activities, events and opportunities to engage and raise the profile, develop understanding and training of clean energy industry and First Nations communities and working closely with policy makers to develop effective policy and strategy ensuring the clean energy transition is fair and just.

The other finalists of the First Nations Engagement and Participation Award were:

  • BEON ENERGY was engaged by Iberdrola Australia to design, construct and commission the 240 MW Avonlie Solar Farm, east of Narrandera, in Southern NSW. Following an intensive early engagement process, including employing two local Aboriginal women to act as community engagement coordinators and pre-employment training and support, over 30 local Aboriginal women and men were employed on this project – many of whom were long-term unemployed. Beon has supported the majority of them into ongoing employment after the project, and supported the local Aboriginal community to get their community centre up and running again.
  • ACEN AUSTRALIA seeks to harness the sun’s resources using new technologies, just as the Anaiwan people in NSW’s New England region have been doing for thousands of years. ACEN
    Australia’s New England Solar is being built with the support of the Anaiwan First Nations people, and provides meaningful opportunities for First Nations people to participate in, and
    share in the benefits that Australia’s renewable energy industry offers. Equally, this relationship has given ACEN Australia the opportunity to improve its knowledge and understanding of history and culture, working towards a commitment to contribute to reconciliation in Australia.
  • ZENITH ENERGY is one of Australia’s leading independent power producers, specialising in tailored off-the-grid hybrid power generation. Zenith and Tjiwarl Contracting Services have
    agreed to operate a culturally grounded business model and commercial relationship during the construction and operation of Zenith’s renewable energy hybrid power station for Liontown Resources Kathleen Valley Lithium mining operations. Tjiwarl Director and Native Title Holder, Kado Muir, said the commercial aspects of the agreement are essential in providing economic opportunities for Aboriginal people on their land, and that it creates an opportunity for Zenith employees to expand their cultural awareness and understanding.
Diversity and inclusion final

Diversity and Inclusion Award – Lucy Aiird from Hydro Tasmania and RES (joint winners)

The Diversity and Inclusion Award is presented in recognition of an individual or organisation that has helped improve diversity and inclusion in their organisation or industry.

Hydro Tasmania and RES both demonstrated a real and ongoing commitment to fostering an inclusive culture across their businesses, creating accessible workplaces and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion in all their forms.

Lucy Aiird commenced with Hydro Tasmania in 2017, and has made a significant impact, leading and delivering an inclusive culture across the entire business. Lucy is passionate about equality and inclusion and has an empathic, caring nature aligned to a highly professional approach. ‘Championing a sustainable future isn’t just about renewable energy,’ says Lucy, ‘it’s about addressing social inequalities and investing in opportunities for all people to grow and to succeed.’ Hydro Tasmania have created an accessible workplace, boosted representation and engagement of employees with disability, and developed an action-based approach for increased employment and participation for First Nations people.

RES is the world’s largest independent renewable energy company, operating in 14 countries around the globe. RES’ global Affinity Networks cover five dimensions of diversity (age, disability, gender, LGBTQ+ and race) and offer a safe space for people to come together freely to share their identities, experiences, and the challenges that they may face at work. RES is officially listed as an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Employer and is also Family Friendly Workplace Certified.

The other finalists of the Diversity and Inclusion Award were:

  • HEIDI SICK (ENERGY INDUSTRY DIRECTOR, AURECON) leads the firm’s market growth strategy across Australia and New Zealand, ensuring it is best placed to help clients navigate
    the energy transition. A hallmark of Heidi’s career is contributing to recruitment and coaching programs that attract, retain, mentor and support women in roles that allow them to shape their own futures, and the energy sector. Heidi shares her lived experiences to guide conversations and highlight the need for greater diversity within the energy sector.
  • IBERDROLA AUSTRALIA founded the Women in Energy Network (the Network) to improve gender diversity and inclusion at an organisational and industry level. Women are underrepresented in senior leadership, executive roles and board positions in the clean energy workforce; the Network’s mission is to advance women in the energy industry through a range of networking, knowledge-sharing and leadership-opportunity events.
Media final

Media Award – Energy Insiders – Giles Parkinson & David Leitch and The Guardian – Graham Readfearn (joint winners)

The Media Award is presented in recognition of an organisation or individual that has led a story that has made a real impact on conversations around clean energy. A well-informed industry and public are critical to the clean energy transition.

Giles Parkinson and David Leitch are the creators of The Energy Insiders Podcast, a podcast popular for its broad scope, interviews with key players, and analysis of the renewable
energy industry. With a reach of nearly one million plays over the year, it is the industry’s favourite listening whether at home, in the garden, or in the car.

Graham Readfearn established the Temperature Check – the Guardian Australia’s weekly climate factcheck column – to provide factual responses and important context around any issues related to climate change and energy policy that the public were being exposed to, either through political commentary, lobbying outputs, advertising claims or through the media (including podcasts, YouTube, social media and regular media networks). The broad principle is that a better informed society makes more informed choices, and that this is good for a healthy democracy.

The other finalists of the Diversity and Inclusion Award were:

  • MARION RAE (AUSTRALIAN ASSOCIATED PRESS) has been a first mover in reporting everything from safeguard mechanism reform and carbon markets to offshore wind and dreams of an extension cord to Singapore. Reporting on the opportunities that the energy transition brings, explaining complex legislative reforms, and finding clean energy champions (big and small), an average story has a readership of one million – and clean energy stories are far from average, often ranking in the top 10 on her organisation’s daily analytics.
  • MEGAN JONES (CIRCULAR PV ALLIANCE) published an article written for The Conversation Australia titled ‘Australia is facing a 450,000-tonne mountain of used solar panels. Here’s how to turn it into a valuable asset’ in May 2023, to launch a joint report (‘Reclaimed PV Panels Market Assessment’) with the University of Queensland. Within 24 hours, the article received over 40,000 unique views (now at 150,000) and was the most read article in Australia for the week 1–7 May 2023. The article has attracted an avalanche of global engagement and is driving many transformative solutions-oriented conversations across a range of industries about a sustainable future for clean energy.

Past winners

The Clean Energy Council Awards are now in their 12th year. Past winners include some of the leading individuals and businesses operating in the Australian clean energy industry.