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Clean energy award finalists celebrate another record year for industry

A strategic employment project by a solar farm to employ locals, a mini-grid project that will hand power back to the community by 2022 and a program to help remote Aboriginal communities install solar power have all secured spots as finalists for the 2019 Clean Energy Council Awards.

The award winners will be announced at the NAB Gala Dinner on 30 July 2019, as part of the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the awards highlight the incredible achievements and determination within the industry, after another year of unprecedented growth and investment in renewable energy.

“I’m proud to introduce a new award category that has received an overwhelming number of applications in its inaugural year. The Marketing and Communications Award strives to recognise an organisation that has executed a standout campaign in relation to the Australian clean energy industry. I believe our three finalists have done this to an exceptionally high standard,” Mr Thornton said.

“It was a strong year for applications across the board, with the dozens of major projects underway across the country leading to lots of innovative and interesting initiatives. The awards celebrate the passion, drive and determination which is part of our industry’s genetic makeup and this can be seen in the calibre of the finalists in each category,” he said.

The finalists for the 2019 Clean Energy Council Awards are as follows:

Innovation Award

  • Networks Renewed is a trial project that demonstrated that customer-owned solar PV and battery storage systems can provide voltage regulation services on the distribution network. AusNet Services and Essential Energy partnered with the Institute for Sustainable Futures at the University Technology Sydney, Mondo and Reposit. The trial proved that voltage can be suppressed during high solar export periods by controlling reactive power capabilities of residential smart inverters. This solution has enabled increased solar hosting capacity on the network and allowed our customers to generate more solar energy.

  • Vicinity Centres implemented the Integrated Energy Strategy across its retail footprint of more than 60 shopping centres around Australia to reduce cost, improve reliability, reduce carbon emissions and secure additional revenue. The program included a number of innovative solutions, including Australian retail’s first storage battery, the first trial of bifacial solar panels by an Australian retailer and the construction of the world’s first fully transparent solar glass building.

  • Western Power partnered with Synergy on the PowerBank trial, an Australian first project that integrated a 105 kW Tesla battery into an established major metropolitan network to allow a shared storage service to meet individual customer needs. For $1 a day, customers participating in the trial can virtually store excess power they generate during the day from their solar PV systems in the battery and then draw down on that power during peak times.

Community Engagement Award

  • Beon Energy Solutions implemented a strategic employment program for the Karadoc Solar Farm that provided work for more than 250 people from the local community, including recently arrived migrants, members of the local Aboriginal community, people with disabilities and people on community-based correction orders. Most of the workers and apprentices employed by Beon continue to work for the company or in the wider solar industry.

  • Horizon Power developed the Solar Incentives Scheme to allow large remote Aboriginal communities in Western Australia’s Kimberley region to install solar systems. The $1.07 million scheme has co-funded 900 kW of community owned solar in eight remote Aboriginal communities, reducing their reliance on diesel fuel, electricity costs for community corporations and the cost of subsidising remote electricity services.

  • Mondo worked with community energy group Totally Renewable Yackandandah to develop a mini-grid project in the small Victorian town of Yackandandah that would enable it to get 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. By early 2019, the mini-grid had generated 1 GWh of locally produced renewable energy, saving the community more than $160,000 in energy costs and 1112 metric tonnes of CO2-e.

Marketing and Communications Award

  • Positive Good worked with global storage manufacturer sonnen to launch its presence in South Australia alongside the commencement of the SA Home Battery Scheme. Working to an eight-week timeline, Positive Good’s creative platform tapped into the emotional appeal of reviving manufacturing at a former Holden factory. The extensive marketing campaign encompassed print, digital and physical advertising, and resulted in more than 750 media stories and a reach of over 2.8 million people.

  • Solarray Energy introduced a new content strategy that involved writing a series of articles on its website answering some of the most common questions that people search for when researching residential solar. The strategy helped Solarray to stand out in the incredibly competitive online solar market and resulted in its website being ranked as the top solar power retailer in terms of authority on Google in Australia.

  • Vicinity Centres implemented a communications campaign to promote its Integrated Energy Strategy to a diverse set of stakeholders. The campaign utilised assets within Vicinity’s more than 60 shopping centres as well as garnering national and local media coverage. Its media and communications coverage reached an audience of more than 1.8 million people.

In addition the Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award will be announced and presented at the NAB Gala Dinner at the end of July. This is awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the clean energy industry for an extended period of time.

The 2019 Australian Clean Energy Summit will be held from 30-31 July at ICC Sydney. Hosted by the Clean Energy Council, the summit draws over 800 delegates from hundreds of organisations. The program features more than 70 speakers from government, industry and academia discussing the most prevalent topics ranging from market trends to innovation, policy, finance, technology and business developments in the clean energy sector.

More information on the awards can be found on the Clean Energy Summit website.

Please contact Mark Bretherton, the Clean Energy Council’s Director – Media on 0413 556 981 for more information or to arrange an interview.