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Clean energy award finalists shine brightly during unprecedented year for industry

The world’s biggest battery, a ground-breaking greenhouse project to grow tomatoes in the desert and a solar schools challenge in Western Australia are among the finalists announced in the 2018 Clean Energy Council Awards.

The award winners will be announced at the NAB Gala Dinner on 31 July, as part of the Australian Clean Energy Summit in Sydney.

Clean Energy Council Chief Executive Kane Thornton said the 2018 award finalists were true stand-outs in a year when all sectors of the industry were moving at full tilt to build projects under the national Renewable Energy Target.

“In a record year for both large-scale renewable energy and rooftop solar, we have never seen so much industry innovation, along with the attention and effort devoted to best practice community engagement,” Mr Thornton said.

“The 2018 Clean Energy Council Award finalists should serve as inspirational examples of the outstanding work of our industry over the last 12 months. Renewable energy and storage is helping to reduce power bills and emissions and provide reliable power to people from all walks of life. I would like to thank all of those who submitted an entry for this year’s awards and wish all of our finalists the best of luck.”

The Clean Energy Council Awards are presented to recognise excellence in the fields of innovation and business community engagement in the clean energy sector.

A special Outstanding Contribution to Industry Award will also be announced and presented at the NAB Gala Dinner at the end of July. This award is a chance for the industry to recognise the extraordinary contribution of an individual who has made a major and sustained contribution to clean energy over many years.

The finalists for the 2017 Clean Energy Council Awards are as follows:

Clean Energy Council Innovation Award

Aalborg CSP provided the concentrated solar thermal technology for Sundrop Farms in South Australia, which uses a combination of sea water and sunlight to grow vegetables in the desert. The highly innovative project grows 17,000 tonnes of tomatoes annually, representing 15 per cent of the country’s tomato market. The technology produces solar energy and desalinates sea water from the nearby Spencer Gulf.

Energy Developments worked with ARENA to deliver the Coober Pedy Renewable Hybrid project for the District Council of Coober Pedy. Through a mix of wind, solar, batteries and advanced control systems, the project was able to reduce diesel use and emissions at a remote, iconic Australian mining town. The project successfully integrated variable renewable sources to provide a reliable power system.

Energy Queensland was able to bring together a diverse group of government departments to deliver affordable access to renewable energy for public housing tenants in one of the state’s least accessible communities. Residents of Lockhart River previously depended heavily on diesel power, and the project delivered solar and storage with intelligent control systems. The money saved from reducing diesel use is being returned to the community.

After a once-in-50-year storm in South Australia, Tesla and Neoen partnered with the South Australian Government to build the world’s largest lithium battery. The project benefited from the personal involvement of Tesla founder Elon Musk, whose tweets became international news and gave the project plenty of public attention. The Hornsdale Power Reserve was delivered within the self-imposed 100-day deadline, in time for the 2017 summer.

Clean Energy Council Business Community Engagement Award

As part of the development of the Gullen Range Wind Farm, BJCE Australia offered clean energy grants to residents living within 5 km of the project. An energy audit helps people understand the savings they can make to both their carbon emissions and power bills, and a second phase allows them to apply for a solar hot water or solar power system, or an energy efficiency package. The program is intended to run for the life of the wind farm and create positive relationships with the community.

The Synergy Solar Schools Challenge partnered with the Science Teachers Association of Western Australia. The idea was to get people in the community excited about the potential of new clean energy technologies such as solar to meet future energy needs. As part of the challenge, students in Year 6 and Year 8 were sent solar car kits, which helped them understand and apply the science behind renewable energy by building and racing them throughout the term.

TasNetworks worked with the Australian National University and ARENA to turn 40 homes on Tasmania’s Bruny Island into “mini power stations”. The project involved installing rooftop solar and batteries, along with energy management software from Reposit Power that allows households to actively trade the energy they produce and store with their electricity provider. The project will help reduce diesel use and the island’s dependence on the cable connecting it with Tasmania.

The 2018 Australian Clean Energy Summit will be held from 31 July to 1 August at ICC Sydney. Hosted by the Clean Energy Council, the summit draws more than 700 delegates from hundreds of organisations. The program features more than 80 speakers from government, industry and academia discussing the latest market trends, innovation, policy, finance, business and technology developments in the clean energy sector.

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

Please contact Clean Energy Council Media Manager Mark Bretherton on 0413 556 981 or email [email protected] for more information or to organise an interview.