Hosted by the Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association, the inaugural Energising WA National Conference tackled key issues in the clean energy and sustainability sectors with a fresh approach.
The conference and exhibition took place from 22–24 March at the Burswood Entertainment Complex, Perth, hosting approximately 200 delegates and 32 exhibitors.
The conference kicked off with a keynote address by Todd Sampson, CEO of advertising consultancy Leo Burnett (also a founder of Earth Hour), who spoke about the power of creativity in business. This address set the tone for the rest of the two-day conference program, and was followed up with a pledge by Dr Ray Wills, Western Australian Sustainable Energy Association (WA SEA) CEO, to “change the way we do business” at the event, encouraging speakers and delegates to engage in an open dialogue.
Highlights from Day 1 included engaging discussions on education and workforce development, as well as a focus in the afternoon session on renewing energy in Western Australia. This last session included panel members Jim Mitchell, Managing Director of Synergy; Doug Aberle, Managing Director of Western Power; and Rod Hayes, Managing Director of Horizon Power; effectively bringing together the heads of Western Australia’s energy retailers (with the exception of Verve Energy).Article continues below…
Day 1 finished with an open business forum, at which WA SEA Chairman Bob Blakiston acknowledged the ‘quantum leap’ that Western Australia has taken in sustainability. He said “We’ve come a long way in a short space of time, and we are moving faster than many other capital cities.”
Western Australia’s sustainability record was taken up again the following morning, with a keynote address by the state’s Minister for Energy, Training and Workforce Development Peter Collier. While Minister Collier was decidedly critical of his own state’s sustainability report card, as well as the quality of the climate change debate on the national stage, he promised action in the areas of energy efficiency, with a major announcement in “the coming months.” The Minister also announced the go-ahead for the Collgar Wind Farm, to be located approximately 25 kilometres southeast of Merredin in Western Australia.
To conclude the event, the WA SEA Sustainable Energy Industry Awards night had the industry celebrating its achievements in style. The night was hosted by Sally Dominguez from the ABC’s New Inventors, and awards were presented by Minister Collier. For details of all seven award winners, see here.