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Profile on Megan Wheatley
From the Newsletter: ABC Carbon Express issue no 43: 31 January to 6 February 2009
Author: Ken Hickson, ABC Carbon
Profile on Megan Wheatley
Believing there is still enormous scope to ramp up domestic activity to drive investment in renewable energy, Suzlon Energy's Megan Wheatley would also like to see stronger incentives to save energy.
Megan Wheatley is Business Development Manager, Strategy and Policy at Suzlon Energy Australia. Prior to this she was Head of Policy at the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy based in London.
She was one of the speakers at the Clean Energy Council Conference on the Gold Coast last November when she offered the benefit of her experience working in the UK, as well as in her new role with Suzlon Energy.
We asked Megan to set out her thoughts and ideas of what she would like to see happen on Australia's clean energy landscape in 2009:
1. What are your resolutions for the New Year regarding your work and the country's commitment to renewable energy?
Suzlon first started building wind farms in Australia two years ago, and we are starting to see some really positive outcomes in regional Australia. This year I plan to visit our projects around Australia, meet the local communities, and see some of these regional development benefits first hand.
2. What is the one really big thing you would like to see happen in the world this coming year?
While there has been a lot of talk about the need to act quickly on climate change, we are yet to see significant and sustained action on the ground. The move to a low carbon economy is an enormous challenge for all of us. While coordinated global action is important, particularly in terms of pricing carbon, there is still enormous scope to ramp up domestic activity to drive investment in renewable energy, and to put in place stronger incentives to save energy. I would like to see more action at the country and regional level, as I think this is where the quickest gains can be made.
3. What can an individual or household do to make a difference -reducing his/her carbon footprint/responding to climate change?
Saving energy is a very important thing that households can do.
However, it is also important that we have the right overarching policy framework so that individuals, communities and businesses are rewarded for tackling climate change.
4. What about yourself - what are you doing to reduce your footprint?
We are doing little things to make our home more energy efficient, like replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescents. The next challenge is to get double glazing for our windows. I also walk to work - which saves on transport emissions. Although, to be honest - flights between the UK and Australia for the past few years mean that I have a particularly large footprint at the moment.
5. How can your experience - working at the UK Business Council for Sustainable Energy - be used to advantage in Australia?
In the UK, I was impressed by the constructive working relationship between Government and the energy sector. This resulted in better policy design, and more of a partnership approach to tackling climate change.
The Clean Energy Council, a sister organisation of the UKBCSE, is continuing to work hard to build a strong and effective working relationship with the Australian Government. Suzlon is represented on the Board of the Clean Energy Council, and we are looking forward to an exciting and challenging year.
6. Suzlon Energy is a big wind power provider around the world - what plans does it have for Australia in the coming year?
We have delivered two major projects in South Australia: the AGL Hallett Wind Farm, and the Trustpower Snowtown Wind Farm, which are both fully operational. We are currently finalising construction of three more wind farms in SA and NSW. This will see 220 turbines installed, with over 450 MW of clean energy generating capacity that Suzlon will be maintaining. Beyond that, we see a solid pipeline of projects around the country which will be driven by the expanded Renewable Energy Target (RET).
7. Do the Government's plans for CPRS and RET go far enough - would you like to see more/less?
The CPRS is an important policy initiative for the long-term. In the medium-term, there is a need for complementary policies to help drive down energy demand, and to stimulate investment in renewable energy. At Suzlon we are pleased that the Government is so supportive of renewable energy, and we are looking forward to the introduction of the Renewable Energy Target later this year so we can get on and build some more wind farms.
8. Is there one thing you would like to see the Government of Australia to do in the coming year?
Actually there are two things.
Firstly - it is really important that the legislation for the Renewable Energy Target enables the sustainable growth of the industry. Currently the Government proposes to ramp down the target from 2025 - which won't provide a stable and sustained market for new renewable energy. The good news is that this is very easily fixed by removing the ramp down.
Secondly - we need to start planning now for the infrastructure that is needed to support a low carbon economy. I think it would be very valuable to get planners, regulators, policy makers, energy companies and energy users to sit around a table and talk about what this could look like. The Government is well positioned to facilitate this discussion, which could help support the work of Infrastructure Australia.
Facts about Suzlon
Suzlon ranked as the world's fifth leading wind turbine manufacturer with over 10.5 % of global market share in 2007. The company has ranked as the leading manufacturer in the Indian market for nine consecutive years, maintaining over 50% market share. Suzlon has its corporate offices in Pune, India and company's global spread reflects in its projects and markets portfolio - extending across Asia, Australia, Europe and North and South America. Suzlon is a highly vertically integrated wind turbine manufacturer with manufacturing capability along the full value chain - from components to complete wind turbine systems. The company currently has a combined manufacturing base of 2,700 MW of annual capacity, and has a further 3,000 MW of capacity coming on stream.
See also the latest financial results for the Indian energy company in this express issue as well as more information on the company's website listed below.