Women in Green Hydrogen (WiGH) held its inaugural event in Australia, Melbourne, on 26 July as part of Connecting Green Hydrogen in APAC, together with conference organisers, Leader Associates.

The WiGH event consisted of two expert panels on key issues of importance to the rapidly emerging green hydrogen industry in Australia.

After the Acknowledgement of Country (to show respect for Traditional Owners and the continuing connection of First Nations peoples to Country), event moderator Penelope Howarth, Energy Decarbonisation Focal Point of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, introduced WiGH, including its global expert database, mentoring and program of events showcasing talented women and the value of gender equity to this exciting new energy source. The two Melbourne WiGH panels included both female and male supporters of gender equality in the Australian hydrogen sector.

The first panel examined the emerging sources of demand for Australia’s hydrogen and derivatives, like ammonia.  Panellists converged in calling for improved ‘Coopetition’ (strategic cooperation on shared issues such as labour force development, common infrastructure and standards, while also naturally engaging in competition, including for offtakes) amongst Australian and global hydrogen stakeholders. Alison Nicolin from Advisian’s Advisory Team called for an integrated approach between industry focused academia, government and the private sector to achieve Australia’s energy transition ambitions. Richard Andrews, CEO of the Australia Japan Business Co-operation Committee, stressed the importance of treating development of a new hydrogen energy industry as a partnership venture that would require deepened collaboration and consultation both among “Team Australia” stakeholders from Australian governments, industry and research sectors and with counterparts from partner countries, including from Japan, around a shared vision.

The second panel historically brought First Nations issues to the forefront for discussion at a mainstream hydrogen industry event. Kate George, Managing Director of PWCs Indigenous Consulting Group said, speaking of the Hydrogen sector and First Nations peoples, “We need to reimagine the possible and have the courage and humility to go forward together”. As George highlighted, Australian hydrogen industry players could achieve a real competitive advantage globally if they adopted and delivered on world’s best practices, like Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and Environment, Social and Governance principles, when engaging with First Nations’ Peoples in planning and delivering their projects.  

Dr Anita Talberg Director of Workforce Development at the Clean Energy Council (CEC), Australia’s peak industry body, shared data and programs of the CEC to measure and address gender imbalances in the renewable energy industry. Both Talberg and William Cox, CEO of global design, engineering and advisory company Aurecon, urged greater engagement by the hydrogen industry in existing Australian initiatives driving practical actions and delivering measurable results in gender diversity and inclusion, in particular the CEC’s Women in Renewables and the Champions’ of Change movement respectively. Mr Cox said “we are currently facing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to set the hydrogen sector up for success by creating a diverse and inclusive workforce of the future better able to deliver the targets required to mitigate global warming through innovation and digital technology”.

WiGH thanks all the panel participants, the event participants as well as Leader and Associates for their partnership in delivering this historic event and looks forward to holding more impactful events in Australia in the future. Please contact us through https://women-in-green-hydrogen.net/ if you’d like to join us in this journey.

Media contact: Maren Schoettler and Maryna Hritsyshyna

Connecting Green Hydrogen APAC 2022

Women in Green Hydrogen Event (Melbourne – Australia, 26 July 2022)

Time: 09:00-12:30

Venue: Convention Centre, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

First PanelWhere are the offtakes? Emerging demand for hydrogen in the Asia-Pacific and beyond
A panel of experts explored the emerging markets for Australia’s hydrogen and derivatives. They addressed the key questions of a) what actions are already underway and b) what further actions are needed by ‘Team Australia’ to realise Australia’s potential as a global green hydrogen superpower.
The panel was chaired by Penelope Howarth, Energy Decarbonisation Focal Point, Climate Change and Sustainability Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and included the following panelists:
·       Alison Nicolin, Senior Associate, Advisory – New Energy, Advisian
·       Richard Andrews, CEO, Australia-Japan Business Cooperation Council
·       Bronwyn See, Senior Manager, Business Development, AGL
·       Andrew Dickson, Development Director, CWP Global; Director, Ammonia Energy Association Australia
Second PanelUnlocking success in the Hydrogen Sector – Why Diversity Matters 
A panel of experts explored how diversity is key to success in this new phase of energy transition, focussing on gender and First Nations’ people. They addressesd the key questions of a) why are these issues important to the Hydrogen sector b) what achievements and actions are already underway and c) what more is needed to be done by key stakeholders.
The panel was also chaired by Penelope Howarth and included the following panellists:
·       Gemma Harrison, Business Development Manager, Ampol
·       Dr Anita Talberg, Director Workforce Development, Clean Energy Council
·       Kate George, Managing Director, PWC Indigenous Consulting
·       William Cox, CEO, Aurecon