Former Australian Coal Bosses Switch to Solar And Disruptive Technologies

Jon Capistrano
Jon Capistrano
June 3, 2016

It is the sign of the times according to PV Magazine. GDF Suez/Engie former Australian boss, Tony Concannon is now chief executive of Reach Solar, while Richard McIndoe, the former head of Energy Australia is now the executive chairman of Edge Electrons.

The time are a changing – these two men who ran Australia’s two dirtiest brown coal generators and who were one time strong critics of renewable energy climate change policies, have switched sides. These men have switched sides and now advocates of renewable energy sources, the solar industry, and other disruptive technologies.

Tony Concannon, headed Engie which operates the Hazelwood brown coal generator. He is now the chief executive of Reach Solar, which is looking at battery storage and solar projects across the country, including a 200megawatt solar PV facility located near Port Augusta airport.

Richard McIndoe was the head of Energy Australia that owns the Yallourn power station. He is now executive chairman of a new company called Edge Electrons that develops new technology like voltage control that is helping businesses and households save on their electricity bills.

Solar, battery storage and energy efficiency are the new trends in the transition of global energy systems to low-carbon technologies. All three technologies are attacking the very basics of the business model built up for half a century around brown coal. In their previous positions, McIndoe and Concannon’s companies had fought aggressively against any policy changes that may have given assistance to solar and energy efficiency, which takes away demand from brown coal generators and undercut their earning.

But instead, the opposite happened, Australia now has too much capacity due to renewable energy sources. With the planned closure of the Hazelwood plant, brown coal generators that are no longer able to compete in the market are being closed down. Reach Solar made a presentation to the Port Augusta council that outlines a 30megawatt solar PV plant near the Port Augusta airport, which can go as big as the 200megwatt facility.

Edge Electrons of McIndoe and electronics entrepreneur Neal Stewart correction technologies and offers voltage regulation that can cut electricity bills for business and homes by 15%.

Click here to read the full story on PV Magazine

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