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Australia’s Yindjibarndi People and Leading PH Private Company Forge Renewable Energy Collaboration

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Australia’s First Nations Yindjibarndi people have partnered with Philippine renewables company ACEN to develop and operate renewable energy projects in Western Australia. The partnership is one of Australia’s largest Indigenous-led renewable energy initiatives, focusing on sustainable development and economic opportunities.

“What ACEN and the Yindjibarndi group are doing is fully aligned with the Strategic Partnership between Australia and the Philippines. We are happy to collaborate and work together to ensure that the partnership is mutually beneficial and sustainable,” said Australian Ambassador to the Philippines, HK Yu.

ACEN and the Yindjibarndi people have formed a new company called the Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation (YEC). Together, they will work on creating energy from the wind and sun on Yindjibarndi land in Australia, which covers about 13,000 square kilometres.

YEC’s first big goal is to start building projects that can make 750 MW of energy from wind, the sun, and stored energy in batteries in the next few years. This project will cost over PHP 36 billion. The energy they make will be used in Australia and also sent to other countries. Later, they plan to add more projects to create an extra 2 to 3 GW of energy from wind and the sun, along with stored energy.

The leaders of YEC are Anton Rohner, chosen by ACEN as director and chairman, and Craig Ricato, picked by the Yindjibarndi people as a director.

“This partnership between ACEN and the Yindjibarndi People was built on shared values. ACEN were genuine in their interactions with the Yinjibarndi people – they were honest about their intentions and listened to what the Traditional Owners needed. This made the Yindjibarndi comfortable around ACEN’s people and put them in good standing to negotiate the terms of the partnership agreement,” explained Yindjibarndi Energy Corporation CEO Craig Ricato.

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ACEN International CEO Patrice Clausse said: “We feel deeply honoured by the trust that Australia’s Yindjibarndi community has given us to work collaboratively with them. The Pilbara region is home to some of the largest industrial energy users globally, many of whom have expressed their desire to transition to a carbon-neutral future. We are actively engaged in promising dialogues with potential off-take customers to purchase the renewable energy.”

The Australian Embassy in the Philippines supports ACEN with market information and opportunities.

“Australian investment advisors in the Philippines and Australia are helping us keep up to date with developments in Australia’s growing renewable energy sector and sharing information on investment opportunities,” said Clausse.

“They are also pivotal in helping us connect with government representatives at federal and state levels.”

ACEN executives and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu welcome Yindijibarndi delegation on their first visit to the Philippines
ACEN executives and Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu welcome Yindijibarndi delegation on their first visit to the Philippines. PHOTO: Supplied

ACEN has made a strong impact in Australia’s renewable energy market, playing a big role in helping the country use more clean energy and achieve its environmental goals.

ACEN has worked with Indigenous groups in Australia before teaming up with the Yindjibarndi people. In March 2023, they started a solar energy project in New England, New South Wales. For this project, ACEN worked with the Anaiwan people, the local Indigenous group, to ensure important cultural sites in the area are kept safe for future generations.

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