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Energy Infrastructure & Community Engagement Conference

Engaging Communities for a Cleaner Energy Future

30 November – 1 December 2023 | Radisson Blu Plaza, Sydney

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Informa Australia is delighted to announce the Energy Infrastructure & Community Engagement Conference, held 30th November – 1st December 2023 at the Radisson Blu Plaza, Sydney. Join and connect with your colleagues, contacts and industry for this unique networking and shared learning opportunity.

With the rapid rollout of renewable and clean energy infrastructure to fast-track the national net-zero goals, social license and community engagement has become a crucial factor for energy companies to accelerate projects. Community engagement is essential for developing and operating new energy infrastructure, including transmission lines, onshore and offshore wind farms, solar, hydrogen and storage, to ensure greater transparency between communities and the industry.

The Energy Infrastructure & Community Engagement Conference will bring together industry and community leaders to address key issues and develop effective solutions that will drive the path towards net zero. This event is a valuable opportunity to learn about the latest insights and best practices to effectively engage and benefit local communities, build trust, and achieve project success.

Topics will include:

  • Government role, reforms, and initiatives
  • The importance of early and ongoing community engagement in the development of new energy infrastructure projects
  • Best practices for effective community engagement, including building trust, transparency, collaboration and open communication
  • Case studies of successful community engagement initiatives for new energy infrastructure projects, highlighting the challenges and opportunities involved
  • Key learnings from previous projects and the value of tailoring engagement strategies to the needs of different communities
  • First Nations and Traditional Owner Engagement
  • Measuring the success of community engagement efforts is important for ensuring that projects meet communities’ needs.
  • The future of community engagement in the energy sector

It is upon us all in the energy sector to build the relationships…and the social licence…that enables the infrastructure that enables the energy transition to serve all Australians.
– Daniel Westerman, AEMO, May 2023

Social license for energy infrastructure is critical to ensuring the transformation of Australia’s grid is as smooth as possible and not enough attention has been paid to getting this right.
– Minister Chris Bowen, July 2022

Effective community consultation and engagement is essential for large-scale renewable energy and transmission projects to gain widespread support and earn the ‘social license’ to operate within the community.
– Australian Energy Infrastructure Commissioner

When it comes to transmission, social licence is the most important issue we have to face. A near-total rebuild of the grid comes with challenges, particularly for the communities where projects will be built.
– Minister Chris Bowen, May 2023 – Financial Review


Mike Young

Executive Director, Planning and Communities, EnergyCo

Daniel Andersen

General Manager Energy Markets, Powerlink

Gerard Reilly

General Manager for Community, Customer and Engagement, Powerlink

Emma Vogel

Executive Director, AusNet Services

Jacqui Niemand

Head of Stakeholder Relations, ENGIE Australia & New Zealand

Suzanne Waddell

Community and Stakeholder Lead, Project Delivery, VicGrid, Energy, Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action

Llewelyn Owens

Project Director, Bendemeer Energy Renewable Hub

Nevenka Codevelle

Executive General Manager Government and Stakeholder, Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO)

Danielle Beinart

EGM Networks & Technical, Australian Energy Market Commission (AEMC)

David Wilson

Government and Stakeholder Manager (NSW), EnergyAustralia

Michael Johnson

Program Director Stakeholder Relations, Major Projects, TransGrid

Dr. Jarra Hicks

Co-Founder & Executive Director, Community Power Agency

Dominic Luddy

Community and Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Acciona Energía

Owen Boushel

Manager Stakeholder Engagement, Tilt Renewables

Cr Kellie O’Callaghan

Mayor, Latrobe City Council

Glenn Christie

Director and Revegetation Consultant, Succession Ecology

Dr Mark Apthorpe

Electricity Infrastructure Jobs Advocate

Jamie Hagan

First Nations Engagement Manager, Acciona Energía

Melanie Rippon

Community Performance Specialist, CleanCo Queensland

Erin Lord

Stakeholder Engagement Lead, Seadragon Offshore Wind, Flotation Energy

Max Hardy

Founder & Director, Max Hardy Consulting

Paul Johnson

Regional Engagement Manager, Star of the South

Kath Elliott

Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Squadron Energy

Esther Diffey

Technical Director - Social Performance (APAC), SLR Consulting

Dominic Adams

GM Networks, Energy Networks Australia

Michelle Holmes

Community and Stakeholder Manager, Iberdrola Australia

Allan Murray

Principal Consultant, Aboriginal Affairs, WSP

Dr. Rae Dufty-Jones (PhD)

Director, RPS

Michael Frangos

Chief Executive Officer, Indigenous Energy Australia

Sharon Gray

Group Manager, Diversity, Indigenous and Social Inclusion, CPB Contractors


9:00 am

Welcome to the Conference

9:05 am

OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair

Esther Diffey, Technical Director - Social Performance (APAC), SLR Consulting

9:10 am

Welcome to Country

Uncle Allan Madden, Gadigal Elder

9:25 am

This session will canvass EnergyCo’s strategic approach to foster community support in NSW’s Renewable Energy Zones, including:

  • Managing and mitigating impacts on regional communities and landowners;
  • Identifying and delivering genuine benefits for regional communities; and
  • Coordinating the delivery of enabling infrastructure and services to address cumulative impacts.

9:55 am

  • As Australia’s traditional energy assets retire, the new transmission infrastructure we need to deliver renewable energy to consumers will have an impact on many local communities.
  • With 10,000 km of transmission to be built, time is of the essence to develop constructive relationships and attain meaningful social licence to proceed.
  • Danielle will discuss the AEMC’s work on ‘the rules of engagement’ as a vital step in improving community participation in planning decisions and establishing greater confidence and accountability around major projects

10:25 am

Networking and refreshment break

11:05 am

  • People and the energy transition – the big picture context
  • Social licence and infrastructure hosting
  • Community benefit and opportunity
  • Equity, fairness and the transition

11:30 am

  • Building relationships, trust and being in community
  • Drawing out the community voice in decision making
  • Being agile and tailoring engagement to suit the local community
  • Using lessons learnt and demonstrate change

11:55 am

  • Acciona Energia will share their experience in engaging with communities on their wind and solar farm developments
  • Bringing a focus on person-to-person engagement, they will talk about their team make-up and how different skillsets, backgrounds and experience can create stronger connections with communities and stakeholders
  • In particular, this session will talk to the critical importance of strong engagement and support for First Nations communities, and how this needs to come from a place of listening first and a willingness to learn.

12:20 pm

  • Identifying the needs and priorities of local communities in energy infrastructure development projects.
  • Strategies for promoting community engagement and participation in decision-making processes.
  • Best practices for ensuring equitable distribution of benefits and resources to local communities.
  • Exploring innovative financing models for community-led energy infrastructure projects.

1:00 pm

Lunch and networking break

2:00 pm

  • Explain why early community engagement is crucial in the planning stages of offshore wind transmission projects.
  • Local knowledge and concerns can inform project design and decision-making, leading to better solutions.
  • Collaborating with technical teams to integrate community and stakeholder feedback to decision making
  • Working with communities already fatigued by multiple consultations.

2:25 pm

This presentation will draw on benefit sharing case studies to demonstrate:

  • The importance of integrating benefit sharing with community engagement
  • What it can achieve for a community long term
  • The importance of local involvement and ownership
  • Risk and opportunities with benefit sharing programs as they expand in line with the scale of renewable energy developments.

2:50 pm

Where’s your licence? Engagement on major energy projects in the age of social licence

David Wilson, Government and Stakeholder Manager (NSW), EnergyAustralia

3:15 pm

Networking and refreshment break

3:50 pm

  • strategies & examples for deepening the level of participation of communities in renewables projects and the transition more broadly
  • how deeper engagement & participation can lead to great benefits for communities & projects.
  • how renewable energy can build a better future for everyone

4:10 pm

  • Prioritising community informed job creation & industry diversification.
  • Communities leading transition & partnerships.
  • Strength led approaches to embracing a net zero future.

4:30 pm

  • The arrival of Esso in Sale Victoria in the 1960’s
  • The American’s and their influence on housing, menu’s, local businesses and how we spent our time
  • The settling in – transferring skills and jobs onto the local people

4:50 pm

Closing remarks from the Chair

5:00 pm

Networking Function

9:00 am

OPENING | Opening remarks from the Chair

Esther Diffey, Technical Director - Social Performance (APAC), SLR Consulting

9:10 am

  • Creating a social legacy from energy infrastructure will rely on both establishing and maintaining social licence with and delivering shared benefits for local communities
  • To successfully deliver these social outcomes, the planning, delivery and operation of energy infrastructure projects will need to combine both community engagement with social research.
  • Using a community engagement-social research approach creates opportunities to
  • Develop innovative solutions that create additional value from energy infrastructure projects
  • Save costs, reduce burden on community and mitigate risks
  • To realise these opportunities bringing research perspectives to community engagement should (ideally) occur at the planning and design stage but it is never too late to start.

9:30 am

  • The impact of weather on the network of the future
  • Need to consider firming solutions across a wide time duration
  • What are the three key factors that drive social licence in Queensland communities
  • How transmission can build trust within communities
  • A different approach to community investment

9:55 am

Bendemeer Renewable Hub: Engaging with and benefiting communities – key learnings and best practices

Llewelyn Owens, Project Director, Bendemeer Energy Renewable Hub

10:20 am

Building Social Licence – learnings from transmission development

Emma Vogel, Executive Director, AusNet Services

10:45 am

Networking and refreshment break

11:20 am

  • Best practices for consultation and engagement with First Nations and Traditional Owners
  • Examples of successful partnerships between energy companies and Indigenous communities
  • Strategies for incorporating Indigenous knowledge and perspectives into energy development plans
  • Opportunities for economic development and job creation through Indigenous participation in the energy sector.

12:00 pm

Early engagement with communities, best practices and key learnings

Jacqui Niemand, Head of Stakeholder Relations, ENGIE Australia & New Zealand

12:20 pm

Working with communities to develop offshore wind in Gippsland for a clean energy future.

Paul Johnson, Regional Engagement Manager, Star of the South

12:40 pm

  • The Swanbank power precinct is the first coal-fired power station in Queensland to be converted into a clean energy hub
  • Very low levels of trust for most industrial operators in the Swanbank industrial precinct due to an array of ongoing cumulative impacts to host communities
  • Community-led master planning process integrating clean energy, environmental restoration, cultural heritage preservation, and social infrastructure projects
  • Genuine community engagement and investment through Authentic Co-design and Social Impact / Values Assessment.

1:05 pm

Lunch and networking break

2:10 pm

  • The current uneasy dynamic of engagement between renewables, infrastructure & regional communities will be forced to shift due to rapidly increasing temperatures caused by Climate Change
  • Renewables & electrical infrastructure; (panels, turbines, inverters & HV transmission lines), all lose efficiency with increasing temperature
  • The viability of agricultural products & therefore, regional communities is also threatened due to temperature increases as thermal limits/efficiencies are reached in grain & livestock production
  • There is a small but influential body of work that implies landscape scale restoration (a minimum of 2,000 hectares) can stabilise & reduce temperatures plus increase rainfalls by up to 10%; impacting an area 5-10 kilometres around the restoration
  • This landscape scale restoration; (that will be made affordable by the investment of renewables), will increase efficiency for renewables & infrastructure plus increase the resilience of regional communities
  • Renewables, infrastructure & regional communities actually need each other; there’s an interdependence that is being forced into focus…

2:35 pm

PANEL DISCUSSION | Engaging & Maximising Community Benefits: Sharing Benefits with Local Communities

Kath Elliott, Stakeholder Engagement Manager, Squadron Energy

Dominic Adams, GM Networks, Energy Networks Australia

Glenn Christie, Director and Revegetation Consultant, Succession Ecology

3:20 pm

Closing remarks from the Chair

3:30 pm




Packages Price
Package(Two Days)$3595+GST
Virtual Pass$2500+GST

Sponsorship and Exhibition Opportunities

Reconnect and re-engage with your industry peers at the Energy Infrastructure & Community Engagement Conference.

There are many opportunities for networking including social events such as networking drinks, refreshment breaks and lunches, making this not just a conference… but an all encompassing industry “experience”.

Event sponsorship or exhibiting will allow your organisation to:

  • Build relationships with potential and existing clients
  • Generate leads from a high-level, targeted audience
  • Close sales in a more personal manner than via phone
  • Demonstrate your product in person
  • Network with the industry
  • Build brand awareness

To see what is on offer please contact:

Megan Rogulski
Sponsorship Manager
T: +61 (2) 9080 4334

ConnectMe and Streamly

ConnectMe • Networking enhanced
All of our events utilise a bespoke dynamic smartphone app, ConnectMe – which guarantees attendees a premium event experience. Logins are sent prior to the conference commencement allowing you to check who’s attending, schedule in meetings and catch ups, participate in live Q+A and interactive polls, and much more. ConnectMe ensures you never miss a beat prior, during and post event.


Streamly • On-Demand video vault
Streamly is a new video platform from Informa Connect – hosting hours of session recordings from our events and more. Select the Streamly add-on at the checkout to receive year-round access to exclusive On-Demand session recordings from all of our related energy events*. Login information will be sent post event. For more information visit our Streamly page.

* Note: In a minority of cases, speakers may request their sessions to be excluded from Streamly access.


Our Commitment to Sustainability

In Australia, we are committed to running our events in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Across Informa Connect we are focusing on the short and long-term sustainability impacts we have on customers and colleagues alongside the communities we work in.

We recognise that it’s not just about the way we produce our events and products but recognising that we have a role to play in providing a space to work in partnership together with our markets to inspire the sustainable development of the industries we serve.

To read more on our latest sustainability reports and Faster Forward initiatives – click here.

when & where

30 Nov - 01 Dec 2023

Radisson Blu Plaza Sydney
27 O’Connell St,
Sydney NSW 2000
(02) 8214 0000

Bookings can be made directly with hotel reservations department quoting ‘Event Delegate Rate’ and discount code ‘EVEN10’ via email: or Tel 02 8214 0000.

Alternatively, enter EVEN10 into Promotional code under ‘more search options’ when checking for rates and availability on the hotel website.
Please follow the link the venue booking link for bookings : click here.

* Room availability and rates are subject to availability at the time of booking. Please book early to avoid disappointment.
We advise using Chrome as your browser to access this link.


Still have a question?

Sponsorship & Exhibition Opportunities
Megan Rogulski
+61 290 804334

Speaking Enquiries
Aya Mersal
+61 290 804338

Marketing & Media Enquiries
Chris Shorthouse
+61 290 804317

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