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Balancing the books on big solar’s weather risk

In this pv magazine Webinar panel discussion, we will discuss how to future-proof utility-scale solar and balance risk allocation across stakeholders, including technological and operational choices that can be made to mitigate extreme weather risks.


We need renewable energy to combat climate change, yet our changing climate is already impacting the viability of renewable energy projects, particularly utility-scale solar. Hail storms, flooding, severe winds – the escalation of extreme weather is already causing an insurability crisis in Australia, pushing up premiums and seeing insurers limit coverage, and conditions are only set to worsen.

At the same time, solar farms are becoming bigger and increasingly aggregated in Renewable Energy Zones. While this approach helps with logistics, clustering assets also means clustering risk. Plus, all of this is unfolding on the backdrop of slimmer margins as daytime wholesale energy prices plunge and competition grows more fierce.

This is to say, the question of how to future-proof utility-scale solar is an urgent one. How do we more fairly balance risk allocation across stakeholders? What technological and operational choices can be made to mitigate extreme weather risks? And, given what’s at stake, how do we start to think bigger and more collaboratively?

Leaders from across the stakeholder chain, including insurers, lenders, project developers, contractors, and technology suppliers will come together to discuss these questions during this panel.

pv magazine Webinar content:

  • Utility-scale solar’s insurability crisis
  • How the industry can mitigate against weather risk using technology
  • Balancing risks between stakeholders
  • Getting comfortable with risk and opening early discussions
  • Q&A

Attendees will have the opportunity to put their questions to the speakers following the panel discussion. Bella Peacock, editor at pv magazine Australia moderate the webinar.

Registration for this pv magazine Webinar is free of charge.


Simon Currie | Co-Founder & Chief Projects Officer, Energy Estate

Simon is the co-founder of Energy Estate, an integrated zero carbon independent energy producer (IEP) focused on accelerating decarbonisation, driving innovation and delivering with respect and impact. Simon and his team are passionate advocates for increasing local content and ensuring that renewable energy projects deliver enduring outcomes for local communities and traditional owners.

Neil Fraser | Executive Director of Natural Resources & Energy, Commonwealth Bank

Neil Fraser is an Executive Director, Natural Resources and Energy – Institutional Banking and Markets for the Commonwealth Bank. Neil heads the Australian and New Zealand Energy team which manages the relationships with corporate clients and provides structured project finance for renewable energy assets.

Pat Behan | National Renewable Energy Leader, AON

Pat currently Leads Aon’s Renewable Energy proposition in the Pacific region and brings a wealth of experience as an insurance and risk advisor to a large portfolio of Renewable Energy clients. Pat has been involved in the Insurance Industry for over 20 years across a number of roles including Engineering, Underwriting and Broking. The past 14 years has been focused primarily on Renewable Energy projects and accounts across Europe and the Pacific region.

Anna Hedgcock | Head of Portfolio Growth and Commercial, ENGIE ANZ

As Head of Portfolio Growth & Commercial for ENGIE ANZ, Anna is responsible for the growth and maturity of ENGIE’s Australian renewable portfolio and for leading commercial management and advisory as it relates to major contracting and supplier engagement. A former lawyer, Anna started in the energy industry 7 years ago and has since worked in a variety of legal and commercial roles both here and abroad. She is passionate about renewable energy and believes there is space in the industry for an incredible number of diverse voices and perspectives.

James Butcher | Manager of Engineering Services, Nextracker

James leads Nextracker's engineering team in the APAC region and is responsible for engineering design and construction and operational engineering support for Nextracker’s solar tracking systems and foundations. With a background in Geotechnical Engineering, James has more than 15 years’ experience and has been involved in geotechnical investigation and foundation design of utility solar farm projects in Australia since 2010. This includes working on some of the first utility scale solar farms and the first tracker projects in the country like Nyngan, Broken Hill, and Moree solar farms. At Nextracker, James now works across all aspects of solar tracker design.


Bella Peacock | Editor, pv magazine Australia

Bella completed her MA in English Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin, living and working in Berlin and Sarajevo for four years before returning home to Australia in 2019. She joined pv magazine Australia in 2020, after 18 months working as a digital producer for Nine, and has since become completely engrossed by the world of renewable energy, technology and sustainability. Bella has completed a BA in Media Arts & Production at Sydney’s University of Technology.

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