MEET ALISON – CEO The Australian Energy Foundation

A long-time featured guest and wonderful supporter of the Transitions Film Festival, Alison Rowe is currently the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Australian Energy Foundation

Alison was formerly the Global Executive Director Sustainability at Fujitsu Limited where she was responsible for the development and implementation of the global sustainability strategy. Alison is also currently Chair of the Infrastructure Sustainability Council Australia. 

She was previously the inaugural Chair of the Future Business Council and held Non-Executive Director positions at Bioregional Australia, Climate Alliance, Environment Victoria and One in Five.

We caught up with Alison to learn more about The Australian Energy Foundation and its vision to create a sustainable, zero-emissions Australia. 

What is the Australian Energy Foundation? 

We are the leading national energy foundation accelerating the energy transition by empowering communities to take action. We help drive large scale uptake of energy efficiency and investment in renewable energy with a vision of an equitable zero carbon society across Australia.

How did you come to be involved with the AEF/MEFL? 

I’ve been aware of MEFL’s work for a long time. I’m very proud to be here and leading such a passionate team of people.

What impact does the AEF hope to have over the next two years and beyond?

Over the next two years we see ourselves working with even more local councils and communities who declare a climate emergency and supporting them in their energy transition. For example we’ve recently partnered with Noosa Council – our first Queensland based council and we are very excited to be expanding into Queensland and sharing our message there.

The Australian Energy Foundation used to be the Moreland Energy Foundation, can you tell us a bit more about how it evolved?

Whilst Moreland will always be our heartland, we wanted to acknowledge that we reach beyond this municipality with our work. We also wanted to take a bold step in becoming the national leader for energy organisations and our name change has given us the permission to be bold, create big goals and plans for our organisation.

The AEF has a positive impact on the client, as well as for the disadvantaged, can you tell us a bit more about that?

With our vision for an equitable zero carbon society, we recognise that many renewable initiatives can be out of reach for some of our community. We find pathways for all residents of Australia to transition to renewable energy and live in energy efficient homes. For example we have developed programs for apartment dwellers and renters to be able to access solar and we do a large volume of work on low income households helping to make their homes more energy efficient.

What are the barriers to the AEF achieving its mission and how can they be overcome? 

With more communities demanding action from their local council and more councils declaring a climate emergency, we are seeing the barriers coming down. We need this to continue and it’s really exciting to see more and more Australians becoming climate aware and demanding more from their government. We are now seeing large corporates taking action too which is amazing. We are working with some big businesses now to help support their employees through salary sacrificing and helping the businesses themselves develop their own Climate Emergency declaration and action plans.

How can people get involved with the AEF and what projects are you currently working on?

There’s lots of ways to get involved. You could become a member of the AEF and be involved at our AGMs, we also have volunteering opportunities to work with us. Everyone should check our website to see if your council is already subscribed to AEF and if not, speak to them, ask them to declare a climate emergency and ask them to join the AEF. You can also call our energy advice centre to get a quote for solar or energy efficiency products for your own home.

Alison Rowe is featuring on the Cooked: Survival by Zipcode panel on Friday the 28th of February at Cinema Nova, with Toby Kent (CEO of Resilient Melbourne) Kate Siebert (State Manager of Emergency Services, Red Cross) and Halley McCann (Arup) book your tickets here.