In conversation with Shane Wilkins, CEO, Yurringa Energy

In conversation with Shane Wilkins, CEO, Yurringa Energy

In conversation with Shane Wilkins, CEO, Yurringa Energy

In conversation with Shane Wilkins, CEO, Yurringa Energy


In a recent interview with Shane Wilkins, the CEO of Yurringa Energy, we dove into the heart of his passion for renewable energy and the great potential it has to play a role in empowering the Indigenous communities in the Goulburn Murray region. The interview, led by Valorify Project Manager Lisa Owens, gave us an insight into Wilkins’ journey with the Goulburn Murray Woka Yurringa (GMWY) project. Here’s what we learnt:

Pioneering Green Energy in Indigenous Communities
Shane spoke of the origins of the GMWYP project. It started five years ago when Yurringa Energy’s Founding Director, Daniel Briggs, and Scott Grierson, CEO of Pacific Heat and Power (now Valorify), envisioned a renewable energy solution for the Goulburn Murray region. Their intent was to create an equitable business model that would include Indigenous entities more profoundly, going beyond mere employment.

As the CEO of Yurringa Energy, Wilkins’ role is to provide strategic and commercial support to the project, ensuring maximum participation from First Nations businesses. He also highlighted that the GMWY project is a vital stepping-stone for Yurringa Energy in the renewable energy landscape, setting the stage for similar projects in the future.

The Drive for Renewable Energy
The urgency of climate change and its impacts are what drive Wilkins towards renewable energy. With increasing climate anomalies globally, he believes his role allows him to contribute creatively and pragmatically to this pressing issue. More importantly, he envisions First Nations people leading this space, adding a blend of cultural and commercial value to it.

The Region’s Natural Assets
When asked about the natural assets that are beneficial for the project, Wilkins pointed out the fertile land underpinning the region’s strong agricultural and horticultural sector. He also acknowledged the ongoing investments focusing on sustainable food, irrigation practices, and Agtech.

The region’s demographic strength lies in its young families, which is currently about 3% above the regional Victorian average. However, Wilkins was quick to emphasise the cultural asset of the Yorta Yorta people and their resilience to adapt and overcome challenges.

Excitement and Anticipation
What excites Wilkins most about the GMWY project is not just the prospect of clean and renewable energy production but also the opportunity to inspire the next generation of First Nations entrepreneurs. He believes that projects like GMWY, with Yurringa Energy working in partnership with Valorify, are instrumental in bringing First Nations people into an industry where they’ve historically been underrepresented.

Indigenous Involvement: A Keystone for Progress
For the Goulburn Murray region, which has the largest regional population of First Nations people in Victoria, Indigenous involvement is essential. Wilkins highlights how this project, among other Indigenous-led initiatives, aligns with plans such as the Goulburn Murray Regional Prosperity Plan. These initiatives create pathways for understanding and respect for the cultural and economic contributions of the Yorta Yorta and First Nations people more generally.

Wilkins sees the GMWY project as a significant stride towards a greener future for Australia. It not only addresses global environmental issues but also provides a model for the active participation and leadership of Indigenous communities in the renewable energy industry. As the project progresses, he looks forward to witnessing its positive ripple effects.

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