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Community is why we are in business

By Theo Afkoudias, CMO

At Sunshine Hydro, technology is important. Important enough to feature in our vision which is “to contribute to the decarbonisation of the planet using technology.”

However, technology is one of four pillars that underpin our vision. The others are of equal importance to us.

They are:

  • Economics – the financial optimisation of projects,
  • Environment – the environmental impact of our projects, and
  • Community -the community impact of our projects.

Technology and economics as ‘how’ we will bring our vision to life. Community and environment are ‘why’ we will bring it to life. Or, more broadly, ‘why’ we are in business. In all organisations, ‘why’ is where the passion lies.

This blog focuses on the community pillar.

We develop large renewables infrastructure projects. By their very nature and size, these projects will impact a community. In order to protect a community, there are frameworks and multiple levels of government regulations to adhere to when a large infrastructure project is rolled out. As there should be. We have internal expert project management resources as well as specialist partners to ensure all regulations are met and that our impact on a community impact is positive.

Satisfying regulations is only part of what dictates the nature of our approach toward community impact. Anyone who spends time talking to our Board about our vision for communities will quickly get a sense of how passionate and sincere they are about the positive impact we intend to make on communities. Jobs, training, business growth, grants, local support programs, etc. We want these opportunities to resonate regionally, state and nation-wide, and globally. We intend to set a high benchmark and lead by example.

A value held so firmly by a board permeates through the company. Anyone who works at Sunshine Hydro is equal in their passion and commitment to communities.

If in this conversation with our Board, one touches on the specific topic of how our operations will impact Traditional Landowners, then a deeper sense of caring is revealed. This also resonates throughout the entire company.

Our ability to share opportunities and add real value to the lives of Traditional Landowners and their communities will grow as we grow. In 2022, as a new-start we proudly co-sponsored the 1770 Festival.

The 1770 Festival is an annual commemorative event held in 1770, Queensland (the “only number on the map in Australia”) around the historic date of 24 May 1770.

“253 years ago, Lt (later Captain) James Cook and his crew of the HMB Endeavour landed on the East Coast shore at the point now named 1770, experiencing their first Encounters in Country with the local Gooreng Gooreng people before sailing away on further historic global explorations.”  Source / See more

There was little to no chance our Chairperson, Michael Myer, would miss this event. He was also honoured to be invited to share a speech. In this speech, he described the significance of holding the festival at Agnes Water near the very place Cook landed some 250 years ago and where the dispossession and oppression, and the sad history and the legacy with which we are still living, began.

At Sunshine Hydro, making a positive impact on a community also means standing with and speaking out.


Images Left to Right:

Image 1 -The Flavian Superhybrid™ Project was renamed at a Naming Ceremony with the Traditional Owners (Gidargil Development Corporation) and partner Burnett Mary Regional Group. The Traditional Owners gave their blessing to the name Djandori gung-I (which is broadly translated as Spirit in the Water). Left to Right; Sheila Charsworth (Burnett Mary Regional Group), Rick McElhinney (Sunshine Hydro) Michael Myer (Sunshine Hydro) and Dr Kerry Blackman (Gidargil Development Corporation).

Image 2 – A Smoking Ceremony at The 1770 Festival.

Image 3 – Sunshine Hydro team members at The 1770 Festival. Left to Right: Michael Myer and Chris Baker

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Our story so far

The first tender shoots of the idea for this company started when I was living in a sustainable community. The community needed energy storage and I started looking at how that might be done. First I envisaged a micro pumped hydro station. However, the more I explored these ideas, the bigger things became and the possibilities of what could be achieved increased. It soon became clear that I needed a company with like-minded individuals to carry this forward, and so Sunshine Hydro was born.