The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) and Deutsche Messe have wrapped up the 34th annual CanWEA Conference and Exhibition by honoring a number of renewable energy stakeholders.
On Thursday at the event, the association recognized six award winners: the R.J. Templin Award, Matt Holder Community Connection Award, Individual Leadership Award, Group Leadership Award, Wind Energy Project of the Year, and Friend of Wind Award. CanWEA’s partner organization, Women in Renewable Energy (WiRE), also announced this year’s Wind Power Woman of Distinction.
Friends of Wind Award: Doug Smith
Doug Smith is a landowner on the North Kent Wind project in the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, and a vocal wind energy advocate. His daughter, Meredith Halfpenny, also works in the wind industry.
Wind Energy Project Award: Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n (Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. / Mi’gmawei Mawiomi Business Corp.)
In partnership with the Mi’gmaq communities of Gesgapegiag, Gespeg and Listuguj, in 2015, Innergex built the 150 MW Mesgi’g Ugju’s’n project in the Regional County Municipality of Avignon, Quebec. The name means “Big Wind” in the Mi’gmaq language, and it is the first Gaspésie wind farm developed in partnership with an Indigenous community. In construction, the project employed 389 people – 113 of whom came from Mi’gmaq communities and an additional 225 from the surrounding region. The project will generate more than C$200 million in revenue for Mi’gmaq communities over the coming decades while providing clean power for approximately 30,000 homes.
Group Leadership Award: 20/20 Catalysts Program
20/20 Catalysts is a program that directly increases the capacity of Indigenous people, organizations and communities to develop wind and other clean energy projects. Now in its third year, the 20/20 Catalysts Program has connected some 60 Indigenous participants with wind stakeholders. To date, seven of the catalysts who have emerged from the program are now involved in the development of wind projects. The initiative is a program of Indigenous Clean Energy, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing Indigenous inclusion in Canada’s energy economy.
Individual Leadership Award: Chris Martin
A wind energy health and safety professional in Canada, Chris Martin has a 20-year career including stops at NextEra and TransAlta. He’s also worked for 15 years volunteering for fire rescue services in his community, helping crews understand how best to manage and respond to a potential wind turbine up-tower emergency. At TransAlta, Chris was instrumental in launching CanWEA’s operations and maintenance program, and he also served for many years on Canadian Standards Association committees as they shaped standards that impact health and safety at wind farms.
Matt Holder Community Connection Award: Robbie Thibodeau
On a regular basis, the plant manager for the 99 MW West Cape and 9 MW Norway wind parks visits with landowners hosting turbines on their properties in Price Edward Island. He promotes the benefits of wind and also volunteers in community events. He has been with ENGIE for close to 12 years.
R.J. Templin Award: Dr. Francis Pelletier
Three years ago, Dr. Francis Pelletier co-founded Arista Renewable Energies, which has grown into an independent consultancy offering performance improvement and reliability solutions to wind farm owners and operators in Canada. This spring, Power Factors LLC, a California-based provider of renewable energy performance management software, acquired the company. Pelletier has also participated directly in multiple stages of wind project development, construction and operation.
WiRE Wind Power Woman of Distinction: Colleen Giroux-Schmidt
Colleen Giroux-Schmidt has over 15 years of experience in resource development. As vice president of corporate relations for Innergex Renewable Energy Inc., she leads the engagement and relationship activities with all levels of government, Indigenous communities, local communities, strategic partners and other stakeholders. She oversees policy research and advocacy aimed at increasing renewable energy opportunities to help jurisdictions meet climate change goals.
Each year CanWEA recognizes clean energy leaders for their contributions to the Canadian wind industry. Check the CanWEA Awards page for a full list of winners, finalists and past winners.