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Clenergy Interviews Ria O’Hehir, CEO of Greenbank Environmental

Monday June 26, 2023 at 4:13 pm

Clenergy, a leading solution provider in the solar industry, had the privilege of interviewing Ria O’Hehir, CEO of Greenbank Environmental, one of Australia’s first and largest independent environmental traders. The interview sheds light on Ms O’Hehir’s remarkable professional journey, the legacy of her family business, and her extensive leadership experience in driving the renewable energy transition.

Professional journey and family business legacy

With 17 Years of experience in the renewable energy industry, Ms O’Hehir spoke about her driving force and commitment to making a positive environmental impact. As the CEO of Greenbank Environmental, her motivation stems from ensuring the success and satisfaction of her customers, who rely on timely payment processing and certificate registration.

Greenbank Environmental began as a part-time venture initiated by Ms O’Hehir’s mother, Fiona O’Hehir, who recognised the need for environmental solutions and embarked on a journey to address sustainability challenges. Ms O’Hehir, sharing her mother’s passion for environmental conversation, joined the company in 2005 after leaving her previous job.

Throughout their journey together, Ms O’Hehir found working with her family to be an amazing experience. “As my mother retired from active operations, she transitioned into a mentorship role, providing invaluable guidance and wisdom as I stepped into the position of CEO,” said Ms O’Hehir.

She has since spearheaded initiatives that enable a range of stakeholders – from wind and solar farms to installers and carbon farmers – to bring their environmental units and certificates to market effectively. In 2022, Ms O’Hehir accepted a board position on the Smart Energy Council.

About Greenbank Environmental

The longest-standing environmental trading company in Australia, Greenbank assists clients in creating environmental certificates across the five domestic environmental markets in renewables, energy efficiency and carbon. “We process and register Small-scale Technology Certificates (STCs), Victorian Energy Efficiency Certificates (VEECs) and the NSW Energy Savings Scheme (ESCs). Additionally, we are involved in trading Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) and Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs),” said Ms O’Hehir.

The company acts as an intermediary, facilitating the exchange of certificates between sellers and buyers. Homeowners who have installed renewable energy systems, such as solar panels, assign their certificates to Greenbank Environmental, which registers them with the relevant regulatory bodies, such as the clean energy regulator or state-based regulators. After a waiting period of around five to six weeks, the certificates become available for trading.

Greenbank Environmental and the Carbon Abatement Scheme

Green Bank Environmental is actively involved in the Australian carbon abatement space, specifically within the framework of the Carbon Abatement Scheme and the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). “The scheme encompasses various activities, including carbon farming, which involves capturing carbon from the atmosphere through different methods. Carbon farming can include planting trees, capturing and destroying methane emissions from piggeries, soil carbon sequestration, and more,” said Ms O’Hehir.

To ensure emissions reductions aren’t displaced by a rise in emissions elsewhere in the economy, the ERF includes a safeguard mechanism, which encourages large businesses to keep their emissions within historical levels.

“Greenbank is also looking at Blue Carbon ecosystems, which are hugely instrumental in mitigating climate change,” said Ms O’Hehir. “It involves conserving or restoring coastal wetlands, swamps, and estuaries to sequester carbon and protect ecosystems like the Great Barrier Reef. Farmers can reduce pollution runoff into estuaries and generate certificates as a result.”

Sentiment in Australia regarding global warming

When asked about the sentiment in Australia regarding global warming and climate change, Ms O’Hehir commented, “Since COP26, there has been increased awareness about climate change among different generations. It is on the agenda and a topic of discussion for many people. However, the cost of living is also a significant concern for Australians, making it challenging to prioritise climate change initiatives.”

Communicating with different generations through innovative cardboard banners

Ms O’Hehir has been using creative cardboard banners over the past year to effectively communicate with various generations about energy efficiency, renewable energy and political matters. “These cardboards have garnered significant attention, with one of them receiving over 65,000 views on LinkedIn,” said Ms O’Hehir.

Engaging new generations in climate change mitigation

Highlighting the challenges faced by younger generations, particularly concerning affordability and the environment, Ms O’Hehir emphasised the importance of offset markets as a means for individuals to contribute to sustainability efforts. “We need innovative educational programs, including those implemented in schools, to educate children about waste management, recycling and reuse,” said Ms O’Hehir. Another approach mentioned was encouraging children to grow their own food and reconnect with nature, thus emphasising the importance of understanding where resources come from.

Accelerating progress towards carbon capture targets

To accelerate progress toward carbon capture targets, the conversation highlighted the need to streamline bureaucratic processes and reduce green tape to facilitate faster implementation of sustainable initiatives. Ms O’Hehir emphasised the importance of manpower and fuel resources to achieve these targets and stressed the importance of short-term goals with a long-term view.

“It’s going to come down to the policymakers in delivering a coherent message and tailored plan for each state,” said Ms O’Hehir. Effective resource allocation, particularly in terms of workforce and education, is essential for deploying and delivering renewable energy projects.

In conclusion, Clenergy expresses its sincere appreciation to Ms O’Hehir for sharing her invaluable insights and her unwavering dedication to driving the renewable energy transition through Greenbank Environmental.

Convos with Clenergy I Ria O’Hehir is available below.


About Clenergy
Founded in Melbourne, Australia, with offices and factories across China, Japan, the Philippines, Thailand and Germany, Clenergy is an enabler for governments, the public sector & enterprises seeking carbon neutrality. We believe in a sustainable, clean energy-powered future. We continue to reinvent our approach and innovate through our technology and service to reach this mission.

For more information, please contact:

Samir Jacob
Global Marketing Manager
Phone: +61 3 9239 8088 Ext. 180
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Email: [email protected]