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Transpower takes title at Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards

MEDIA RELEASE: 15 AUGUST 2013

Transpower takes premier title at Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards

Special award for Vector Director Bob Thomson

The Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards were held last night in Auckland to recognise achievement and excellence in the New Zealand energy sector.

Over 630 guests attended the black-tie event at the Langham Hotel.

The Minister of Energy and Resources, Hon Simon Bridges, was the guest of honour and keynote speaker at the event. The minister congratulated all the winners and finalists. "The people, the businesses and what we are doing make this one of the most exciting industries that there is," he says.

Transpower won the premier Overall Energy Company of the Year award. According to the judging panel, Transpower was awarded the title for an exceptional year, ensuring the future of the national grid, thereby restoring much needed security and public confidence in New Zealand’s transmission infrastructure. They were recognised for success in all areas of its business including asset management; health and safety; and financial performance. The judges said that the commissioning of pole 3 live in the market was remarkable.

Contact Energy won three awards at last night’s event, including both the Energy Project of the Year and the Environmental Excellence Award for its Wairakei Bioreactor – the culmination of ten years of research and development. The plant – which uses naturally occurring sulphur oxidizing bacteria to reduce hydrogen sulphide levels in water discharged into the Waikato river – is a world first, and has helped Contact to mitigate the environmental impact of its geothermal operations.

Contact Energy also won the Excellence in Health and Safety award. Contact’s step-change revolution in health and safety started back in 2007, and achieved a 60% reduction in workplace injuries through to 2011, and they achieved a further 28% reduction in 2012 alone. 

Shell New Zealand Chairman and Chief Operating Officer Rob Jager was recognised as the Energy Executive of the Year for his outstanding leadership of Shell and the entire petroleum industry this year and years gone by. The judges described Rob as a cheerleader for the industry who put New Zealand back on the map, citing Shell’s exploration in the frontier Great South and New Caledonia Basins.

Bob Thomson received the Energy News editor’s award for outstanding contribution to the sector. Thomson, a Vector director for the past eight years, has spent 50 years in the electricity industry, including almost 16 years running Transpower, both within ECNZ and after its establishment as a separate SOE in 1994.

In 1987 he was appointed to a taskforce charged with developing a commercial structure for the former NZED; he then became ECNZ’s head of transmission.  He would go on to serve on the Wholesale Electricity Market Development Group and was also a director of market operator EMCO for four years from 1994.

Energy News Editor Gavin Evans says Thomson’s biggest contributions to the sector were probably in that first decade with Transpower, which included construction of Pole 2 for the HVDC link and much of the earliest and most challenging market reforms.

Pole 2 – a $568 million development – was one of the country’s largest ever capital projects at the time.

Evans says Thomson was determined to “keep the lights on” for the New Zealand public, but also understood that markets and competition would be the best way of minimising the cost to them.

BP received the Energy Retailer of the Year award for its outstanding year in 2012, leading the industry with its competitive fuel and convenience offers. The judges said this was one of the hardest categories to judge, but it was BP’s exceptional performance above and beyond its own sector that set it apart.

Chairman of the Judging Panel, Richard Westlake, says that the calibre of this year’s entries was very high. “The judging panel has been in the privileged position of seeing the work of New Zealand’s best energy businesses and learning of their successes,” he says. “It was a real challenge to select finalists and ultimately winners from the diversity and high quality of entries.”

The principal sponsor for the event is Deloitte.

Deloitte partner and energy sector leader Paul Callow congratulated all the winners in this year’s Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards.

“Deloitte is thrilled to again be associated with recognising the best and brightest in the energy sector, and the valuable contribution they make to New Zealand’s economy.  The entries in this year’s awards were outstanding and clearly showed that innovation and striving for excellence continues to be well and truly alive in the sector.”

The MC for the evening was TV3 reporter Samantha Hayes, who interviewed special guest New Zealand silver medal winning Olympian Sarah Walker live for the audience.   

The event was attended at an executive level within the energy sector across the electricity, gas and petroleum disciplines.

The event is run annually by Freeman Media, publisher of online news and information service Energy News www.energynews.co.nz  

THE WINNERS:
Innovation in Electricity Award – sponsored by Gentrack
Counties Power – The PAL-GPR System – a fast, accurate and economic precise all-terrain location system          

Energy Project of the Year – sponsored by ITL
Contact Energy – The Wairakei Bioreactor – a world first

Excellence in Health & Safety Award – sponsored by Siemens
Contact Energy – Building a zero harm culture

Environmental Excellence Award – sponsored by PEPANZ
Contact Energy – The Wairakei Bioreactor – a world first

Young Energy Executive of the Year - sponsored by ABB
Karen Frew – Powerco

Energy Executive of the Year – sponsored by Transfield Worley
Rob Jager – Shell New Zealand

Lines Company of the Year – sponsored by TE Connectivity
Northpower

Energy Retailer of the Year – sponsored by Chapman Tripp
BP

Overall Energy Company of the Year – sponsored by Port Taranaki
Transpower

Editor’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Sector – sponsored by MB Century
Bob Thomson

ENDS

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