Founding chair of major gas/oil producer appointed to clean energy regulator

Kate Vidgen (clean energy regulator)
Image: Peta Anne Photography

Environment minister Angus Taylor has appointed Katherine Vidgen—former chair of major gas and oil producer Quadrant Energy—to Australia’s clean energy regulator, The Guardian reports.

Vidgen’s job history includes heading up WA-based Quadrant Energy (sold to Santos in 2018) as well as serving as the global head of energy principle at Macquarie Capital, overseeing the finance giant’s energy investments.

According to The Guardian, Vidgen appeared in the government directory in her new energy regulator role on June 4, with an appointment date of May 21. The clean energy regulator welcomed the selection in a statement published on its website on June 28, however, Taylor’s office did not make the official announcement until July 13.

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The clean energy regulator is charged with administering legislation aimed at “measuring, managing, reducing or offsetting Australia’s carbon emissions”, with its direction is set by the government.

Presumably to pre-empt criticism of appointing someone with a background of investing in oil and gas projects to the body designed to help cut back Australia’s emissions, Taylor highlighted Vidgen’s investment banking credentials. He described her experience in that role as overseeing “both conventional and new energy investments”, with a focus “on helping traditional industries decarbonise their operations”.

“Ms Vidgen’s appointment will further strengthen the high level of skills and experience of the Clean Energy Regulator’s Board and ensures the schemes the regulator administers continue to support Australia’s emissions reduction goals while strengthening existing industries and driving job creation,” his statement read.

Vidgen has been appointed to the Clean Energy Regulator for a three-year term.