Meet Alex Kirkham: Climate Project Innovation Lead – Energy

25 March 2024
Climate Connect Aotearoa
Our Team

In part of an ongoing series we meet the team behind Climate Connect Aotearoa. Meet Alex Kirkham, our new Climate Project Innovation Lead – Energy.

Alex Kirkham CCA

Tell us about your role with Climate Connect Aotearoa? 

My role involves working with community innovators, mana whenua, businesses and government to find opportunities to improve access to affordable, renewable energy sources, and help energy decarbonisation projects get off the ground. My current focus is working on a community energy sharing project with our partners Ara Ake and Counties Energy, which I am really excited about as it means both working on the ground in the community to communicate the benefits of energy sharing, as well as working on the project management of a large infrastructure and technical solution. 

How did you arrive at a career in climate action? 

After working as a journalist for a while, I did some further study in environmental management at Melbourne University. I worked in waste regulation and policy at the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria where there was a big focus on environmental justice and restoration for those who have been impacted by pollution offences. I continued working in waste strategy when I joined Auckland Council, where I had a small opportunity to contribute to the waste actions in Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan.  I could see how much amazing work was on the horizon, and I've been wanting to help address some of the impacts climate change will have on those who don't have the resources to prepare, along with the cost the transition will have on some parts of our community.   

 What’s one thing you hope to achieve through Climate Connect Aotearoa? 

I hope that we can pilot a new way of generating and using renewable energy that really influences the market. There are a lot of moving parts that need to come together to make this project a success, but there is also a lot of passion and willingness to collaborate within the energy sector, so I am very hopeful. The pilot will generate and store power close to where people live and build resilience for communities, particularly at times when grid energy is more expensive due to high demand.  I hope that the project will demonstrate how we can challenge and change current economic models to deliver better outcomes for energy consumers and our emissions in the future. 

What drives you to do this mahi? 

Working on big complex problems like climate change can be weighty on your soul, but collaborating with others who are passionate, who really care about people and the planet, and are able to break some of the challenges we face into workable chunks is very rewarding. 

Whāia ngā kōrero hou mai i Climate Connect Aotearoa
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