Ada Lovelace Day 2020: Sustainable Energy & Water

How do we develop sustainability in energy and water policy? What are our biggest challenges and successes so far?

Watch our discussion about the state of sustainable energy and water with Kaapua Smith, Head of Sustainability for Contact Energy, Andy Blair, the President of the International Geothermal Association and a founder member of Women In Geothermal (WING), Dr Eva Abal, Chief Executive Officer at International RiverFoundation, and Dr Deborah Nias, CEO at Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd.

Our speakers

Andy Blair

President of the International Geothermal Association and a founder member of Women In Geothermal (WING)

Andy BlairAndy is the President of the International Geothermal Association (Germany) and co-founder of Upflow (NZ), a geothermal science, research and innovation company that builds expert teams to provide intelligent solutions to global industry. The nexus between science, business and community is where her expertise sits. She has a deep understanding of the drivers relating to the business of science, and a proven ability to turn scientific ideas into economic gains. Andrea is a Senior Geothermal and Gender Advisor for the World Bank.

In her previous role as Business Development Manager at GNS Science (NZ) she was responsible for leading and coordinating sub-surface geothermal geoscience contracts worldwide for over 10 years.

Awarded the role of Geothermal Business Development Lead for New Zealand (2017-2020), she was tasked with driving commercial investment in geothermal industrial direct use projects. The desired outcome was the development of large projects with significant positive impacts on local economies, communities and the environment.

Andy has experience in leading strategic planning and tactical thinking across several industries including governance roles that required strategic investment decision making. This includes chairing the commercial arm of a Māori organisation with a significant geothermal asset base (~$500m).

A co-founder and Global Chair of Women in Geothermal (WING) (2013-2020), Andy grew the organisation from 83 members to over 1800 members in 48 countries worldwide, making it the single largest geothermal association in the world. A not-for-profit organisation, WING has grown into a global movement of people, both men and woman, supporting the empowerment and advancement of women within the industry

Andy is a Director for the Geothermal Resources Association (US) and Advisory Board Member for The Rogue Bore (NZ) a geothermal brewery.

Dr Eva Abal

Chief Executive Officer at International RiverFoundation

Dr Eva AbalEva served as the Strategic Science Director for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation for 9 years, where she worked very closely with the CEO, which aims to understand and promote resilient reef ecosystems adapting to climate change. Eva’s experience also includes over 15 years as Science Director, overseeing the Science/Innovation Program and Ecosystem Health Monitoring activities of the South East Queensland Healthy Waterways Partnership (SEQHWP) in Australia.

Through the International Water Centre, Eva works with the Asian Development Bank (Manila) as one of the lead authors in the Asia Water Development Outlook in the 2013 and 2016 releases. Eva has been invited as keynote/plenary speaker in a number of water-related forums internationally, such as recently the 2016 International Water Congress 2016 the Asia Pacific Judges Network on Environment Symposium held within the Asian Development Bank in October 2016 and the 3rd international River Summit held in Cagayan de Oro City in November 2016.

Dr Deborah Nias

CEO at Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group Ltd.

Dr Deb NiasDeborah has led the pioneering work of the Murray Darling Wetlands Working Group in Australia for over 20 years. She holds a PhD in carbon dynamics of floodplain wetlands from Monash University, is a Churchill Fellow, a Peter Cullen Trust Fellow and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Her experience includes managing environmental water, delivering large on-ground projects, project management, Board governance, wetland ecology, community engagement, government liaison and management of multi-discipline teams. Deborah’s Board roles include the International River Foundation, Wetland Care Australia and Women in Technology South Australia. She has been an advisor for Water for Nature South Australia, the Strategic Thinkers Group of Murray Darling Basin Authority and various other government committees related to environmental water management. She believes good science and genuine community engagement should underpin all natural resource management.

Follow Deborah on Twitter: @debnias

Kaapua Smith

Head of Sustainability for Contact Energy

Kaapua SmithKaapua Smith (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Apa, Ngāti Awa) is Head of Sustainability at Contact Energy, and oversees the Environment, Communities, Tangata Whenua Engagement, Sustainability, Property and Land functions of the business.

Her background is in research, policy and communications. A graduate of the University of Auckland (UoA), she has worked for a range of indigenous and public/government organisations such as the International Institute for Māori and Indigenous Education and Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga Centre of Research Excellence at The University of Auckland where she was a researcher and project manager; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the Ministry of Māori  Development as a policy advisor; and Maori Television as a researcher for current affairs programme Native Affairs.

Immediately prior to joining Contact Energy, Kaapua worked as a media and political advisor to the Minister of Maori Affairs Hon Dr. Pita Sharples, and Minister of Whānau Ora, Hon. Tariana Turia in New Zealand.

Kaapua is actively involved in community and voluntary organisations, and is particularly passionate about rangatahi (youth), hapū (sub-tribal) and iwi (tribal) development. She is a regional and national Judge for the annual Ngā Manu Kōrero secondary school Māori speech competitions, and is currently a Trustee on Nga Wairiki ki Uta Charitable Trust, which is a hapū (sub-tribal) governance entity in Whanganui. Kaapua is also Vice-President Wahine of the Māori Party.