“No-one in Australia knows more about renewable energy financing than Oliver Yates.” These were the words the ASC chose to announce this significant addition to its board of directors today.
Yates fills the vacancy left by Chris Taylor, the Managing Director of solar hot water system manufacturer Apricus Australia.
Yates has worked in the financial sector for over 20 years, including with the Macquarie Bank where he established the bank’s renewable energy investment activities. He was the CEO of the CEFC for five years, a position he held until April of this year.
The move comes after Yates, a Liberal Party supporter, has become increasingly strident in his criticism of the current Commonwealth Government’s climate policies. He recently loudly protested a stunt in which Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison was presented with a mock ‘lump of coal’ in celebration of his government’s support of the coal industry. Yates was ejected from the event.
“If we don’t address climate change and start to reduce our emissions, then it’s likely that billions of families could be forced to move home unnecessarily,” Yates told the Sydney Morning Herald in the wake of the event. “[I] cannot understand how Liberals would knowingly inflict damage on others when they have a perfectly workable economic cure in front of them,” he continued.
Yates is the son of former Liberal Parliamentarian William Yates.
The ASC itself has been particularly forthright in its political advocacy in support of the solar industry in recent years. Campaigning vigorously in state and federal election campaigns, the ASC has targeted marginal electorates in an attempt to swing favour towards parties with a supportive stance on renewables and PV.
The ASC recently came out in support of the Queensland Labor Party’s renewables platform which includes a renewable energy penetration of at least 50% by 2030; $50 million in support of a new CSP facility;, a $40 million program to develop 35 MW on school rooftops; and the establishment of a government utility, CleanCo, to develop and own renewable generation assets.
Yates is currently serving as an Executive Director at UPC Renewables, a global investor in large scale renewables. UPC Renewables launched in Australia in September.