Louisiana and southeastern Australia may be half a world apart, but both have suffered from the early effects of climate change. From land erosion, flooding, and hurricanes to wildfires and droughts, both regions face a rapidly changing climate – yet they still remain tied to fossil fuels for most of their energy needs.
In the fourth episode of Navigating to Net Zero, host Rebecca Darst talks with Robert “Robbie” R. LaBorde, Jr. and Sybil Montegut of Cleco, alongside Scott Ryan and Gina Pavlovic of Endeavour Energy, about how the two Macquarie Asset Management-backed companies are keeping the lights on in their respective regions while making electric grids more sustainable and reducing their reliance on coal – all while ensuring electricity remains affordable and reliable.
We can’t turn off the coal generation tomorrow, but we all have an ambition to have a transition. There’s a huge shift underway and it’s so exciting to be a part of it.”
- Scott Ryan, Endeavour Energy
Scott Ryan, Chief Asset & Operating Officer, Endeavour Energy
Scott Ryan is responsible for grid transformation, asset management and delivery operations for the safe and reliable supply of electricity to Endeavour Energy's customers. Scott began his career as a Cadet Engineer in 1989 and held a wide range of positions before assuming his current role in March 2020. He leads a team of 1,100 employees and has led major reform efforts for Endeavour’s workforce and operations. He also established Endeavour’s unregulated business, Ausconnex, which under his leadership has seen revenue grow by as much as 70 per cent annually.
Gina Pavlovic, Manager, Sustainability and Environment, Endeavour Energy
Gina joined Endeavour Energy as Manager, Sustainability and Environment, in February 2021, and is responsible for leading the development of their inaugural Sustainability Strategy. She helped the company secure a landmark sustainability-linked loan in 2022, as well as earn a five-star rating in 2021 and 2022 from GRESB, a global sustainability benchmarking organisation. Gina holds a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Sydney and has worked for a number of large community service and infrastructure businesses. Before joining Endeavour, Gina was the Sustainability and Environment Manager for the City of Sydney.
About Endeavour Energy
Endeavour Energy provides electricity for more than 2.7 million people in southeastern Australia. The company’s network spans more than 25,000 square kilometres, and is made up of more than 430,000 power poles and streetlight columns, 207 major substations and 32,600 distribution substations connected by nearly 60,600 kilometres – more than the distance from Sydney to London and back – of underground and overhead cables. The network is also integrated with renewable energy sources, including 220,000 residential solar connections, industrial solar, and large-scale batteries. Learn more about Endeavour Energy here.*
It will be a big transition. We are [Louisiana] considered an oil and gas state, so getting to net zero carbon emissions in this environment is not going to be an easy task.
- Sybil Montegut, Cleco
Sybil Montegut, Vice President of Enterprise Analytics and Innovation, Cleco
Sybil Montegut is responsible for driving performance through innovative and data-driven solutions, providing key insights and analysis for decision making to support strategic initiatives that impact the overall success of the company. She joined Cleco in 2008 and has held positions in corporate taxation, corporate analytics, investor relations, and the transformation office. She was the project lead for Cleco’s $US1 billion acquisition of Cleco Cajun (formerly known as NRG South Central Generating LLC) in 2019, and she worked on the privatisation of Cleco Corporation in 2016. Sybil serves as the vice chair for Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and is on the advisory board for Louisiana Clean Fuels. She also serves on local nonprofit boards in her community.
Robert “Robbie” R. LaBorde, Jr., Chief Operations and Sustainability Officer, Cleco
Robbie LaBorde oversees Cleco’s daily power generation operations, transmission operations, and sustainability efforts. A veteran of the energy industry, he joined Cleco in July 1991 and served in several leadership positions before assuming his current role in February 2022. Robbie is a member of the Edison Electric Institute, Association of Edison Illuminating Companies, and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry. He also serves on numerous nonprofit boards and is active in youth programs throughout his community.
Cleco Corporate Holdings LLC is a regional energy holding company that has been in business since 1935. Based in Pineville, Louisiana, the company has roughly 1,300 employees and operates as Cleco Power, a regulated electric public utility that serves approximately 290,000 customers, and Cleco Cajun, an unregulated utility company that serves electric cooperatives, municipalities, an electric utility, and a nonprofit corporation. Learn more about Cleco here.*
Episode content recorded November 2022.
Navigating to Net Zero podcast series
Hear unique insights from leaders on their businesses' decarbonisation challenges and the practical climate solutions they are implementing.