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Squadron Energy has announced changes to its leadership team with the appointment of a new CEO and Chairman.

Former APA Group CEO and Managing Director Rob Wheals has been appointed CEO, while current CEO Jason Willoughby is set to become Chairman of Squadron. 

Mr Wheals has more than 25 years’ experience as a key executive within the energy infrastructure and telecommunications sectors in Australia and internationally.

The move comes as Squadron, which is owned by Andrew and Nicola Forrest’s Tattarang group, announces its plans to grow its focus on collaborating with regional communities to ensure they share in the benefits of renewable energy projects.

Tattarang CEO, John Hartman, said that he was pleased that two of Australia’s highest performing energy infrastructure executives are now at the helm of Australia’s largest renewable energy operator and developer.

“Rob Wheals is highly respected for his strategic and purposeful leadership. He has a strong track record of building sustainable businesses with an inclusive, high-performance culture that drives results,” Mr Hartman said.

“I congratulate Mr Willoughby on his move to Chairman. As well as operating five wind farms delivering 1.1GW, under his leadership Squadron is the only company to finance and start construction on a major wind project in Australia in 2023, we opened Bango Wind Farm and installed the first turbines at Clarke Creek Wind Farm.

“Tattarang is proud of the significant role it is playing in Australia’s step-up to renewables through Squadron Energy.”

Mr Willoughby, who was previously CEO of CWP Renewables and grew up on a property outside Condoblin in western New South Wales, said that as Chairman he would take an active role working with regional communities where Squadron’s projects are located.

“This is a crucial time in Australia’s step-up to renewables and we will ensure that Squadron deepens its best practice approach to working with communities, so locals experience positive outcomes from the renewable energy transition and are able to contribute to it,” Mr Willoughby said.

Mr Wheals said that Squadron Energy is committed to launching new projects that will deliver 14GW of renewable energy by 2030, the capacity of two thirds of Australia’s coal-fired power stations and enough electricity to power the equivalent of six million homes.

“I’m both humbled and excited to be joining an organisation at the forefront of transforming Australia’s energy landscape through the responsible step up to renewables and the enormous economic opportunity that brings for regional communities and the whole country,” Mr Wheals said.

“Squadron is perfectly placed to deliver the firmed renewables that the nation needs to decarbonise.”

Squadron has also announced that it would spearhead the establishment of a mechanism to cover future decommissioning costs, in response to requests by landowners.

While many wind farms will be extended or repowered, Squadron says that funds would be set aside to give landowners peace of mind that sites will be remediated, when required, decades later.

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