Mining magnate turned renewables evangelist Andrew Forrest is involved in some of the world’s most eye-catching clean power mega-projects and is quick to hold global leaders’ feet to the fire on green goals.

Forrest, often referred to by his schoolboy nickname ‘Twiggy’, made his fortune in mining in the 1990s through his company Fortescue, which he turned into a global giant in the sector.

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The tycoon has along with his family amassed an $18.7bn fortune, which Forbes says at time of writing puts them second on Australia’s rich list.

But Forrest has pivoted hard to renewables in recent years, setting out a plan in 2020 to transform Fortescue into one of the world’s largest renewables and green hydrogen players with a 235GW operating base.

Forrest is Australia’s biggest green energy investor, a crown he claimed in 2022 through a $2.7bn deal that saw his renewables company Squadron Energy take its operating portfolio to 2.4GW, with a 20GW Australian pipeline.

Forrest often pops up in relation to renewables mega-projects worldwide, including a 9.2GW project to produce green hydrogen and ammonia in Egypt.

He has also been involved in a plan to build a colossal 44GW hydropower and green hydrogen project in the Democratic Republic of Congo that would produce twice as much energy as China’s Three Gorges Dam.

Appropriately for a former amateur boxer, Forrest pulls no punches in his advocacy for renewables.

Last year, he launched a thinly veiled broadside at UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak after he rolled back on green targets, with the Australian warning he’d pull out of the UK if it retreats on climate policies and calling for “proper leaders” for the race to net zero.

A few months later, his company Fortescue took out an ad that ran in national newspapers around the world amid the COP28 climate summit in Dubai. Against the backdrop of an ostrich with its head in the sand, it read: “Oil and gas, here is the science you’ve missed”.

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