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News & Media > Alumnae Awards > 2024 Alumnae Award Recipients > Professor Dr Penelope Crossley (1998)

Professor Dr Penelope Crossley (1998)

2024 Alumnae Winner for Professional Achievement/Academia

Professor Penelope Crossley, University of Sydney Professor of Energy Law, ARC Senior Research Fellow, and Sydney Law School’s Director of Alumni Engagement, is an award-winning energy law academic and an international expert in the complex legal issues associated with the energy transition, including renewable energy and energy storage law, and electricity market governance.

Professor Crossley is passionate about making real world impact through her research, educating future energy lawyers, and fostering deep connections with industry and the legal profession. She is known for her sustained engagement with industry and government stakeholders, and for developing recommendations that have been directly adopted into law, international policy documents, and consumer guides.

In her last year at MLC School, Penelope was awarded one of the most prestigious awards available to a NSW school student, the Certificate of Commendation from the Order of Australia Association (NSW Branch) for ‘exceptional service to the community or service to Australia’. The award, one of only 20 given annually, was presented by the Governor of NSW at a ceremony at Government House. Reporting on her achievement in Lucis 1998-3, Penelope was described as having displayed 'humility, social awareness and compassion within the community and throughout her School life.' 

While in Year 11, Penelope received a Certificate of Commendation from the Royal Life Saving Society, Australia for her efforts in attempting to save the life of a fellow train traveller as she was on her way to School. She was also a member of the Girl Guides where she earned a Star of Merit and a BP Emblem Award, and she was also awarded the prestigious Scarf Foundation Award for Commitment and Citizenship. 

At MLC School, Penelope was a Senior Prefect and the 'superb' 1998 Wade House Captain who was described in Excelsior 1998 as 'an inspiration to other House members'. At School she was also: an active member of the United Nations Youth Assembly, training other students and participating at national competition level; a member of the School’s Model United Nations Assembly (MUNA) team which won the MUNA Prize in 1997, and in 1998, with her captaining the MUNA team, won the MUNA Peace Prize. She also represented MLC School on the Parliament of NSW Debating team.

After completing the HSC at MLC School, where she came 19th in the state in 3 Unit Geography, Penelope went on to the University of Sydney (USyd) where she was the Vice President of the University of Sydney Union, and graduated with a Bachelor of Economics (Social Sciences) (Hons) / LLB (Hons), receiving First Class Honours and the University Medal. In 2006 she completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from The College of Law, and in 2015 she received a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Law from USyd, and was a finalist for the 2016 Rita and John Cornforth Medal for outstanding PhD achievement. Her PhD thesis was titled ‘Re-conceptualising renewable energy law: A comparative study of the national laws used to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy’. 

Currently, Penelope is an award-winning leader holding University and Industry leadership positions including serving as: Sydney Law School’s Director of Alumni Engagement; and the Chair of the New Energy Technology Consumer Code Compliance Panel. She has undertaken significant original research to expand the body of knowledge in both Australian and international clean energy law.

In 2020, Penelope was selected as one of ten USyd ECR (Early Career Researcher) SOAR Fellows University-wide in recognition of her high research performance and consistent achievement of the Law School’s aspirational research benchmarks (placing her in the top 5% of researchers in the School). This grant provided $150,000 towards research funding, leadership development and mentorship.

Last year, Penelope was awarded an Australian Research Council DECRA (Discovery Early Career Researcher Award) Fellowship worth $427,000 for a research project entitled, ‘Circular Clean Energy Regulation: Addressing Australia’s PV Solar Waste Crisis.’ These grants are highly competitive with just six awards Australia-wide awarded to legal scholars.

In addition to her academic role, Penelope holds important clean energy industry leadership roles: serving as an Expert Consultant to the United Nations on Financing the Energy Transition (since 2024), the Chair of the Product Listing Review Panel (since 2016), and the Chair of the New Energy Technology Consumer Code Monitoring and Compliance Panel (since 2023). Other concurrent roles are as an Independent Board Director with Energy Users Association of Australia (since 2017) and a Principal at Crossley Lawyers and Consultants (since 2017).

Previously, Penelope worked as an international project finance lawyer, and global in-house counsel for BP Alternative Energy advising their alternative energy division on issues related to emissions trading, renewable energy, emerging consumer markets and technologies. She was also a Solicitor in London and Beijing for a Magic Circle law firm specialising in Global Energy and Infrastructure Law.

Professor Crossley has had an illustrious career with a myriad of achievements. Through her dedication, expertise, and tireless pursuit of excellence in academia, energy law and leadership, she has consistently demonstrated unparalleled commitment to the field of energy law and to her students. Her contributions have not only shaped legal scholarship but also inspired countless students and colleagues alike. With grace and intellect, she continues to elevate the discourse, challenging norms, and paving the way for future generations of legal scholars.

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