The Energy Transition at the Women in Energy Forum
IEA, IPCC and IRENA projections show that to achieve Energy Transition and “Net Zero” emissions by 2050 it will be necessary to adopt mechanisms to remove CO2 from the atmosphere, alongside the addition of renewable sources in the energy matrix and energy efficiency.
I believe that we need to make a significant effort to discuss and define how we can effectively participate in this high-level dialogue on energy and other activities in order to achieve Net Zero emissions. CIGRE can be fully engaged in this effort.
Several aspects have been discussed at CIGRE Women in Energy (WIE), regarding the energy transition, in its meetings and work, in national forums or in the WIE Executive Committee that brings together representatives from various countries.
What will be the future of the electricity sector? What are the trends and next steps for the electricity industry? What can be the contributions of women?
CIGRE WIE Forum
CIGRE recognizes the importance of diversity and encourage actions for the inclusion of women in the technical, management and leadership areas. The CIGRE WIE Forum is clearly in line with this approach. This a place open to diversity where today’s important issues are tackled.
The speed up of energy transition for meeting the Paris Agreement targets is critical. Women in Energy / "Net Zero Initiative" would like to support the call to act now to reduce carbon emissions. Increasing resilience to climate-driven weather events that will become more frequent and severe is of utmost importance.
The 6th CIGRE Women in Energy Forum was held on September 1st, 2022, during the CIGRE Paris Session, Under the Theme “Next steps for women in energy transition”. Indicative figures were presented on the evolution of women's participation in CIGRE, which should be increasing, according to the engagement of women in the institution.
In the panel on Energy Transition - CIGRE future perspective, Mr Marcio Szechtman, gave a presentation in which he highlighted the changes observed in the world in relation to the various sectors and, in particular, to electricity, indicating the search for renewable sources and other technologies, such as storage, hydrogen, carbon capture and storage, as well as issues inherent to the process, such as new business models, challenges of the operation of electricity systems and cybersecurity.
Dr Britta Buchholz – chair of Net Zero Initiative (NZI) - presented the activities that have been developed by the NZI group at Women in Energy. The Panel Discussion on Net Zero Initiative aimed to expand the scope of the net zero initiative and collate data, share immediate results and views from different countries.
Seven issues were discussed by the panelists, representatives of France, Brazil, Kosovo, Taiwan, United Kingdom and USA:
- How does climate change affect your job / your life / your company / your country / your region?
- How do you balance energy security and net zero the complementary aspects in your context?
- Which partnerships are needed to succeed to reach Net Zero?
- Which strategies are in place in your countries or regions to approach Net Zero?
- Education / How could CIGRE support?
- Which groups already exist to work on this?
- What can you say from a legal-regulatory perspective and policies in your country? What about the responsibility for developing activities on net zero?
Contributions of Women in Energy
On the issue of accelerating energy transformation, the WIE discuss, among other things: (i) the best practices seen so far, such as examples for solutions, new materials, power systems design, new formats in communication; and (ii) the next steps, such as develop perspectives from different lenses and recruit further members with further different backgrounds.
WIE recognizes the importance of having more efficient public policies to address some of the issues, in addition to solutions coming from the companies themselves regarding the energy system and sustainability, including interconnection with renewable energies. The need to decide more efficiently, with a view to future generations.
When we talk about climate change, net zero, and what countries and companies are doing or thinking in terms of expanding renewable sources in the matrix, energy security is an issue that always comes up. There must be a balance between the two visions and the measures that are adopted for decarbonization, given the essentiality of energy consumption for the development of countries and the expansion of progress with more inclusion in societies. The need to analyze the costs and benefits involved must be considered, due to consumers who may have lower payment conditions for the maintenance of the system.
Regarding energy security and net zero, both views must be connected and integrated, as well as all stakeholders, of the different areas. When it comes to stakeholders, it was recalled that one of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is the formation of partnerships, in a vision of walking together.
Connections between various stakeholders are needed, such as governments, industry in general, financial institutions, academies, NGOs, technology companies, and institutions such as CIGRE, which promote debate, and technical study, and propose solutions and discussions that add value. The participation of society in general is fundamental in this.
It is essential to establish strategies, defining actions, indicators and results to be achieved. Due to decarbonization commitments, governments and the private sector are looking for new ways to reduce emissions to achieve the Net Zero targets. The issue involves several aspects, considering different areas, such as the electricity sector, buildings, air and land transport, land use, industrial production.
Education should be considered one of the main aspects to be addressed in the Net Zero scenario. It was highlighted that the relevance of CIGRE can also be found in the diversity of agendas of the different participating countries and that there are many possibilities for CIGRE to help accelerate the goals of Net Zero, such as technical productions on the topic, the promotion of forums for the exchange of experiences and debates, interaction programs for innovation, extension initiatives.
All initiatives for the transition to Net Zero must be fair, equitable and inclusive. It was also considered that the infrastructure investments (infrastructure investment commitments) are implemented in an equitable, effective and timely manner. The essential requirements for Net Zero and the Energy Transition are the following: a solid legal framework; public policies; good governance; funding; education, technologies, industry and society on board.
Everyone is invited to participate in this debate. There is much to pursue, enhance, strengthen, discuss, work and help build a better future for all.
Articles – WIE/NZI
CIGRE WIE members shared stories and personal perceptions of how hurricanes, storms and floods resulted in catastrophes in their regions, resulting in fatalities and destroying infrastructure. They emphasized the importance of solidarity among neighbours and throughout the global community for improving resilience.
Briefly, the article “Cyclones, floods and landslides impact our lives as parents, citizens and professionals working in energy infrastructure” presents aspects of the following countries:
- Vanuatu: From crops to infrastructure: destruction by a cyclone is indiscriminate and widespread
- South Africa: When water, the essence of life, becomes a threat
- Brazil: Female leadership and community resilience in the face of climate change
- Germany: Extreme precipitation beyond imagination caused 184 fatalities and became the costliest natural disaster to date
- Italy: People´s solidarity in response to catastrophic weather events
In this article, CIGRE members shared experience regarding catastrophes that were affecting their regions. One common observation is that women, elderly and children are amongst most vulnerable groups in society and thus were hit harder and more numerous during those catastrophes. Catastrophes naturally triggered the female instinct to protect their community, and it inspired local and community leadership.
As an outlook, responding to catastrophes, several governments have already revised or are currently revising their disaster prevention protocols. Further, technology suppliers develop software and hardware solutions for warning, prevention and improved responses. This shall improve resilience of energy infrastructures in general and specifically for cyclone-, flood- and landslide-related events.
This article shall be the first in a series where possible solutions and lessons learned from natural climate-related disasters shall be addressed in a follow-up ELECTRA articles.
Cyclones, floods and landslides impact our lives as parents, citizens and professionals working in energy infrastructure, caring for our families and communities: