A new initiative to bring more women into the renewable energy arena has signed strategic partnerships with GE and Masdar.
Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy (WiSER) has also sealed similar deals with the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.
WiSER officially announced its board members at the UN General Assembly last September and held its first conference at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, where it unveiled the four strategic partnerships.
MASEN and WiSER will establish an internship program for women to gain hands-on experience at the Moroccan solar agency and also develop a renewable energy conference on the sidelines of COP22 that will address the role that women can play in post-COP21 implementation.
MASEN project development director Nadia Taobane said: “Affording women the ability to gain hands-on professional experience is one of the most effective ways of ensuring their influence is felt in key sustainable industries.”
GE will work with WiSER on a leadership training programme in renewable energy. The GE Ecomagination Innovation Centre in Masdar City, which promotes research and training in sustainability initiatives, will serve as an anchor point for the program, and experts from GE and Masdar will provide extensive training on various aspects of the renewable energy industry.
Deb Frodl, global executive director at GE Ecomagination and a member of the WiSER Advisory Council, explained: “The training program has a dual goal of encouraging women’s participation in the renewable energy industry and promoting their entrepreneurial skills. It will complement the UAE government’s wish to strengthen the role of women in the energy sustainability sector, as well as enhancing workplace diversity.”
Masdar chairman Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said at the conference: “Women are critical to advancing the prosperity of modern societies. Without doubt the further empowerment and education of women will serve as one of the most important factors in realizing a sustainable future. The WiSER initiative, through a platform of knowledge sharing and relationship building, ensures that women are given the necessary tools to be leaders in sustainability.”
Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, director of sustainability at Masdar, added: “Women can play an essential role in the future of sustainability. However, more must be done to ensure that they are represented in the decision-making process. Part of what makes WiSER important is that it seeks to give women valuable insights into what is required to succeed in industries related to sustainability.”
Members of the WiSER Advisory Council include Kathy Calvin, president of the United Nations Foundation; Rachel Kyte, special envoy for climate change at the World Bank Group; Marie-Jose Nadeau, chair of the World Energy Council; and Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE Ambassador to the United Nations.