CIGRE SESSION

From 20 to 25 August 2021
Palais des Congrès, Paris

The Session

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 “Journey to Zero Carbon Energy Systems” was the sixth event organised by the CIGRE Women’s Network UK (WNUK) Steering Committee (SC) since the establishment of the Network in 2016. The event on 7 November 2019 at IET Savoy in London was kindly sponsored by Capita Consulting and National Grid ESO. More than 60 delegates attended the event, representing a diversity of age and gender, and widespread backgrounds, including utility services, equipment suppliers, consultancies, professional institutions and academia.

CIGRE WNUK supports and actively promotes diversity and believes that communication is key for positive and progressive outcomes in any organisation, team and business at national and international level. The Steering Committee believes that one of the best practices for learning and improvement in communications is to keep working on your network. Hence CIGRE WNUK keeps working on developing its strategies and organising networking events for career development and in support of its members.

The event highlighted that carbon dioxide reduction is an issue not only in national infrastructure but also for all engineering businesses. The theme of the event focused on the ways in which carbon emissions can be quantified and managed by professionals during design, planning, operation and maintenance of networks. The speakers focused on actions supporting professional and personal development, with the use of technology to complement professional behavioural strategies that will eventually provide direct impact upon carbon emissions.

The combination of clean energy sources with new emerging technologies will materially change the relationship of society with energy. With an ambition to achieve zero carbon energy systems, we will need to overcome a wide range of challenges, change the way of working and transform our own roles. In order to succeed, our energy industry will need to work together, where all industry stakeholders have a common mission.

This latest WNUK event combined three keynote speakers and three workshops to deliver an exciting and stimulating day for delegates.

The event was opened by Dr Biljana Stojkovska, Innovation Manager at National Grid ESO and Chair of the CIGRE WNUK, followed by a presentation by Chris Cartwright, Head of Utility at Capita Consulting.

Keynote speaker Dame Fiona Woolf, former Lord Major of London, gave an inspirational talk on the context of zero carbon networks and how the potential for deep cultural change is powerful enough to generate major societal change in the energy domain.

Adam Middleton, Managing Director of Siemens Netherlands (Gas & Power Division) and Chair of CIGRE UK, and Diana Van Den Heuvel, Corporate Account Director at Siemens Netherlands and Vice Chair of CIGRE Netherlands, delivered an engaging workshop on the deep challenges of delivering a zero carbon energy life style. The workshop aimed at providing delegates the opportunity to discover how they can personally contribute to zero carbon energy systems, both professionally and through their personal lives.

An interactive question and answer session and a networking break closed the first part of the event.

The second part of the event was a thought-provoking presentation from Lily Coles, Commercial Operations Director at Anesco, on current and new technologies needed to create zero carbon energy systems, with a case study of the UK’s first subsidy free solar farm. Ayssar Hanza, Risk Engineering Director at ACE Energy Group, led an interactive session around future technologies.

The last session was opened by Anne Wilson, Head of Careers at University of Warwick, who delivered a talk on the need for future skills. This was followed by a workshop lead by Dawn Hurst from EA Inclusion. The workshop focused on different traits, values and behaviours required for a future success in the low carbon energy industry and challenged our personal behaviours around the need for change. The session was eye-opening around what constitutes the level of personal change required to deliver a Zero Carbon Energy landscape.

In concluding the event, it was clear that the industry faces a range of deep and material changes if Zero Carbon targets are to be achieved within the political timeframes. Much remains to be done.

CIGRE WNUK is committed to creating empowerment environment for women in energy sector, deliver inspiring events and creating a strong community where women can help each other.

If you are interested to get involved, please visit our website for more information at www.cigre.org.uk/womens-network/.

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