Women Must Play a Greater Role in the Shift to Clean Energy, Say Industry Leaders

Clean Energy Business Council

2 March 2015 - Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Broadening the Talent Pool a Key Focus of the Second ‘Women in Clean Energy Leadership Forum’, held under the Umbrella of the Clean Energy Business Council,

Prominent women leaders from across the Middle East and North Africa’s clean energy community have today called for women to be more actively encouraged to seek and fill roles within the renewable energy industry. Senior representatives from the Women in Clean Energy (WICE) working group have said the absence of greater female representation in renewable energy could threaten the success of the shift to clean power sources in the region.

Mhairi Main Garcia, Counsel at Ashurst and Director at WICE said the success of future energy may rest on the industry’s ability to attract and retain top talent – with women being a critical component of that talent mix.

“Future energy requires a broad talent pool – a diverse base – to help accelerate its development and ensure it remains a resilient and sustainable business that delivers on its promise to successfully decarbonize the global economy whilst powering millions of people and communities out of energy poverty across the world,” said Mrs Main Garcia. “women must be considered, and consider themselves, part of the solution.”

According to 2015 data from IRENA, more than 7.7 million people are employed within the field of renewable energy and clean technology globally, up 19 percent on the 2014 total. In the United States, the number of women employed in solar energy rose to 37,500 in 2015 from 26,700 the year before. Despite ongoing progress, it will take another 81 years for the world to close the economic gender gap and realize the growth benefits according to the Clean Energy Business Council.

The call comes on the eve of the second WICE Leadership meeting, which takes place during Solar Middle East in Dubai.

“Renewable energy does not have 81 years to realize its full potential – the industry’s time is now and we must address the challenges that could potentially compromise the success of the shift to cleaner and more sustainable sources of power generation, as a matter of priority,” said Sarah Fitzgerald, Communications Director for the Clean Energy Business Council.

The focus of the second installment of the WICE Networking Series will be the role of women in the solar industry – a technology that leads the region’s energy diversification progress and receives the major of investment spend. Current installed solar capacity in the MENA region stands at 700 megawatts with a further 6 gigawatts of new solar either under development or at the tender stage.

The Clean Energy Business Council’s WICE programme is dedicated to encouraging and accelerating female participation in the renewable energy industry across the Middle East and North Africa. WICE brings together influential female figures from across the region, to develop initiatives that successfully diversify the industry’s talent pool and ensure the success and sustainability of the energy shift.

The meeting will take place from 8:45am on the 2nd March, at the Ibis Hotel, Dubai World Trade Centre. Attendees will hear presentations and participate in workshops delivered by female industry leaders such as Dr. Noura Y. Mansouri, Energy Future Leader – World Energy Council, and Director, WICE Board, Yara Anabtawi, Executive Director – Operational Planning & Strategy of Acwa Power, and Aisha Al Abdooli, Director of Education & Awareness, UAE Ministry of Environment and Water.