The Women in Energy Storage Mentoring Programme sat down with Valeria Palomba, one of this year’s mentors, to chat about her journey in renewable energy and the challenges and opportunities in the energy storage sector.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
Doing research gives you the opportunity to experience the changes occurring in the world and this is particularly true for the ever-evolving energy sector.
2) What were your goals when you started working in energy storage? Have these evolved?
When I first started research in energy storage, I wanted to find ways to contribute to the overall efficiency of the energy system. What I have realised with time is that through energy storage, it is possible to improve conditions for people while at the same time serving the national utilities.
3) How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the professional goals you set out for the year?
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited exchange opportunities and is reducing collaboration opportunities, especially with students.
4) What are the opportunities for energy storage growth in your country?
The importance of energy storage especially service for microgrids and local district heating/cooling will be the next challenge and development phase to be tackled in Italy.
5) What challenges have you faced in the sector? Can you tell us how you overcame (or are overcoming) this challenge(s)?
The bigger challenge in my work, especially in Italy, lies in the difficulty of getting more responsibility when you are young and getting enough trust from supervisors when presenting new projects. I am facing these challenges by constantly putting effort and devoting time to proving that the solutions I’m proposing are valid.
6) Why did you join the Women in Energy Storage Mentorship Programme? What do you hope to achieve?
I believe women have the strength and creativity to make a difference in the energy storage field and I hope to create a bilateral relationship where I can give advice and support to another woman when trying to achieve ambitious goals, while also learning something and enriching my perspectives and ideas.
7) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the energy storage sector?
Always exploit your greatest strengths: strong will, a different point of view and organisational skills.
Become a mentor – what’s in it for you?
GWNET is looking for senior professionals who are eager to make a difference and have a positive impact on a younger woman’s career in the energy sector. With the ever-changing dynamics of the business fields, digitalisation, knowledge and knowledge sharing has become more important than ever. As a mentor, you get the opportunity to give something valuable back to more junior professionals and to expand your own knowledge through your mentees’ perspective. Mentoring will contribute to personal and professional development for both you and your mentee, as well as, shaping the direction of future generations within your field of expertise.
If you are interested in volunteering as a mentor in one of GWNET’s mentoring programmes (which involves approx. 1 – 1.5 hours of engagement per month plus optional participation in knowledge-transfer webinars), kindly fill-in the Mentor Datasheet.