The Women in Energy Storage Mentoring Programme sat down with Gelly Ann Zamora, one of this year’s participants, to chat about her journey in renewable energy and the challenges and opportunities for women in the energy storage sector.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
For a long time, I have been an advocate for renewable energy (RE). I love reading research papers and developments regarding RE, especially, those that involve storage. I am also an enthusiast of policies regarding energy development. I am actively participating in activities to improve the RE development in my country.
2) What were your goals when you started working in energy storage? Have these evolved?
After finishing my master’s degree two years ago, I was inspired and motivated to pursue working under the government to help improve the energy situation in the Philippines. One of my responsibilities is to look into new and/or improved technology to encourage the commercialization of RE in the country through formulating and implementing policies.
We have acknowledged the intermittency of RE and the employment of energy storage is vital to support the transition of our energy resource from coal to RE. The said goal has evolved in such a way that energy storage should be an essential part of moving forward. My goals are to excel in this chosen field and make impact where it is most needed – the community.
3) How have you adapted to the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and what advice would you give someone going through similar challenges?
The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed everyone down during these unprecedented times. That includes some of our processes in the Department of Energy during the start of the community quarantine in March 2020. However, professionally, I believe that the pandemic has brought more of an edge in terms of development. Training has been done virtually where everyone can attend and learn, wherever they may be around the world.
It has also paved the way for other professionals to pursue university courses in the comfort of their homes. With this said, whatever someone is dealing with during these times, I hope that they will be able to overcome it. It is the best time to reconnect with our goals as a professional and as a person. Lastly, I hope everyone can find their own light even in these darkest times.
My advice for other professionals struggling out there, please keep safe and exercise your body, mind, and emotions. You are not alone. Everything has a purpose and I hope you find yours.
4) What are the opportunities for energy storage growth in your country?
First off, RE is still a growing technology in the country. I believe the country would need energy storage consultants and professionals to pave way for this technology to sustain and thrive. Opportunities may be from the private companies that intend to develop facilities and the government.
5) What challenges have you faced in the sector? Can you tell us how you overcame (or are overcoming) this challenge(s)?
I think one of the challenges in the sector is that it is male-dominated. However, this has not impacted a lot on my case as the Department of Energy encourages women to apply for vacant positions. Looking back at my application to the Department, I applied for the position that I believe I am most capable of performing, in terms of education and experience. I was confident that I have all the required skills and knowledge for the said position. And most importantly, I have chosen the position which I believe I am most passionate about.
6) Why did you join the Women in Energy Storage Mentorship Programme? What do you hope to achieve?
One of the reasons I joined the Women in Energy Storage Mentorship Programme was to learn more and expand my knowledge on energy storage, in order to provide input in the formulation of policies regarding the same.
Second is that I wish to meet like-minded women who aspire to grow more in this field. And third, to inspire other women in my country to excel in this male-dominated sector.
7) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the energy storage sector?
If I have to give a piece of advice for aspiring women in the energy storage sector, secure all the experiences, training, and education that is available to increase your value in the sector. Be confident in expressing your thoughts and expertise when needed. And lastly, aim to be an inspiration for other women in your community or country.
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.