GWNET brings you the 2nd instalment of the “Meet the Women in the Energy Transition” series which celebrates the work and achievements of the women who are part of GWNET’s 2/2019 Mentoring Programme. This mentoring programme contains 22 mentee-mentor tandems, with mentees from over 15 countries. Meet GWNET mentee, Silvia Escudero. Silvia is an energy professional with skills in energy economics and regulation. She has worked as an energy advisor and project manager in the context of development cooperation over the past 5 years.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
I am an energy professional dedicated to transforming our current energy system to a more decentralised, digital and sustainable one for the future. Personally, I find this work extremely rewarding with clear impacts that transform organisations, businesses and people’s lives in different African and Latin American countries. I am currently in the process of changing the focus of my work to European energy markets, concretely to Spain, my home country.
2) What were your goals when you started working in sustainable energy? Have these evolved?
My first steps in the professional world of energy were exciting and very enriching. I have learned about the energy sector in different countries, and I have evolved my personality into a more resilient, determined and professional one.
In my next steps, I would like to tackle three big challenges for myself: 1) learn more about the complexity and sophistication of different European energy markets, 2) work on developing new business models in the retail market of energy, 3) set foot in the private sector after working for years in the public sector.
3) What are the opportunities for sustainable energy growth in your country?
Spain is currently in the process of approving a very ambitious plan to switch to 42% renewable electricity supply by 2030 and 100% renewable electricity supply by 2050. This represents a large and exciting opportunity for sustainable energy growth in the sector. Industrial and commercial players are being asked by their investors and clients to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable energy. I am excited to contribute to these demands by supporting the structuring of renewable supply contracts to industrial and commercial clients.
4) What challenges have you faced in the sector? Can you tell us how you overcame (or are overcoming) these challenges?
I have overcome many challenges of being a woman in a very male-dominated environment by developing a strong and resilient personality over time. I have surrounded myself with likeminded people that share advice and support in difficult times.
I believe that a lot of things are changing and younger generations of men and women have a good understanding of gender equality. However, many structural aspects such as cultural bias or flexibility in the workplace to enable greater work-life balance still need to improve in order to offer equal opportunities for men and women.
5) Why did you join the GWNET Mentorship Programme? What do you hope to achieve?
I joined the GWNET Mentoring Programme to build connections with strong and ambitious women in the sector. I strongly believe in the power of a solid network of like-minded people who support each other in defining career goals as well as who share perspectives and strategic advice. Having a mentor to give you this inner courage to take on risks that will lead you to attain great opportunities is a highly valuable treasure. One day I can hopefully encourage other women in their pursuit of an exciting career.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the sustainable energy sector?
I would encourage women to join the energy sector because it is transforming fast and the path offers exciting opportunities (new business models, new technologies) and important challenges with strong relevance to our daily lives. The sector needs experts not only in technical fields such as engineering, but also, economists, IT, communication experts and political and social scientists. I have found my engagement in the sector extremely rewarding and I hope others will do too!
If you are interested in knowing more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes, this comprehensive article outlines our work in this area.