GWNET brings you the 7th instalment of the “Meet the Women in the SICA Energy Transition” series which celebrates the work and achievements of the women who are part of the Women in the SICA Energy Transition Mentoring Programme. This programme is made up of 38 mentee-mentor tandems, with mentees from 7 countries. Meet SICA mentee, Ada Suyapa Cerna, Electrical Systems Planning Engineer at the National Electrical System Operator (ODS) in Honduras.
1) Tell us a little about yourself. What do you love most about what you do?
I’m a 25-year-old Honduran and electrical engineer, currently working as an electrical systems planning engineer at the System Operator of Honduras.
Within this entity, I work in system planning management where the main function is to prepare a plan for the expansion of the transmission network every two years and an indicative plan for the expansion of the generation of the national interconnected system in the long term.
The work that I carry out is oriented to generation and consists mainly of modelling the national electricity market with its current and future characteristics, obtaining minimum cost generation expansion scenarios, research, and data analysis, among other functions.
What I love most about what I do is that the tasks do not tend to be repetitive, so it is constantly necessary to expand or acquire new knowledge on different topics in the electricity sector and on the management of computational tools. This has helped me to continuously grow as a professional.
2) What were your goals when you started working in the energy sector? How have these evolved?
The goals that I set for myself when I started working in the sector were to expand my knowledge of electricity sector issues, specialize in the area in which I work, and continue my professional training.
The successful development of the goals that I set for myself has been the result of the opportunities that have been given me to attend various training and workshops on different topics in the electricity sector. Additionally, being one of the longest-serving members of the entity in which I work has allowed me to achieve greater professional development as the entity grows.
3) What are the opportunities for sustainable energy in your country?
I think that in Honduras there are opportunities to increase the integration of renewable generation technologies to meet the electricity demand due to the following:
- First, because Honduras is part of the Paris Agreement under which it has established an ambitious INDC that is mainly aimed at significantly reducing the emissions produced by the sector with the highest greenhouse gas emissions, which corresponds to the energy sector, specifically in the area of electrical energy production.
- Second, Honduras under its Nation Plan and Country Vision 2010 – 2038, aspires that by 2038, 80% of the electrical energy to supply national demand comes from technologies with production based on renewable resources. To date, these only represent around 55%, and therefore, to achieve this goal, we still have much to do.
The biggest challenge I have faced was when I started working in my current organization. Because this was my first job and the organization was young, I did not have the level of experience and knowledge required for the functions that I had to develop. In the end, although the learning curve has been steep, I faced the challenge and with commitment, dedication and effort I have managed to specialize in the area.
Nevertheless, due to the nature of the tasks assigned to me, I am continually facing challenges, but despite this, I try to do my best and overcome obstacles.
My vision is to continue with my professional training, and I hope that within five years I would have finished or will be about to finish a postgraduate degree oriented to the electricity sector at a foreign university. For this to be possible my plan is to apply for an academic scholarship, for which I think that this mentoring program can serve as support for my curriculum vitae.
6) What advice would you give to women hoping to join the sustainable energy sector?
I would advise women not to get stuck, to keep growing as professionals, to acquire all the knowledge possible, to make friends wherever they go, to give themselves the courage they deserve, and to fight for their dreams.
Read more about GWNET’s mentoring programmes here.