U.S. Department of Energy Launches Climate Smart Women Energy Leader's Program to Drive Global Energy Transition

U.S. Department of Energy Launches Climate Smart Women Energy Leader's Program to Drive Global Energy Transition

June 14, 2023 : The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has launched the Climate Smart Women Energy Leader’s (CS-WEL) program as part of its Net Zero World Initiative. This program aims to empower women in partner countries by equipping them with the skills and resources to address climate change and promote global clean energy transitions.

The CS-WEL program was announced by Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm at COP27 and was developed in collaboration with ten national laboratories forming the Net Zero World Initiative team. The program’s initial phase brought together eight female energy leaders from Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand, and Ukraine. The participants underwent an intensive two-week training at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The training covered various topics: clean energy analysis, advanced technology testing, innovation and entrepreneurship, policy best practices, and finance mobilization. The program also provided networking opportunities and leadership training for the participants.

During her remarks at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Secretary Granholm expressed her pride in the women participating in the program, referring to them as the hope for a net zero world. After their training, the women presented work plans that will be integrated into their countries’ Net Zero World Initiative efforts, focusing on expediting energy system decarbonization goals. Ongoing coaching, mentoring, and support will assist the women in implementing these plans.

Maria DiGiulian, the director of International Science and Technology Collaboration at DOE, emphasized that the program extends beyond the two-week training. Follow-up virtual training will reinforce the technical knowledge gained and provide ongoing mentoring to these exceptional women leaders. The CS-WEL program is an opportunity to build strong alliances and empower women in the energy sector.

The CS-WEL program is particularly significant given the underrepresentation of women in clean energy leadership roles. The International Energy Agency’s Gender and Energy Data Explorer reveals a substantial gender imbalance, with 76% fewer women working in the energy sector than men. The program seeks to address this imbalance and harness the benefits of women’s participation in combating climate change. The World Bank has reported that women’s leadership in environmental matters results in better resource governance, conservation outcomes, disaster readiness, community resilience, and effective ministerial roles.

The organizers and participants of the CS-WEL program are proud of its impact and hope that it will generate global momentum for decarbonization efforts. By supporting these women leaders and empowering women from all segments of society, the program strives to create a better world for everyone. The CS-WEL program is a testament to the dedication and determination of these women in driving clean energy transitions and promoting gender equality in their countries.