In our newest segment, entitled In-Power Women, we were pleased to recruit Andrea Buetler, the Director of Energy Transition Sales, Asia Pacific for Worley, as our very first interviewee.
Andrea has lived for the last ten years in the Asia Pacific and has an astute perspective on what the energy transition can accomplish. Having had the opportunity to work during this transformative time and in what many are calling Industry 4.0, Andrea has solid advice to share with us.
From early in Andrea’s life, sustainability was a core family value that was strongly fostered and encouraged at home. It was likely this encouragement that sparked Andrea’s desire at a young age, to build a career where she could make the most positive environmental impact possible. A career journey that has led to Andrea’s current role of helping some of the world’s largest industries to decarbonise their operations. “The position with Worley as Energy Transition Lead affords me tremendous outreach to help prevent further risk and damage to the livelihoods of millions of people brought on by global warming and climate change. Driven by a deep belief of what is right, supported by an incredibly knowledgeable and experienced group of professionals and subject matter experts at Worley, I feel extremely empowered and energized to lead change,” Andrea shared.
Ingredients to a Successful Energy Transition
Andrea has seen strategies succeed and fail when attempting to navigate the global energy transition. In Andrea’s experience, there are two key ingredients to devising successful energy transition strategies. “Organisations are learning that they need to adapt with an open mind-set and lean on technology, which is the only solution that will allow for the large scaling of projects that the transition requires,” Andrea said. When implementing change, building a network of experts who use out-of-the-box thinking is invaluable. This challenge is the greatest one of our time and the solutions will come from many individual innovative ideas. While it’s helpful, it is not always an organisation that sparks the change to move the needle in the right direction. It can be just one person who makes a conscientious effort to present their concepts.
We asked Andrea how an individual could join in the energy transition efforts. “Get involved wherever you can. Join groups, events, conversations. Do not wait until someone asks you to join. Find a topic that you personally care about and [enlist] others to support you in your idea,” Andrea said.
Andrea also outlined that it’s also fruitful to have collaborators endeavouring to shake things up from the inside of organisations. “I often see top talent from inside industrial organisations believing they need to quit their jobs to join the crusade. It’s quite the opposite. We need people who are experienced from within these sectors to help drive the needed change,” she said.
“Like the energy transition, gender equality simply makes good business sense,” says Andrea.
Beyond the individual and company-level initiatives, critical to driving change on the substantial scale that is needed, are the environmental and sustainability commitments made by ASEAN countries and also the net zero policies Europe is developing. Globally, governments are expected to become more aggressive in their emissions targets. Countries like China, South Korea, and Japan have committed to net zero but Andrea outlines that more is necessary. “There is a growing realisation that simply adding renewables to the grid will not achieve the commitments of the Paris Agreement. The solution comprises a wide range of different technologies, and huge consortiums of different stakeholders coming together in partnership,” Andrea said.
The solutions that countries will adopt to achieve their emissions challenges will be as different and varied as the unique problems each country faces. From industrial footprints and resource availability, to considering which future industries will create long-term employment opportunities and generate GDP growth, each different country across the globe is faced with daunting questions. “Specific industries must be allowed and encouraged to grow,” Andrea says.
One such example Andrea highlights is hydrogen. “Hydrogen is well placed to substitute conventional fuels where a replacement with solar and wind is just not possible. It has the highest energy content of any common fuel, and that is not where the advantages end. It [also] has the potential to reach beyond the limits of electrification and renewables” says Andrea.
Another challenge the power sector faces is connected to the core purpose of In-Power Women. There have been a lot of important strides made but with women making up only 22% of the global power workforce by some estimates, there is still a long way to go to achieving gender equality. Andrea sees it simply: there needs to be more support and opportunities for women in power. She believes support for women in the sector should take the form of allies and a healthy work environment. “An inclusive work environment is not only helpful for encouraging gender equality but also cultural diversity, participation of differently abled individuals and a general increase in the numbers of underrepresented groups. The concept of allyship is a very effective mechanism to support individuals realise new career opportunities, to overcome potential fears or anxieties but very importantly, to just help build a wider network,” Andrea said.
According to Andrea, an ally can present in many different forms and vocations, but at the heart of the concept is the desire to watch another flourish which in turn, strengthens the community. “Each of us also has a responsibility to be an ally to others within our sphere of influence too. I would put it to the audience that we ask ourselves; how could I do more to support this cause and be a strong ally to others?” Andrea said. The benefits of diversity and inclusion are undeniable. With diversity of people comes greater diversity of thought and increased innovation leading to improved business performance. “Like the energy transition, gender equality simply makes good business sense,” says Andrea.
We hope you enjoyed our first feature for In-Power Women. Be sure to check out our future content for more unique perspectives of the power sector and drop us a line if you would like to get involved with In-Power Women. Accepting nominations for future allies now! To nominate an ally or to learn more, please email firstname.lastname@example.org today.