Will the clean energy revolution be good for women?

As energy system goes clean, it will become “more local, more human in scale and more digital”, says Michael Liebreich

(Credit: IISD)

(Credit: IISD)

By Alex Pashley

A world rid of fossil fuels will be less macho as male-dominated oil giants give way to dynamic local companies.

That is the view of Bloomberg New Energy Finance chairman Michael Liebreich on Tuesday, who called the energy industry the most “backward” in the world.

An influential voice on renewables having established the research outfit in 2004, Liebreich said more women will lead the energy industry, meanwhile fewer will be hit by energy poverty.

“As the energy sector undergoes the profound transformations we expect in the coming two decades, it would be inconceivable for it to end up with its leaders as a group looking the same as their current equivalents,” he wrote in an impassioned blog post.

Liebrich lambasted an industry dominated by white middle-aged men, with women in short supply at industry speaker events.

“Energy must be just about the most socially conservative – no, I will use the correct word, backward – industry in the world. At times it seems as if the main criterion for leadership is to be a straight white male, born between 1950 and 1965,” he wrote.

The industry would go the way of telecoms and media. In today’s age  it was vital to understand the concerns of women as consumers moreover.

In the developing world, women are worst hit by energy poverty and bearing the extra workload and health impacts of cooking with traditional biomass.

“Access to modern energy is essential for women to enjoy basic healthcare, particularly during childbirth, and for girls to have time to study.

“The revolution afoot in energy, driven by new technologies and distributed generation, can and should mean a democratization of social as well as electrical power.”

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