In supporting UNESCO works on advancing and promoting science in the interests of peace and sustainable development, the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Universiti Teknologi MARA (FKM UiTM), in collaboration with UiTM Solar Research Institute (SRI), held a 3-day program; the E-WiRE: Empowering Women in Renewable Energy from 20-22nd August 2020.
The program was funded by the Malaysia National Commission for UNESCO (SKUM) and supported by the Selangor Human Resource Development Corporation (SHRDC), Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) and ASEAN Climate Change and Energy Project (ACCEPT). It aims to advocate and build capacity in engineering and climate change as well as engaging young women as agents of change.
The day-1 program kicked off with a special public webinar on Climate-Energy-Women Nexus with speakers from national and international bodies: SEDA, ACCEPT and the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET).
Officiated by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research and Innovation, Prof. Dr Mohd Nazip Suratman, and moderated by the E-WiRE Programme Chair, Dr. Azlin Mohd Azmi; the webinar began with an insightful keynote by SEDA Chief Strategic Officer, Dr Wei-Nee Chan on “Flattening the Climate Curve: Status of Global & Local Renewables”.
Dr. Chen deliberated on the need for the energy transition in combating climate change and Malaysia’s initiatives in renewable energy particularly that of Solar Photovoltaics (PV) application. This was followed by the inspirational sharing from GWNET Executive Director Ms Christine Lins, on “Energy and Gender Perspectives”.
Ms Lins highlighted the viewpoints of women working in renewable energy and emphasized the importance of gender equality for a successful energy transformation.
The webinar was then supplemented by ACCEPT’s Senior Officer Dr Hoyyen Chan on her fascinating topic of “Climate Change Communication in Accelerating the Low-Carbon Transition”.
Dr. Chan discussed the gaps in Climate Change communication by using COVID-19 as the backdrop from her Google Trends analysis and stressed that women would play a crucial role in accelerating the low carbon transition. The webinar ended with questions from the participants on renewable energy progress, women’s challenges in the industry, and energy transition in the region.
The program continued the following day with a ‘Solar PV Fundamental’ training by the SHRDC, conducted virtually via Cisco Webex platform due to the current COVID-19 pandemic situation. A total of twenty-seven young graduates from public and private Universities, as well as early-career professionals, were selected from all across the country for the training. The 2-Day training concluded with a virtual tour to UiTM 50 MW Large Scale Solar Farm located in Gambang, Pahang.
The E-WiRE program is the first of its kind in the country that relates the three important elements of Energy, Climate, and Women for a practical and effective energy transition and climate change mitigation.
Empowering all women and girls will yield positive cascading effects on the accomplishment of the sustainability goals, especially those on clean energy and climate action. It is hopeful that this event will not be the last, where women come together to mobilize, educate, and empower each other to advocate for the positive changes in energy transformation and climate change mitigation.