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WePOWER SAR100 empowering women in Indian power sector

February 17, 2024 3:21 pm

WePOWER SAR100 empowering women in Indian power sector
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Minister RK Singh applauds the programme’s success that hold a series of training sessions for 100 women professionals from the Southeast Asian Region in the energy sector.

A group of 25 enthusiastic mid-career women professionals from the Indian power sector met Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy RK Singh on Friday. The women were a part of WePOWER SAR100, a programme in which there is a series of training sessions for 100 women professionals from the Southeast Asian Region in the energy sector.

During the meeting, the women professionals shared their experiences from the programme. They expressed that WePOWER SAR100 provided them with global exposure to the power sector, introducing them to technologies such as vertical solar panels, compressed-air energy storage, and ocean-based solar arrays. Additionally, the programme enabled them to learn about the best practices being adopted in the power sector across various countries, helping them realise their latent potential. The Minister commended the women professionals and remarked that their interaction demonstrated the success of the programme.

Among the 100 participants in the event, 25 were from Bangladesh, 15 from Sri Lanka, 15 from Pakistan, 10 from Maldives, and 32 from various parts of India. Most of them worked in central or state government power sector PSUs, regulatory commissions, or energy departments. The event was attended by the Secretary, Ministry of Power, Pankaj Agarwal; Director-General, of National Power Training Institute, Dr. Tripta Thakur; Principal Director, NPTI, Dr. Manju Mom; WePower World Bank Partnership Coordinator, Tanushree Bhowmik; and CMDs of power sector PSUs.

“We need more women coming out and doing engineering”

Addressing the women professionals, the Power Minister observed that while we have more women coming forward now, we need more women coming out and doing engineering. Singh encouraged the lady professionals to set their ambitions high. “I tend to see the workplace not in gender terms, but in terms of ability; if you have ability, you will rise to the top. The course has given you exposure to what is happening in other countries. Now, you need to set your ambitions high. Your objective must be to become CMD or Director one day, that is the change that needs to come. It is happening, but you need to set your sights higher.”

Speaking about the sector, the Minister said that the power sector is very exciting and fast-evolving, with the old sector giving way to a new one. “The sector will change, with more individual generation, more renewable energy, less fossil fuels, and different forms of energy storage. We see consumers becoming prosumers. If nuclear power becomes safer and cheaper, then that might become the predominant form of energy. If fusion becomes successful, then we will have a vast storehouse of energy, which could bring down energy costs further.” The Minister said that despite individual generation, transmission will remain, which would be necessary for bulk consumption in industrial and commercial sectors.

Union Power Secretary Pankaj Agarwal complimented the women professionals, emphasising the importance of such training programmes for career growth. He expressed hope that this initiative would become institutionalised, benefiting not only professionals in the public sector but also the entire power sector.

Training institute visit

The 32 women professionals from various states of the country visited the National Power Training Institute (NPTI) Corporate Office in Faridabad for a two-day visit on February 15 – 16, 2024. During their visit, they toured the 800 MW Thermal Power Plant Simulator and CCGT Simulator at NPTI Faridabad, gaining insights into the control and operation of thermal power plants. Their itinerary also includes visits to the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE) in Gurugram and the National Load Despatch Centre in New Delhi. NPTI, as a Regional Working Group (RWG) member of WePOWER from India, is hosting these 32 women professionals from India’s power sector.

Addressing the women participants, Dr. Tripta Thakur, Director-General of NPTI, hailed them as living examples of women empowerment. She noted that while there was a time when women tended to avoid technical fields like the power sector, today, women are making strides in every domain.

The World Bank, in collaboration with national counterparts from seven countries represented in the Regional Working Group (RWG), is leading the SAR 100 initiative. NPTI, as part of the RWG, serves as the national focal point for India. The SAR-100 aims to establish a gender-diverse pool of experts capable of planning, developing, and operating regionally integrated grids, power systems, and markets. The program’s significance is underscored by the South Asian power sector’s transition to new and renewable technologies. SAR-100 focuses on regional integration and anticipates the creation of green jobs, necessitating new skills and training for the existing workforce. The programme covers various topics, including renewable energy integration, power markets, and soft skills such as addressing gender bias and promoting women in leadership roles. Delivered through ten online modules since July 2023, the program will conclude with a one-week on-campus capstone event at the Asian Institute of Technology from March 4 – 8, 2024.

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