Who I am
M y professional journey, over the past twenty years, has been to advance the energy transition with renewables and energy efficiency. It began at a regional level in my home country Austria, then expanded to the European and then global level.
Each stage has been exciting, intense and personally very rewarding. Not only have I met many passionate people and work with different countries and cultures, I have also witnessed how the energy transition towards renewables changes people’s lives for the better and what profound impact the energy transition has and will have on how we produce and consume energy in the future.
A lot has happened over these past two decades; I am convinced, however, that the best is yet to come.
Two decades ago, no one imagined that in 2016 renewable energy would account for 86% of all new EU power installations; that China would become the renewable energy powerhouse of the world; and that more than half of global renewable energy investments would happen in emerging economies and developing countries. And no one thought that discussions about 100 % renewables by mid-century would gain increasing attention in the public arena.
Riding on the momentum of the Paris Agreement, there is consensus that we have to radically re-consider how we produce and consume energy. Holding global average temperature rise well below 2°C, not to mention a much safer limit of 1.5°C, requires nothing short of a complete decarbonisation of the energy sector. There is no one way to achieve this; what works in one country doesn’t necessarily work in another. Finding solutions for some sectors is easier than for others. The stakes are high – financially, environmentally and socially. Let us work together to bring renewable energy to its full potential!
MY EXPERIENCE IN A NUTSHELL
Sustainable energy is the recurring theme through my career. Having graduated with a Master degree in international economics, I began my career in a regional energy agency in my home country Austria, working, over the course of five years, on projects on renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Curious to work in another setting, I moved to Brussels to help build up the European Renewable Energy Council, the united voice of Europe’s renewable energy industry and research sector. Ten years working in Europe’s capital not only gave me a deep understanding of the European institutions, it also provided me numerous insights to various cultures and their way of working.
In July 2011, I was appointed as Executive Secretary of REN21, the Renewable Energy Policy Network of the 21st Century, headquartered at the United Nations Environment Programme in Paris/France. REN21 is a global public-private multi-stakeholder network on renewable energy regrouping international organizations, governments, industry associations, science and academia as well as NGOs working in the field of renewable energy. My job at REN21 provided me with an insight in global energy patterns and how to advance sustainable energy in different contexts.
Throughout my career, I have been able to work constructively with people from all around the world and have witnessed the rise of renewable energy from a niche sector to one that is mainstream and is the central pillar of decarbonising the energy sector. I have also witnessed and experienced first-hand, however, the dominance of men in the energy sector. Convinced that more gender balance is needed to help advance sustainable energy, I co-founded the Global Women’s Network for the Energy Transition (GWNET), in May 2017.