Following a career working in the oil and gas indusry, Casey joined ENA in July 2018 as a Press & Public Affairs Officer for the Open Networks Project, which is laying the foundations for Britain's smart grid. In February this year she changed roles to become a Policy & Stakeholder Engagement Manager, responsible for developing ENA's policy agenda as Britain's energy networks go through a once in a generation changes. She is also studying part-time at the University of London School of Oriential & African Studies for a MSc in Global Energy & Climate Policy.
How did I get into the energy industry?
The energy industry is fundamental to every part of our lives – the electricity that keeps our lights on, the gas that heats our homes, the power to run our businesses and the fuel for our cars, buses and trains. But it never remains the same – the energy landscape is dynamic and continually evolving, and being a part of that appealed to me.
While I started in oil and gas, joining the electricity and gas networks has helped me to understand how the different pieces of the energy puzzle fit together. As we move away from fossil fuels and integrate increasing amounts of low-carbon energy into the system, I can’t imagine working in any other industry.
It is so important that we get this transition right, not only for mature energy markets in the UK but for developing markets where people are still gaining access to electricity for the first time.
What appeals to me about energy networks?
The energy networks are at the heart of these radical industry and economy-wide changes. While the networks have traditionally been the quiet achiever compared to other energy market players, they have a vital role in decarbonisation and our vastly different future energy system.
Previously, generation assets would have been connected only to the high-voltage electricity network, yet today more than 30 GW of distributed energy has been connected to the local electricity grid in the UK. This trend is only set to continue as solar and wind power grow, and people buy electric vehicles.
Some similarly exciting changes are taking place in the gas networks, with innovation trials test new technologies and fuels. The networks are already transporting biomethane, gas produced from organic matter and waste, and could have the potential to deliver low-carbon hydrogen gas around the UK.
What can be done to attract more women to the industry?
We have some very strong female leaders working in the energy industry in the UK, but need to do more to encourage women into the industry along with boosting diversity more generally. We must help young girls to learn STEM skills to develop the next generation of engineers and network operators, and provide more senior leadership opportunities for women already working in the industry.
We aren’t always as courageous as men in asking for the right career opportunities and speaking our mind – but by acknowledging the need for more balance and committing to working together to tackle it, the industry can have the brightest and most passionate women to help take on the enormous challenges ahead. Happy International Women’s Day!