Women in Wind 2020 Q&A: Lourdes Alonso Serna 

 

The Women in Wind Global Leadership Program sat down with Lourdes Alonso Serna, one of this year’s Participants, to chat about her pathway to renewable energy and issues facing women in the wind sector. 

Lourdes is a doctoral researcher at the University of Manchester in the UK and an associate lecturer at Universidad del Mar in Mexico. She is interested in the social aspects of energy transitions. Her doctoral research looks at the negotiation and conflicts between different sectors of local communities with energy developers in Mexico. She considers that energy transitions are more than shifts of technology, energy transitions are first and foremost social undertakings, and a successful energy transition needs to actively incorporate different sectors of society, in particular communities where wind farms are located. She is based in Manchester, UK.

How did you first become interested in renewable energy and joining the clean energy transition?

I became interested in the social aspects of energy transitions, in particular the different forms of negotiation and resistance to the development of wind energy in Mexico.

Tell us about your expertise and passion in the sector. For you, what is the next “space to watch” in renewable energy?

The energy transition is a complex undertaking, and it will dramatically transform the ways in which societies produce energy. Therefore, the energy transition should be an opportunity for a more just and democratic way of governing energy. 

The next “space to watch” in renewable energy is the social space. Societies have to be active participants in a transition towards renewable energies.

What sort of challenges did you encounter in entering the sector? Can you tell us about an achievement wherein you overcame such a challenge?

The main challenge I have faced is the misconception that energy is a technical matter, and not an eminently social relation that should take into account different social actors, in particular communities where wind farms are located, and to have them as active participants in different aspects of the projects.

The energy transition is a complex undertaking, and it will dramatically transform the ways in which societies produce energy. It should be an opportunity for a more just and democratic way of governing energy.

If you had to pick one key issue facing women in the wind power sector, what would it be and why?

An issue that women face in most of the professional areas is the “glass ceiling”, which means that despite having the qualifications and experience to be in senior positions, we are still discriminated against relative to our male colleagues.

Finally, what do you hope to achieve as a participant of Women in Wind Global Leadership Program? How will you contribute to the next generation of female leaders in the sector?

I hope to learn from other women in the wind sector, to get to know their experiences, the challenges they have faced and their successes. I would like to develop some skills that I could use in my professional career and that can help other women to also be part of this sector.

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