Increased Demands on Energy Security

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The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has had a large impact on the global energy markets, meaning that policymakers must find a way to balance sustainability, security and affordability. Therefore, energy security is currently on the top of the agenda and European economies are searching for opportunities to decrease their dependence on imported fuels. Policies are already moving towards an increase in wind and solar power, but the high prices will accelerate the speed of the shift to low carbon energy even more.

To support the changing characteristics of the power generation mix, there will be a build up in infrastructure investment focusing on interconnection, transmission and distribution. This means that growth in flexible resources such as battery storage, will be critical to balance the increasingly variable nature of production. Nilar batteries utilize a bi-polar design, which contributes to making the battery a reliable source of power for more than 20 years. The production of the batteries is powered by 100 percent renewable energy and are designed, developed and manufactured in our factory in Gävle, Sweden. The unique solution that Nilar offers aligns with this current issue, and even if it’s a big challenge to overcome the current high prices, battery storage is the ultimate solution for providing energy security, sustainability and affordability today and in the future.

Read more here about the war’s impact on the global energy market and why energy security is critical in this matter.


Meet a Nilar Employee – Jim Wennmark

How would you describe yourself?
I hear from others that I am clear and concise with my communication. I feel I am very curious, and I want to know how things work and how things are connected. I constantly want to learn more.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I was in a part-time role at a company nearby and saw the full-time position on social media. It sounded very interesting, so I took a chance. I joined Nilar in February 2020. Given the state of the world shortly after I joined, it can be considered a bit turbulent at times. However, I truly consider these last 2 years as the most exciting in my life and career so far. I have learned so much in such a short period of time. I was super positive about coming to a company where it feels everything is possible. With all the things I have experienced, I feel I have developed not only in my role, but as a human in general. 

What is the most common misconception about your role?
A common misconception about a role in management like mine is that I would have all the answers to anything asked. I have learned over time that a single person should not try to solve everything on their own. My team has the power to have all the answers and I am 100% confident in us coming to a solution together. My team’s biggest strength is their desire and eagerness to learn, and I feel Nilar supports this attitude.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
There are so many things; it has been an exciting two years. For those of us in production, it is cool to be part of the hands-on testing, being able to perform different trials. We have a different team of production engineers who perform the process design within the factory, but it has been really fun to collaborate with them and be part of the development and layout of the equipment.

It is also nice that my role involves both administrative and technical work. I feel value is made on the shop floor for us. As a production manager, it is cool to have the whole responsibility of the production process from raw material in to battery string out. To go from metal powder to tangible product is very cool.

Something you have learned from in your career?
I have a strong faith in people, which is why I highly value my team. I have learned that when managing people, you do not need to be afraid of challenging them. It is important to give people bigger tasks that they themselves do not think they can handle and support them through it. I believe that if you provide the right environment for a person, they will do their best. 

Your favorite movie or book?
It all depends on what state or mood I am in. One movie that really stuck with me is Pulp Fiction. I saw it many years ago and it still is one of my favorites. As for literature, I feel somewhat like a nerd because most books I read these days are in lean production. I feel you can spend a lifetime in just reading about it; there are so many perspectives. I think it is important to keep your knowledge refreshed and implement as you go. I truly believe the value will be in lean production.

A secret talent?
I don’t know if it is a secret, per se, at least not in my group. I love to fly fish and I am very good at casting. It is something I have done throughout my life. My father was a “fishing maniac” and started my journey in fishing, establishing it as a way of life. All my sisters have been fly fishing since they could walk. It was one of primary family outdoor experiences.

I travel all over to get the opportunity to find new areas to experience. It can be a good excuse to travel; I have been able to explore Europe through this hobby. I am fortunate that I also live really close to the sea; I can walk there and fish whenever the mood hits. I truly enjoy fishing and want to do it as often as possible. Not to brag, but I do spend a lot of hours doing it. I am proud that I introduced my wife to fly fishing.

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
It’s many things to be honest. Most importantly, it’s all about the coworkers. They are absolutely the best thing about the job. There are many amazing people that work here. I feel like there are not that many jobs where you can speak about something trivial for a moment on the shop floor and then transition into an advanced discussion about chemistry moments later. It is really amazing to have these connections.

 


Safety Day at Nilar

On April 28th, in observance of World Day for Safety and Health at Work, Nilar hosted an all-day event for safety for our manufacturing facility in Gavle. There were five stations prepared for the day. The employees were divided into groups, intentionally pairing people from different departments. This encouraged people to mingle and made the day a social event. The different groups were able to rotate through each station, gaining new information and participating in certain demonstrations.

 

 

It is important to feel safe at work since you spend most of your day there. I feel like my colleagues and myself are much better prepared for anything.”

– Nils B.

 

 

 

To start, there was a presentation to educate all the employees on a new law regarding whistleblowers. The Whistleblower Protection Directive was adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council near the end of 2019, creating a standard for protection of whistleblowers in the EU. Compliance for a company size like Nilar is required by the end of 2023. At Nilar, safety is intrinsic to our operation, so we embraced this new law and used safety day to introduce employees to how these protections work. We had implemented an internal channel where an employee can find any information needed and how to utilize it.

There was a discussion of the waste and recycle management at Nilar at another station. The goal was to ensure all employees were up to date on Nilar’s approach. Clarification was provided on what can be recycled and how to deal with various waste throughout operations.  There are special bins readily available around the factory to promote separation of different items. The circular economy philosophy has been a central part Nilar’s research and production, so every effort is taken to reduce waste.

One station focused on promoting awareness of all the alarms and locking systems. This included discussing the proper procedures to follow for different alarm sounds and ensuring the proper lockout/tag-out methods were known.  Another station provided a lecture on the internal system for accident reporting and injury prevention proposals. Nilar wanted to make it clear how valuable reporting can be. Not only is there support for any sustained injury, but more importantly, reporting helps the company address any process issues that led to the incident. The documentation of near misses was also discussed given how invaluable they are in efforts towards preventing injury. There is a firm belief that entrusting employees in process improvement makes the company stronger.

The final station involved practical firefighting measures. The training was provided by an outside contractor that furnishes companies with appropriate personal protective equipment. Employees were reminded of the possible fire hazards that could be present and then trained on how to deal with a fire if it were to occur. The types of extinguishing techniques were discussed, and it was clarified what works best in different situations. This hands-on activity allowed different employees to extinguish the fire, showing them how to use the preventative tools on hand.

 

“Here I am putting out a fire with a carbon dioxide extinguisher. It was a great rehearsal of important knowledge and I learned about what kind of extinguisher to choose in different situations.”

– Henrik G.

 

 

 

 

By the end of the day, the positive feedback received and the flourishing camaraderie brought aspirations to make this a recurring event. This day of learning was prepared for the Gävle facility, but Nilar plans to extend this to be for all locations on an annual basis if possible. For Nilar, it is essential to empower our employees by providing a safe environment where they can actively and proactively participate in the implementation of preventive measures. As the occupational environment is constantly evolving, Nilar embraces days like this to progress with it.


Meet a Nilar Employee – Tommi Enholm

How would you describe yourself?
I feel I am a hard-working and patient kind of guy. I like to be quite organized. I strive to make the best for my customers.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I was looking through the paper and saw a job posting by a consulting company needing employees. This was in a different location, Gävle, but that was appealing to me because I could move closer to my girlfriend, now fiancée. We had only been able to see each other every few months at that point. I interviewed and when I was confident that I had the job, I went back to my old job to resign.

How would you describe your position?
We just had a company reorganization, so my current job is quite new. I make appointments with customers and do system inspections as well as assist customers with troubleshooting. It involves a lot of time on the road, maybe 4-5 days, since many of our customers are located throughout Sweden but my weekends are very free. It will take time to adjust but I do like being able to travel around more. With more time in the car, I tend to mostly listen to radio on these drives or have my phone hooked up to make calls to feel more efficient. Audiobooks are a possibility, but, perhaps, I am old fashion since I prefer to turn the pages of a book.

What do you feel is the most common misconception about your role?
I think it is that I can solve all problems. I have learned a lot of new ways of working with my new role and had gained a lot from my past experience in system design, but not every problem has a direct solution. 

What motivates you?
If we are talking about in a general sense, I am motivated to work because I need to pay bills. But who doesn’t? I do feel Nilar has a unique product and seems to be best suited for homeowners and large housing complexes. I believe we will be competitive in the future.

Early mistakes that you learnt from in your career?
I think I was less communicative when I was younger. Now I am much better at this. I am more informative about what I think what we should do and am able to help better in planning. I suppose this comes with age. 

Your favorite book or genre?
I mainly like science fiction and fantasy. I started with Tolkien books. The movies were also very engaging. I am excited to see what they do in the new series that is going to come out soon, The Rings of Power. I am also a fan of George R. R. Martin. The Game of Thrones series was a great read. The TV series was also good for a time, but I think they pushed the end too far and too quick. I would have definitely seen it differently.

What do you do in your free time?
My fiancée and I do a lot of gardening. We have a decent greenhouse developed, maybe 30 square feet, where we are growing tomatoes, chilis, beans, cucumbers, and paprika. I hope to install a heating unit in the future so that we can perhaps use it year-round. It’s enjoyable to be outside when I have downtime. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and playing computer games

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
It is exciting to see the progress; there have been a lot of updates in the production cycles. When I started, the assembly of batteries felt quite slow; we had a low production volume. It is exciting to see how all things have come together and raised the level and speed of production.


Nilar and Enequi announce strategic partnership and battery order of 10 million SEK

The market for stationary solutions of energy storage is growing rapidly. The demand is elevated and climbing for the European market. The time was right for Nilar and Enequi to enter into a strategic partnership for the development of customized solutions for energy storage with the goal of providing customers with the safe, sustainable, and high performing energy storage they want and need.

Nilar’s strategy is to focus on developing and producing competitive batteries, BMS platform, and reoxygenating technology. Collaborating with our select partners, like Enequi, will bring the customization and system construction that the customer needs. Enequi is a Swedish developer and supplier of intelligent solutions for energy storage, energy control, and industrial automation. Combining their system solution, QuiPower, with Nilar’s batteries will provide property owners access to clean and environmentally friendly energy through intelligent energy storage and control.

“The partnership with Enequi is an important step in achieving our goal of signing strategic agreements in 2022 and 2023 with key integrators for jointly developed solutions aimed at our leading customer segments. We thus follow the roadmap set out in our revised business strategy, which was established at the beginning of 2022. Based on our unique product benefits, we continue to develop our batteries and our offering. We have high ambitions and, together with select partners, we strive to become a leader in optimized solutions for customers who are looking for high-performance, cost-effective, safe, and sustainable energy storage,” says Erik Oldmark.

Read more in our joint press release here.


Meet a Nilar Employee – Pär Möller


How would you describe yourself?
I generally am a person that likes to have a lot going on. This can sometimes be stressful, but I like to keep busy and see it more as an enjoyable challenge. I like to be part of developing new ways to work to ensure that me and my team meet our set goals.
 
What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I had spent more than 30 years in other industries. For a while, I was feeling frustrated at my last job, and I really wanted to branch out into production planning. Then I saw this advertisement for a new job at Nilar. They were seeking for production planner/buyer. The job description attracted me, and I saw it as a new challenge that I really wanted. Another thing that drew me to Nilar was that they provide a very interesting product.
 
How did your journey with Nilar begin?
When I came to Nilar, I started with a broad role in logistics. At first, I mostly worked with purchasing and experienced all kinds of other things that had to be implemented. I was paired with a veteran employee that was going to train me over a couple years. However, when he retired soon after, I was more or less alone in logistics. My area of ​​responsibility grew considerably, and it took a while to establish myself comfortably as a resource. When the company went through a recent reorganization, I was given a new role as Inventory Coordinator. I am in a central position to make a difference. We have the time in this moment of transition to make sure that everything is running better. It should be an exciting year and we will be ready to roll out stronger and more efficient than before.
 
What is the most common misconception about your role?
I think it can be that I have the answers for any question, even if it’s not my area of ​​responsibility. When my former mentor had retired, I had to adapt to his absence and learn a lot fast. Although it took time, I feel I have become a valuable resource, but I cannot know everything.
 
What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
At the moment, it must be my work to set up the business system (Monitor) so we are prepared for the coming challenges. We are improving our level of documentation and instruction manuals to help employees better embrace the software. I have been working on the roll-out of a new version that will completely enhance how we work. We will be more effective in lean manufacturing. We will be adapting production for most efficient flow. This work has allowed me to collaborate directly with production to build Monitor to be something good for all of us. It is interesting work and I look forward to what the future may hold.
 
What is your favorite thing to do?
I like to play disc golf. I am able to play a few times every week. There is a local league, but I tend to play with friends every weekend. It is my kind of way to relax, where I can just generally take it easy when I am out of work. Living without a schedule is my favorite thing to do.
 
A secret talent?
I don’t feel I have any specific talent. I mean I play disc golf, but I don’t feel I am really good at it; I would classify myself as a “medium” player, having fun and doing well enough to keep the game going. If I were to develop a new talent, I would like to learn more about painting. I like to paint but I feel I am not good at it. I would like to find the time to learn and practice that. That is maybe a future goal to pursue.
 
What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
I would say it is my colleagues. I’m lucky to have the best colleagues in the world. Everyone is happy, positive, and driven. Before Nilar, I worked at a company that was more established in its product line, providing a well-defined commodity. It was already well established in its industry, so a lot of the work felt like going through the motions. It was a different attitude coming here. I felt a huge difference in my first year. It was a new building atmosphere. We were all doing the best, creating new products, collaborating out on the floor. Nilar was very diverse. It was such a mix of old and young, new and experienced – everyone working together to meet the goals. I appreciated how accepting it was for different cultures when I entered.


Industry Highlights – The Benefit of Long Duration Storage

With decarbonization moving forward, it has become clear that energy storage will be one of the key enablers. This is for a variety of reasons. To phase out fossil fuels, there will be more renewable energy resources integrated into the grid. However, the absence of flexibility provided by gas-fired plants will not be addressed by wind or solar given their variability from moment to moment. In addition, the influx of new energy sources places a strain on the existing infrastructure, already exacerbated by booming electrification. Energy storage serves as the bridge, providing the flexibility needed to not only fill in the gaps, bringing the necessary balance between supply and demand, but to also shift surplus generation to more optimal times.

Energy storage is crucial for the energy transition. The long-term targets are clear, but the pathway can be considered indeterminate. The near-term focus has shifted to long-duration energy storage (LDES). To note, the definition of LDES has evolved over time. Initially it was any storage for longer than 2 hours; perhaps this was a limitation of its time where 2 hours was significant and potentially harder to achieve. This imprecise term has covered systems rated for 6+ hours of full capacity discharge [1].

LDES has significant potential to make an immediate impact on a grid-level. When located in front of the meter, this energy storage directly feeds into the power grid to be transmitted to end users. From this location, a system can address many of the short-term needs. For instance, the general increase in electrification is intensifying the load on the grid. The direct way to solve this would be to update the infrastructure; this would involve building out the transmission lines, fortifying them for greater capacity [2]. Most of the legacy equipment was designed and built to deliver electricity from centralized resources, such as thermal power generation; becoming decentralized and more interconnected will allow for more distributed generation resources [2].  This kind of construction need is easy to identify but the actual implementation is complicated. There are multiple stakeholders at play from the government level to the utility to the grid operators to municipalities and beyond. Coordination of these stakeholders and acquiring the necessary investment takes considerable time. An LDES can allow this kind of network-strengthening investment to be deferred, optimizing how finances are allocated and reducing risk of a long-lasting project not being used when finally ready [3]. The infrastructure changes then can be approached systematically without a deficit in the grid.

With the integration of intermittency from renewable generation, the capacity of the grid can become unstable. Grid operators must monitor which power sources are available to meet the demand. The dispatchability of LDES creates a firm capacity, facilitating better tuning of grid frequency and ensuring a consistent supply of electricity, resulting in grid stability [3]. This allows a balance in the use and transition between resources. In addition, this provides security in supply since energy storage can fill the gap when another system is unavailable. An obstacle to embracing the full potential of storage has been the need for supportive policy and market frameworks [3]. The industry as a whole needs to standardize the approach to energy storage at least to some level. At least there has been global consensus on the need and efforts are being made to create a framework for regulations in the future [4].

So is LDES the solution moving forward? The answer is yes, but it is one of many. It is Nilar’s belief that there will be a multitude of different solutions working in synergy to truly gain the decarbonization desired; collaboration and concurrent progress are the key.  It appears the world is coming together to invest in many different pathways forward. And according to recent assessments by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for the United Nations, there is still time to have an impact on climate change through decarbonization as long as we act swiftly, now

 

 

 

[1] J. Spector, “So, What Exactly Is Long-Duration Energy Storage?,” 26 October 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/so-what-exactly-is-long-duration-storage-explained.
[2] A. Allard, “The Surge in Electrification of Transportation Requires a Sustainable and Resilient Electrical Infrastructure,” 1 April 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.powermag.com/blog/the-surge-in-electrification-of-transportation-requires-a-sustainable-and-resilient-electrical-infrastructure/.
[3] World Energy Council , “Five Steps to Energy Storage: Innovation Insights Brief – 2020,” World Energy Council 2020, London, 2020.
[4] N. Moussu, “EU ministers reach broad consensus on batteries regulation,” EURACTIV.fr, 18 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/eu-ministers-reach-broad-consensus-on-batteries-regulation/.

Meet a Nilar Employee – Tomas

How would you describe yourself?
I am a very curious guy who finds it very difficult to sit still when there are improvements to be made. I’m usually very positive and I like different people in general.

What led you to work in the energy storage industry?
I have always had an interest in computers and videos games. I was always seeking out the latest console, so I have actually had all the PlayStation releases. I like to visit the exhibitions where they display new technology. Since I have always been curious about new technology, working with the energy solutions of the future felt just right for me.

How did your journey with Nilar begin?
I was recruited by my former production manager from a previous job. I started as a test technician at Nilar in 2012, and, since that day, I have had the opportunity to work in multiple roles around the company: Technician, Assembler, Forklift driver, Material Coordinator, Team Leader, Flow Manager, and now, Operational Support / LEAN Coordinator. This is a brand-new position, but it felt like a natural transition from my previous work. It seems I have always been using LEAN methodologies and have taken courses on lean improvement.

What is the most common misconception about your role?
There tends to be very ambiguous understanding of the word LEAN. It is assumed that the LEAN Coordinator is a person who goes around “Doing 5S” from time to time but also involves yelling at people who don’t clean up their mess. I do believe in the continuous improvement that committing to the 5S system provides.

What is the coolest thing you’re working on right now?
Right now, we are starting a new journey with the production staff.  We are working together to develop the smartest working methods. Learning from past mistakes made and our acquired experience, we will now build a world-class organization!

What motivates you?
I am motivated by learning new skills, every day, regardless of whether it’s at work or in my everyday life at home.

Early mistakes that you learnt from in your career?
I have learned that everything will get better in the end. If it’s not better yet, it’s not the end!

Your favorite movie/television show/book/genre?
I like Sci-fi films and series, especially the ones with time-travel. I love the Back to the Future movies. They never get old.

A secret talent?
I’ve got all of talents… but a secret one? When I was younger, I was often told I have a big mouth. I stumbled upon one interesting ability.  I can close my lips around a Pringles tube. Well, I guess it’s not a secret anymore!

What’s the best thing about working at Nilar?
It’s a company who always have taken good care of me as an individual. Nilar has always opened doors for me and has let me work with the best colleagues I can ever imagine. I am very proud to work at Nilar!


Industry Highlights – Big Steps in Battery Regulation

As the energy transition pushes forward, one critical step is for regulations to align with the needs of the movement. Batteries are a significant enabler of decarbonization through electric vehicles and energy storage which makes the battery value chain a high priority. In December 2020, the European Commission developed a proposal to create battery-specific regulations for the European Union (EU). The goal was to create a framework for mandatory requirements on material sourcing, sustainability, safety, installation, and requirements for end-of-life management [1]. This proposal is closely aligned with the European Green Deal, the Circular Economy Action Plan, and the New Industrial Strategy, which are all foundational for the transformation to a circular, digital economy in Europe [2].

On March 17th, the Environmental Council held a policy debate regarding the legislative framework. This revolved around a compromise proposal developed by France which was considered instrumental to bringing the group to a consensus. Within this meeting, the Council officially adopted a general approach to the regulations and now negotiations begin on the final text and any remaining sticking points with the European Parliament [3]. The efforts put in by France were in hopes to accelerate the implementation schedule. As stated by Pascal Canfin of France, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) of the Renew Europe group, “With this text, we become the world leaders in environmental regulation of battery production throughout the value chain” [4].

If the finalized wording can be adopted by the end of 2022, which is an accelerated review period, the regulations will be in force six months early, becoming active in January 2027 instead of July [4]. One thing to note is that the compromised proposal incorporated delays in formal regulation enforcement. The initial proposal did pose quicker timelines, with earliest enforcement of certain elements starting in 2023; the change was most likely needed to gain more acceptance, giving all the EU member countries time to work out their own implementation strategies. There is concern that this waiting period is too long. Industry leaders in Europe felt obligated to appeal to the Environment Ministers directly for swift action. In an open letter, they noted that many companies are close to already adopting all the necessary changes outlined in the draft and this delay may hurt the future competitiveness of European businesses [5]. Slow implementation will make it hard for newcomers in the industry to contend and that regulations like this will help the rapid development of the battery industry occur in a more resilient and sustainable way. Only time will tell how the final version will resolve but there is hope that this can be fully accepted within 2022.

Governance over batteries within the EU is not a new topic. However, this new proposal is meant to replace the Batteries Directive of 2006, which was considered too narrow in its scope and limited in its ability to enforce mandates at end-of-life [6]. One significant move within this new framework is the creation of a battery passport, which will track the battery through its life cycle, forcing all parties involved at any stage to be compliant with the requirements. There are still elements to work out, such as the methodologies for calculating targets and how compliance will be penalized, but so far, the industry is behind this change [6].  Once the set of regulations has been formalized, it will be interesting to see how each country of the EU interprets the law for their nation. The EU is on their way to establishing the starting framework that other countries worldwide could use to advance in electrification.

As stated by Simona Bonafé, the Vice-Chair of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament, “For the first time in European legislation, the Battery Regulation lays down a holistic set of rules to govern an entire product life cycle, from the design phase to end-of-life. This creates a new approach to boost the circularity of batteries and introduces new sustainability standards that should become a benchmark for the entire global battery market. Batteries are a key technology for fostering sustainable mobility and for storing renewable energy” [2]. With the significance that batteries hold for decarbonization, it is crucial to lay the groundwork for the future.

 

 

[1] European Parliament, “New EU regulatory framework for batteries: Setting sustainability requirements,” European Parliament, 4 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document/EPRS_BRI(2021)689337.
[2] D. Popp, “MEPs want to strengthen new EU rules for design, production and disposal of batteries,” 10 February 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20220202IPR22435/meps-want-to-strengthen-new-eu-rules-for-batteries.
[3] N. Moussu, “EU ministers reach broad consensus on batteries regulation,” EURACTIV.fr, 18 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/eu-ministers-reach-broad-consensus-on-batteries-regulation/.
[4] N. Moussu, “Canfin: Battery Regulation to enter into force ‘six months’ early,” EURACTIVE France, 4 February 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.euractiv.com/section/batteries/interview/nelly-canfin-battery-regulation-to-enter-into-force-six-months-early/.
[5] Automotive Cells Co; EIT InnoEnergy; Eramet; Verkor; Northvolt; Talga; Vulcan Energy; Skeleton Technologies , “Open Letter – Battery Regulation (industry),” 15 December 2021. [Online]. Available: https://www.transportenvironment.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/2021_-batteries_reg_open_letter_companies.pdf. [Accessed 2022].
[6] E. Burlinghaus, “As the US struggles to “green” supply chains, new EU battery regulation offers lessons,” EnergySource, 11 March 2022. [Online]. Available: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/energysource/new-eu-battery-regulation-offers-lessons/.

Reflecting on International Women’s Day

A few years ago, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) compiled a report about the relationship between gender and the renewable energy industry. The goal was to explore the female role within the industry now, the challenges that they still face and the potential measures that can bridge the gap. The study found that 32% of renewable energy workforce is female [1]. This was based on a large survey of nearly 1500 respondents across 144 countries. The general breakdown of this portion of the workforce is summarized in the diagram below  [1].

This survey highlighted the lack of awareness and slanted perception of the disparity in the workforce. One barrier is the broad male-biased social attitude and perception about gender, such as the assumption that women lack the physical strength for certain technical roles [1]. The general social perception has been shifting in the years since this survey, but the current estimated breakdown is still consistent with IRENA’s findings. The commitment to the UN Sustainability Goal for Gender Equality has opened doors with initiatives to support growth and accessibility for female careers but improvement is slow. To build more equality, there is a need for more female involvement in all levels of the industry, influencing policy [2]. Empowering women will be the key to progress and the predicted growth in the industry job market provides the opportunity to do so.

Nilar is committed to empowering women in the industry from the top down. Our board of directors is 40% female, bringing extensive experience to the table. Within the company, women represent 29% of the overall workforce. This is segmented into 33% within our blue-collar employees and 27% within the white-collar employees. This is lower than ideal, but we are always striving towards improvement. Currently 18% of our internal leadership roles are occupied by women, with two female leaders established in our most critical positions: the manager of our research department in chemistry and the head of operations. Their respective department breakdowns mirror the importance of female leadership; women represent 60% of the chemistry group and 33% of operations. We are proud of the collaborative spirit and extraordinary achievements that our female colleagues bring to our business.

At Nilar, we work hard in creating a workplace with the right prerequisites that are fit for all people. For any newly hired employee, Nilar offers training to equalize the competencies amongst the department. There are ongoing efforts to establish different developmental pathways for internal growth and specialization. Through our relationships with nearby academic facilities, we are able to explore different educational initiatives, which has opened up higher education possibilities to our employees. Nilar values strengthening the knowledgebase of the company and our collaborative environment is only enhanced by our employees’ willingness to learn and explore.

[1] IRENA, “RENEWABLE ENERGY: A GENDER PERSPECTIVE,” International Renewable Energy Agency, Abu Dhabi, 2019.
[2] T. Gunawardena, “To what extent can renewable energy empower women in rural communities?,” World Economic Forum, 07 July 2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/to-what-extent-can-renewable-energy-empower-women-in-rural-communities/.