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Shining a Spotlight on Energy People: Esin Serin AMEI


6 min read

Photo of Esin Serin, Policy Fellow, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE, sat at table with laptop in front of her Photo: E Serin
Esin Serin, Policy Fellow, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE

Photo: E Serin

In our latest Spotlight on Energy People interview with Energy Institute (EI) members, Esin Serin AMEI, Policy Fellow, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London School of Economics, highlights the formative role that the EI played in her career.

Q: Tell us your background and when you first became interested in energy?
A: I grew up in Istanbul and moved to London for university. I’d always known I wanted to go into a career that would empower me to contribute to social good. During my undergraduate studies I found the energy industry to be a place that combined the opportunity to do just that with a dynamic and exciting career path. From there I went on to study the Energy Institute-accredited Master’s in Sustainable Energy Futures (at Imperial College London) which was what truly opened the doors for me to a career in energy and climate change policy. I’m unusual in having started my career at the EI’s Knowledge Service as an energy analyst.


Q: Tell us a little about your current job and industry?
A: In 2021, I moved to the London School of Economics, where I now produce evidence-based insights for policymakers on the ways that the UK can capture growth opportunities along its transition to a net zero economy.


Q: Please could you provide a couple of examples of what these opportunities might be? 
A: The UK is a specialised innovator of a number of clean technologies such as offshore wind and carbon capture, usage and storage, for which demand is rapidly growing as the world tries to transition towards net zero emissions. With timely investment to develop domestic supply chains and capabilities, the UK could capture export opportunities from global markets from the production of high-value components relevant for such technologies.


The UK can also leverage its place as a centre of green finance and of expertise in services such as engineering and design, which are relevant for deploying and operating clean technologies of all sorts. But efficiency is widely considered the biggest ‘low-hanging fruit’ that the UK government could take advantage of – investing in efficiency means getting more out of the country’s resources, which drives productivity and competitiveness in global markets.


The most enjoyable aspect of my job is talking to policymakers and contributing new evidence and analysis to policy efforts to bring innovative technologies such as tidal stream energy and carbon capture and storage to reality in support of the UK’s path to net zero. On the former topic, I carried out an extensive project, together with colleagues at the LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, pointing out areas within this nascent but growing industry in which the UK has or can build competitiveness to capture opportunities from the global market. We convened a roundtable discussion at the end of the project bringing policymakers, industry and academia together to share our results.


Q: March is International Women’s Month. The energy sector is unfortunately still a male-dominated industry and I wondered if you had any recommendations to encourage more women to consider a career in energy?
A: We all need to be part of this move towards an energy workplace – and wider society – in which opportunities are equally available to all. Tackling systemic challenges such as climate change (at the centre of which is the energy system) requires equal participation and representation of all.


There is huge value in awareness and education here – many employers need to be trained to identify and remove biases (a lot of which can be unconscious) that leave women at a disadvantage. Creating the time and safe space for women to express the issues they are facing can go a long way toward the necessary interventions being understood at management level and subsequently developed and delivered. That does have to begin with leadership-level commitment from organisations to improving the representation and experience of women in careers in energy.


On a personal level, I have benefitted a lot from having a mentor who has and is navigating similar challenges in the workplace. The energy industry could make more of mentorship schemes to encourage and support more women entering and progressing in the workplace.


Q: How has being an Associate Member (AMEI) of the Energy Institute benefitted you in your career?
A: As Sir David MacKay puts it so clearly, the climate problem is mostly an energy problem. The knowledge, experience and connections I have acquired through the EI since joining as a student member six years ago have equipped me with a proper understanding of the energy system that I benefit from every day as I work on the climate problem.


Q.:How are your role and being part of the EI contributing towards a just transition to net zero?
A: Being part of the EI connects me to a global network of energy professionals which helps me better understand energy transitions in other parts of the world where energy access needs to be thought in parallel with actions to tackle climate change. Over the years I have attended many EI panels/webinars and energy policy debates, which provided me with information and insight directly relevant to my job. Events and activities like pub quizzes with the EI’s Young Professional Network (YPN) have also always been a good opportunity to meet and share experiences with like-minded professionals in a more informal (and fun!) environment.


I also attended several International Energy Weeks, and watching the conference transform into its current form has been a real window into the opportunities and challenges involved in the energy transition, as well as the diversity of voices that all need to be on board for its successful delivery. The conference is almost a mirror of the energy transition itself!


Finally, resources such as New Energy World are never short of new ideas and lessons that can be transferred across geographies to deliver a just transition to net zero globally. That really helps me put my work in the UK in perspective.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author only and are not necessarily given or endorsed by or on behalf of the Energy Institute.


You can find more information about EI Membership and the Shining a Spotlight on Energy People series here.