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Exclusive Interview with Taciana Peão Lopes, Co-Founder, MWE

Nina Febo, Conference Producer, dmg events: You are the co-founder of Mozambique Women of Energy (MWE), could you tell us a little more about the mission and any achievements you are particularly proud of thus far?

Taciana Peao Lopes, co-founder, MWE: Since the start of MWE in 2017 we have engaged with our community to help to involve more women in the oil and gas industry and had the opportunity to have the Netherlands Enterprise Agency as a key partner that believed in MWE and made this initiative a reality.

We are very proud of our CONNECT (face-to-face) sessions which are full of human energy with initiatives such as “Good Morning Local Content” or “Are you the Captain of your own flight?”, that have counted the presence of several women that helped us define our vision and mission. MWE participation in the TED x Maputo which was also a big milestone for us. On the THINK pillar some of our MWEs have been actively engaged in the review and drafting of policy and legal instruments related with access to energy and electricity.

Recently, MWE received recognition for our work with Mama Graça Machel and we delighted with her time as MWE’s patron which has helped us to do and achieve more.

Furthermore, launching a full ride scholarship for a PhD program with the Doyenne Initiative (Doyenne Reliability Engineering Program (DREP)) has been a great achievement. The initiative will seek to award scholarships to 12 – 15 female Mozambican nationals for the completion of 2-month technical certification course in Maputo run by the University of Maryland (UMD) with the 2+ best performing students continuing on to complete Masters or PhD degrees at UMD in the United States.

NF: You are also the Founder and Managing Director of a successful energy law firm in Mozambique, TPLA – if you could give one piece of advice to young women who are considering working in the energy industry, what would it be

TPL: I would ask them the following question: “What would you be able to achieve if you were not afraid of pursuing your dreams?”.

We need to be proactive, that means: be responsible, act in conscience and in accordance with your values and principles, know your limits, and (re)imagine the future!

NF: I understand renewable energy is a topic close to your heart – can you tell us a little bit about how Mozambique is doing on its path toward decarbonization?

TPL: There is a growing recognition of the importance of decarbonization worldwide and by the Mozambican Government and this is portrayed in the Government’s Five-Year Plan and the National Program for Sustainable Development.

The Government of Mozambique has acknowledged the importance of a diverse energy mix in the light of the abundance of natural resources present in the country. Mozambique’s energy mix is moving from hydropower to a more diversified energy base that includes untapped coal, gas, wind and solar resources. Hydropower accounts for approximately 81% of installed capacity, however over the past decade there have been significant discoveries of coal and natural gas reserves that may have the potential to change the energy mix.

Renewable energy is recognized as an important source of reliable power for the country. There is a significant solar and wind potential and there are a number of Programs both on the on-grid and off-grid space: PROLER, GetFIT, Get.Invest, Get Transform, BRILHO, ACE, AECF, Beyond the Grid (to start at the end of year), amongst others. With the roll out of some of these initiatives, we can see a rise in the number of companies that provide renewable energy solutions and this shows that there is an increased awareness amongst the population about sustainability as well as an increase in demand from consumers.

A determining factor towards decarbonization in Mozambique will be how the Mozambican government and LNG operators manage their operations. If carbon emissions are not carefully monitored and regulated, the country will have a difficult time lowering its emissions.

NF: MWE is very active in training and developing local capacity, I see you have recently launched ‘Energized SAGA’. Could you tell us more about this initiative and other initiatives currently conducted by MWE?

TPL: Energize is part of our LEAD pillar and aims to influence the future makers of Mozambique through a series of web presentations that can empower this generation to build their careers and take charge of their future in the LNG value chain. Our target audience is mostly young graduating and/or aspiring engineers who need more context regarding the industry to make better career choices.

NF: You are speaking at the Mozambique Gas Virtual Summit in October, what are you the most looking forward to at the event?

TPL: In this Mozambique Gas Virtual Summit, I would like to see more women participating in this event, including a greater representation in the various panels and a session especially allocated to women and organized by MWE. Excited to see more participation of students that are interested in the field and the different dynamics since now the Summit will be presented virtually.

NF: Thank you for your time, we are thrilled to have MWE as an official partner of the event and look forward to collaborating with your team. With regards to your final point, at the virtual event, each panel will be moderated by a woman, and women will feature prominently throughout. With regards to students, we are again, this year running the 5th University Essay Contest and Awards which will give a platform to the young future leaders of Mozambique.

We look forward to welcoming you, and the rest of the world, on 28 – 29 October 2020 at the Mozambique Gas Virtual Summit!