Sharing thoughts about reimagining energy and a sustainable future

From Coal to Nuclear: Claire's Personal Journey

In a recent episode of the Reimagined Energy Podcast, Maria McGowan welcomed Claire Harris, a senior advisor in Advanced Reactor Development at NB Power. Harris, who has been with the company since 1989, started her career in a coal-fired station. Remarkably, she has witnessed the energy sector’s shift from fossil fuel dependence to being more environment-friendly and inclusive. Her journey from a coal-powered station to an environment and inclusion advisor in the Advanced Reactor Development Program offers insights into the changing dynamics of the energy sector.

Shifts in Energy Sector

Over the past 10 years, the energy sector has undergone significant changes. As the world has become more conscious of the environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels, it has increasingly embraced renewable and clean energy sources, including nuclear power. With the growing acceptance of these renewables, the energy industry has seen a surge of activities, especially around nuclear power, which plays a crucial role in achieving net zero emissions.

Meeting Future Energy Demands

The demand for energy is growing, particularly due to the increasing adoption of electric vehicles. Preparing for this shift necessitates a comprehensive approach that leverages existing technologies like wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear energy. The technology, Harris believes, is available; what we need is to lean in together and understand how to use it effectively. This will not only require a focus on harnessing renewable energy but also concrete strategies to ensure stable grid availability during peak consumption times.

The Importance of Grid Stability and Regional Projects

Harris stresses the criticality of grid stability, which is vital for consistent power availability, especially during peaks and valleys in usage. The conversation highlighted specific regional projects in Canada that aim to ensure such stability while also tackling the complex question of balancing power demands with clean energy supply.

Inclusion and Diversity in the Energy Sector

One crucial aspect of the conversation revolves around diversity and inclusion within the energy sector. Harris illustrates how the industry is still male-dominated, with women representing only about 18-20% of the energy industry workforce. Inclusivity, particularly the inclusion of more women and indigenous voices, can bring about more sustainable and mindful strategies. Such diversity can ensure conversations revolve around the benefit of future generations and a more holistic approach to energy production.

According to Harris, the next five to ten years will be crucial in defining how we address energy concerns. It’s a period where we must figure out how to work collaboratively, embrace all clean energy sources, and build a sustainable energy future. The key will be to move away from divisive conversations and unite around a common goal: to create a sustainable and inclusive energy future for all.

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