Although women make up half of the worldwide workforce potential, they are often underrepresented in power sector technical and leadership roles. The Women in Power System Transformation initiative—formally launched at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and implemented through the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the G-PST Consortium—was created to address educational and professional barriers to women’s entry and advancement in power system operation organizations.

The initiative leverages the G-PST Consortium’s network of industry and academic institutions leading clean energy transformation in the power sector and complements USAID’s broader Engendering Industries programming, which aims to increase economic opportunities for women in traditionally male-dominated sectors around the world.

In the News

The Mission of Women in PST is to support and empower women, in all their diversity, to lead and fully take part in transforming and decarbonizing power systems around the world.

As we collectively work to address the global climate crisis, women leaders and decision-makers are essential to achieving successful, inclusive, and equitable clean energy transitions. Enabling women to bring their unique skills and experiences to bear across key power sector institutions will strengthen decision-making, accelerate innovation, and drive dynamic solutions to meet urgent global challenges. Moreover, advancing gender diversity, equity, and inclusion in this critical sector can support the economic and social empowerment of women around the world, such that they might benefit – in equal measure – from rapidly evolving and systemic positive change.

Women in Power System Transformation Activities

Women in PST recognizes that cross-cutting workforce development and institutional changes are necessary to realize the full potential of women across the power sector workforce pipeline. This initiative works at the intersection of four critical objectives to advance and empower women’s leadership in the power sector and academic institutions around the world:

Women in PST is supporting women across the power sector workforce pipeline to develop knowledge and skills on cutting-edge technical topics related to variable renewable energy (VRE) integration, power sector transformation, and advanced power system operations. Activities include:

  • Offering student internships at G-PST technical institutions
  • Collaborating with G-PST system operators on professional fellowship exchanges
  • Developing publicly available technical teaching materials for graduate-level engineering programs and practitioner upskilling

Internships at G-PST Technical Institutions

Women in PST offers 10-12-week graduate student summer internships with a focus on gender diversity at G-PST technical institutions, including the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). These experiential learning opportunities are focused on building advanced technical knowledge and skills in alignment with ongoing G-PST work.

Read about our recent 2022 Internship Program.

Please email USAIDNREL@nrel.gov for the latest information on Women in PST internship opportunities.

Women in PST graduate student interns, Kamakshi Tatkare, Manisha Rauniyar, and Gayathri Jagadeesh, engaged in innovative research and analysis with NREL’s Power Systems Engineering Center (PSEC)

Women in PST graduate student interns, Kamakshi Tatkare, Manisha Rauniyar, and Gayathri Jagadeesh, engaged in innovative research and analysis with NREL’s Power Systems Engineering Center (PSEC).

Professional Fellowships at G-PST System Operators

Women in PST collaborates with G-PST system operators to offer practitioner-level fellowships with a focus on gender diversity and underrepresented groups working in power system operators or utilities. Participants can spend one to three months at a leading G-PST Consortium system operator partner focused on application of cutting-edge operational and engineering solutions to bring high levels of variable renewable energy onto grids. Please reach out to USAIDNREL@nrel.gov if your organization would be interested to participate in fellowship exchanges.

Graduate-Level Technical Teaching Materials

With leadership from Imperial College London, Women in PST is collaborating with leading women experts from around the world to develop graduate-level university course content and student exercises for technical topics identified by the G-PST Inaugural Teaching Agenda. The GPST Teaching Agenda identifies ninety topics deemed essential for power system transformation that will need to be addressed in post-graduate education and training programs to adequately prepare the power system workforce of the future. As power sector modernization and renewable energy integration are introducing novel challenges to traditional power system planning and operations approaches, it is critically important for women – from university graduate students to power sector practitioners – to have access to high-quality, relevant technical coursework to build the cutting-edge technical skills and competencies needed to excel in and lead the workforce of the future.

Teaching materials and student exercises for four technical topics, all designed and taught by women professionals and experts, are now available for universities and practitioners around the world to download. Lecture recordings and supportive materials are made available at no cost to universities and teaching institutions around the world to expand cutting-edge technical training to as many students, faculty, and practitioners as possible. These materials are designed to be easily adopted into existing curricula for instruction in a virtual or hybrid classroom format.

The four technical topics are:

Topic Subject Area Instructor
Declining System Inertia and Dynamic Reserve Requirements
This topic covers the impact of declining power system inertia due to rising shares of inverter-based resources (IBRs) on the grid, determining minimum inertia needs, and methods to monitor and maintain sufficient inertia. The important interplay between system inertia and frequency control mechanisms is explained to help strike the right balance between minimum inertia and faster / slower frequency response reserves based on the characteristics of individual power systems.
Operation Julia Matevosyan
Chief Engineer, Energy System Integration Group
Power System Stability with 100% Inverter-Based Resources (IBR)
This topic discusses the impact of rising levels of IBRs on power system stability. First, key characteristics of IBRs affecting the robustness of power systems and their effects on power system control and stability are identified. Then, the control challenges and stability problems encountered in a weak (low short-circuit level), low-inertia power systems with high shares of IBRs are covered together with the solutions that have been put forward thus far.
Stability and Protection Claudia Rahmann
Associate Professor in the Electrical Engineering Department at the University of Chile and Director of the Solar Energy Research Center of Chile
Impacts of Electric Vehicles on Power Systems
This topic covers the challenges and remedies around integration of electric vehicles (EVs) to the grid, including current global efforts, projections, regulation, and policies in different countries. This course is focused on modeling issues, commercial software for EV integration studies, underlying mechanism and root-cause analysis, and potential synergy between variable renewable energy resources and EV integration.
Active Distribution Networks and Microgrids Edvina Uzunovic
Assistant Teaching Professor, Worcester Polytechnic Institute and IEEE Committee Volunteer
Network Planning and Pricing to Support Net-Zero Transition
This topic revisits current practices in network pricing across transmission and distribution (T&D) systems. The Great Britain system is used as an example to illustrate key differences in principles between T&D systems, evolution over time to accommodate growing variable renewable generation, impact on network users at different locations, and differing generation technologies. Ongoing reforms to harmonize pricing across transmission and distribution are highlighted.
Markets and Investment Furong Li
Director of Centre for Sustainable Power Distribution at the Department of Electronic & Electrical Engineering, University of Bath
Learn More and Access the Course Materials
Access Materials on Gender Equality Issues and Best Practice Resources

Women in PST is bringing together leading institutions focused on gender diversity and equality in the energy and other sectors to equip women with the skills and support needed to succeed in a rapidly changing power sector. Women in PST is partnering with Johns Hopkins University Self-Empowerment and Equity for Change (SEE Change) Initiative to support women power system operators and students in building positive mental habits, realizing their leadership potential, and achieving their personal and professional goals through multi-week empowerment and personal agency training. Read more about the Self-Empowerment and Equity for Change (SEE Change) initiative.

Women in PST is partnering with leading women’s networks and organizations to build support structures that expand women’s access to professional opportunities and advancement in power sector institutions.

Women in PST is partnering with USAID Engendering Industries and G-PST system operators to address engrained institutional barriers to the representation, advancement, and retention of women in power sector technical and leadership roles. USAID Engendering Industries provides targeted support to utilities and system operators in developing countries to institutionalize gender-diverse decision-making, expertise, and leadership in their policies and operations through the Workforce Gender Equality Accelerated Program.

USAID Engendering Industries best practice guidance and other resources, including the Gender 101 Training, can be found here.

Women in Power System Transformation In Action

As we collectively work to address the global climate crisis, women leaders and decision-makers are essential to achieving successful, inclusive, and equitable clean energy transitions. When women are empowered to bring their unique skills and experiences to bear across key power sector institutions, they strengthen decision-making, accelerate innovation, and drive dynamic solutions to meet urgent global challenges. Women in PST encourages universities, faculty, and professors to stream these videos on social media, websites, and in the classroom to encourage and empower women to pursue engineering and technical degrees for transformative change.

USAID-NREL Partnership

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