The 11th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) global forum is under way through September 23rd in Saudi Arabia. It congregates 27 countries that represent 90% of the world’s clean energy in the aim of accelerating the energy transition to clean energy technologies.
As part of that forum, the “Women in Clean Energy: Harnessing All Talent” event was held on September 17th at which the awards of the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment Initiative (C3E) were announced, Women of Distinction and Organizational Leadership. The Organizational Leadership Award was given to Cerro Dominador, the largest CSP project in Latin America that has been characterized by the important role that women have played in its construction.
According to information from the Ministry of Energy, women represent an average of 23% of employees in the industry. For Cerro Dominador, moving towards a greater internal equity in the organization has been a challenge undertaken since its beginnings, and today it is proud to have a female staff representing more than 47% of employees. In sectors of the construction work, it reached 25% through the Mirrors program. This and other indicators were decisive in C3E celebrating Cerro Dominador at the “Women in Clean Energy” event on September 17th.
During the on-line ceremony, Fernando González, CEO of Cerro Dominador, expressed thanks for the award: “In the name of everyone who forms a part of Cerro Dominador, I want to thank you for this recognition. In recent years we have received an important number of awards for our finances and our technology, but this is something that is quite close to our hearts and of which we are very proud because it represents the way that we do business. We try to do things well, to do them differently, and for that reason we are very committed to having a fair gender-equity organization.”
Toward this end, Cerro Dominador is a member of two programs. The first is the More Energy Program of the Ministry of Energy; and the second is the U.N. Win-Win program. Both programs have helped identify gaps and implement good practices. Some of the recent implementations are: the analysis of, and improvement in, the salary gap; the creation of a gender-equity committee; work with key suppliers and contractors to encourage them to hire and work with women in a sector that is predominantly male.
Fernández remarked: “Something of which we are very proud is the Mirror Program with our contractors, where we focus on hiring women from local communities to work at the plant. This makes us very proud because those women, who were initially trained for a specific role in the plant construction, are now being trained to work in the operating stage. So not only do we give continuity to the initiative, we also offer a job possibility that has a great projection over time because the useful life of this type of plant is 30 years. Although we are a small company, we are very proud to be an example. We try to do things well and this award represents our effort to do that.”
The “Women in Clean Energy: Harnessing All Talent” event was organized by the C3E Initiative and the Equal by 30 campaign. At the event, government leaders, international organizations and the private sector revealed their commitments to increasing women’s participation in the energy sector.
About Cerro Dominador
The company’s solar complex is comprised of a solar thermal plant and a photovoltaic plant that produce a total of 210 MW. The 100-MW photovoltaic plant is already fully connected to the power grid. The solar thermal plant is scheduled to begin injecting in 2020 and is now in the commissioning phase.
The solar thermal plant is comprised of 10,600 heliostats creating a solar field measuring more than 700 hectares. The heliostats concentrate solar radiation at one point, the receiver, located in the upper part of a 250-meter-high tower. The sun’s radiation is used to heat molten salts that create steam that is fed to a 110-MW turbine to produce clean energy. This plant also has a molten salt heat storage system to ensure a stable supply of energy. The salt is produced in the same municipality as where the plant is located, María Elena.
We worked with the community to employ a percentage of local workers. Local hires represented more than 90% of employees working in the heliostat manufacturing bay.
Current status: construction progress is 98%. Connection date: last quarter of 2020.