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The six human resources implications of the Energy Transition

Author: Mark Kissack

Published: 09 Apr 2024

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The last twelve months have seen temperatures at above 1.5 degrees warming for the first time. There is a renewed focus on the need to decarbonise the economy to prevent warming getting out of control. The Energy Transition is the systems change required to do this in the energy sector.

The Energy Transition has six main implications for human resources:

  • Adaptability – To successfully manage the Energy Transition, you require people that are adaptable. The energy sector was previously dominated by companies that evolved very slowly. The sector is now changing at a rapid pace. To thrive in the Energy Transition, people need to be able to adapt to new situations rapidly.
  • Teamwork – In slow-moving hierarchical cultures people operate in organisational silos. This provides efficiency when there is a stable operating environment. Today’s energy sector is highly dynamic and requires organisation around small teams. Being able to work in multi-disciplinary teams is a key skillset for the Energy Transition.
  • Negotiation – The involvement of several stakeholders in energy projects involves new business models. To create business models that create value for all stakeholders requires collaboration with parties outside the organisation. This requires good negotiation skills.
  • Broad understanding – It is no longer sufficient to be an expert in one narrow area. To be effective in multidisciplinary teams one must understand areas outside one’s expertise. In this way, team members can elaborate new ideas with each other.
  • Climate understanding – Business is about solving problems. Energy solutions need to solve the specific problem of Climate Change. Those working on the problem need a good understanding of climate change so that their solutions are effective.
  • Metrics – Effective metrics to measure progress are required. Carbon emissions need to be analysed in the same way as accounting profit is in organisations. Finance teams that are experts in financial reporting need to develop their skills to involve carbon reporting.

These six implications also apply to other areas of sustainability.

*The views expressed are the author’s and not ICAEW’s