Under Britta’s leadership, the Dutch Marine Energy Centre (DMEC), a non-profit foundation accelerating marine energy solutions, is creating critical mass to bring innovative technologies to market – with women in the driver’s seat. It has been just five years since Britta initiated DMEC, and it is already coordinating 7 international projects, cooperating with more than 125 technology companies and over 85 international partners. Moreover, the foundation has mobilised over €128M in public and private investments for the marine energy sector. Britta believes that this impact is made possible by driving public-private partnerships between universities, companies and government authorities and by aligningresearch and development (R&D) programmes with market needs and societal challenges.
Britta’s path to becoming an advocate and recognised leader in marine energy came naturally to her. Her love of the ocean and passion for diving led her to study marine biology at university. She was determined to promote the sustainable use of oceans, seas, and rivers as one of the largest untapped renewable resources and has devoted her career to marine energy and the clean energy transition.
For Britta, having a diverse and inclusive team is very important in advancing marine energy, which as a field remains dominated by men. ‘We all need to adopt the energy transition, and we need all genders for that. Involving more women, fostering more collaboration and explaining what we are doing will hopefully bring more women into the field’. In this respect, Britta sets an example with gender parity among the DMEC’s employees. Her actions to advance gender equality and promoting equal opportunities have been recognised by her nomination as one of the Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2022 by the Euclid Network, supported by the European Commission.
The DMEC’s Marine Energy Community of technology developers, research and test facilities, businesses, investors and policy makers has set the goal to realise 30MW of marine energy projects in the Netherlands by 2025. This would be the equivalent to accomplishing 30% of the European target of ocean energy by 2025 as stated in the EU strategy on offshore renewable energy, and contributes to climate neutrality by 2050. Such actions are delivering on the European Green Deal, and more urgently, supporting the REPowerEU Plan to accelerate the clean energy transition and increase Europe’s energy independence.
Women in energy: closing the gender gap to advance the green and digital transition
Britta Schaffmeister is one of three finalists shortlisted for the European Sustainable Energy Awards 2022 in the Woman in Energy category. The award recognises women who lead outstanding activities that, if replicated, help to advance the clean energy transition in Europe. Particular attention is placed on efforts in driving the gender mainstreaming agenda and supporting equality and equal opportunities in the energy sector. The other finalists are Andreia Carreiro and Apostolina Tsaltampasi.
Andreia, from Portugal, is an academic with vast experience in the development of innovative technologies, solutions and public policies for sustainable energy. Apostolina, from Greece, is the President of the first female energy community in Europe and is assisting female entrepreneurs active in the green energy transition.