Question about the event
Ambassador Degnan: I’m very glad to be here today for a very important event on women in the energy sector. This is an important area because research shows that companies with more women in leadership positions are more profitable and perform better, and this is true globally. But across the world also globally, we see that there’s a real shortage of women in the energy sector in particular. This is not unique to Georgia, this is across the globe. At a time when we are trying to shift to renewables and new ways of finding energy, it is even more important that we see gender diversity in energy companies because innovation is another area where more women in leadership positions produce greater innovation and efficiencies.
Here in Georgia where there are great opportunities for renewables and new kinds of energy sources, the US Embassy has been very, very pleased to partner with Georgia for decades on developing Georgia’s energy sector. USAID just launched a 16 million energy independence project last year and this is aimed at helping Georgia develop its renewables – clean and climate-friendly energy sources. So, combining the need for more women in the energy sector at a time when we need more innovation and more creativity in finding renewables and clean energy sources – this is why this meeting today is so important. To start talking about how to improve the performance, the efficiency, the innovation of Georgia’s energy sector. The first place to start is by including more women in leadership positions and attracting more young women to this field. And I’m very interested to hear the discussion today. Thank you.
Question about Georgia’s energy security and attracting investors in energy sector
Ambassador Degnan: We encourage the government of Georgia to work with international partners and the international funding institutions to develop a simple, effective, renewable incentive scheme. This is an important way to attract good investors and to develop useful and effective projects. We also encourage the government to launch electricity capital market with realistic deadlines and targets for implementation. These need to be done in a fair and in a transparent and an efficient manner. The United States is very happy to continue working with Georgia in developing these sectors. This is a priority: energy independence, energy efficiency – these have to be priorities right now more than ever before, not only because of climate change and the importance of developing clean, climate-friendly sources of energy, but as we have seen right next door, when you have Russia brutally attacking Ukraine and focusing on energy infrastructure, in particular energy independence, energy security becomes an even greater priority.
There can be no more stark example of the fact that energy independence is equivalent to national security. Striving for Georgia’s energy independence is one of the best ways for Georgia to improve its security and its stability. And the United States has spent the past 30 years trying to help Georgia improve its stability and security through things like the USAID $16 million program that is specifically targeting energy independence and energy security.
Energy security is national security, and we hope that Georgia’s government will continue to focus on developing important sources of clean renewable energy. Thank you.