The 2nd annual Women in Geothermal (WING) Awards were presented to four deserving recipients at the September 2019 GRC Annual Meeting and Expo in Palm Springs, California. These awards are given each year to people selected by their peers for their commitment to the promotion, development and education of women in the geothermal industry. The winners were chosen because they embody WING’s four core values: Courageous, Empowering, Open, and Caring.
With this piece, we are featuring the first award.
COURAGEOUS: Kunzes Dolma, Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA)
- Be imaginative and ambitious; stimulate new ideas
- Use foresight, and identify opportunities and challenges
- Challenge accepted truths and enter unfamiliar territory
- Make clear demands on each other; push for constructive change
- Understand and manage risk
Kunzes is from Ladakh, one of the most remote and least developed areas in India. In the villages in her district, they have 2 hours of electricity per day. When she decided to register for engineering at the university in Punjab, she was told twice that she was in the wrong place. Being the strong woman that she is, she insisted until she was signed up as one of two women among 100 men in the engineering class. Kunzes finished her engineering degree and got a job at the Ladakh Renewable Energy Development Agency (LREDA), where – despite being the only female – she worked her way up to becoming a Senior Project Engineer.
Kunzes is an amazing mother of two girls (now 9 and 10) who encouraged their mother to go to Iceland for her Master’s Degree at the United Nations University Geothermal Training Program (UNU-GTP). She grabs every possible opportunity to expand her knowledge for the benefit of her own community. As an important example, her project in Iceland focused on using geothermal to heat a remote school in her area, where the classroom is in an unheated building, where the children are often too cold to hold their pencils properly.
Kunzes continuously encourages other people to achieve their best. To help more women realize their dreams, she established WING in India (where she also serves as WING Ambassador). She is continuously looking for ambitious ways to advance and develop sustainable energy solutions for her region and for India as a whole. Thanks to Kunzes? efforts, ties between India and Iceland have been strengthened, leading to more Indians being accepted in UNU-GTP’s 6-month geothermal training course.
INSPIRED? NOMINATIONS FOR THE NEXT ROUND OF WING AWARDS WILL BEGIN IN MID-2020!
More information about Women in Geothermal (WING) you can find on its website.
Note: This article has been edited for clarity.