Winston Churchill is credited with coining the phrase “Never let a good crisis go to waste”. He said this as the world moved towards the end of WWII in the mid-1940s, and perhaps the essence of his saying left a mark on the generation that followed. At least Lise Nielson, born in the end of the 1960s, has developed an enthusiasm for energy and energy solutions thanks to crises.

“My interest in energy started in 1979. First, I have been following the efforts to solve the energy availability crisis, and then the ongoing crisis to substitute fossils with renewables,” says Lise.

In other words, Lise’s motivation sparks in demanding situations. In today’s context of sustainable development rather than postwar Europe, Churchill’s renowned expression “has to mean that we should imagine the good values involved in the green transition too,” says Lise.

Confident and competent

By focusing on lessons learned from critical times, Lise is a firm believer in the full possibility of saving the planet as a habitat for people. What’s more, she does not only have the confidence in making this happen, but also the competence to contribute to the progress.

“I am a renewable energy technology generalist and a fan of smart grid as a service. I bring 29 years worth of energy research and innovation experience to the table, spanning from application writing to call management and from strategic program development to end-user engagement,” explains Lise. “Consequently, I have developed an extensive network within energy, climate, and the green transition, and can see where too little is happening, and who is going in the wrong direction”.

Fulfilling the green energy transition is nonetheless a challenging endeavor, but Lise regards difficult tasks as some of the most rewarding aspects of her work. “Seeing into the future, formulating the needs for new development, and working in highly holistic ways are the most fun parts about my job,” she says. “And Nordic Energy Research is the place to be in terms of tackling climate change. This institution is at the core of the joint Nordic effort to reach carbon neutrality, and as part of this practice, I hope to present suggestions and results for people assigned to prioritize necessary decisions”.

Hopes for 2050

Another challenging aspect within the energy sector is being a woman in an otherwise male dominated field. However, Lise once again sees a demanding situation in a hopeful way. “An advantage with being a woman in the energy sector is that everyone knows who I am in advance of meetings, and that everyone remembers me afterwards,” she says.

Drawing from her vast experience, Lise encapsulates the energy aspect of the combat against climate change as the “balancing energy production on the one hand, preferably from sustainable and renewable resources, with energy consumption, in all human activities, on the other – and at the same time avoid energy waste”. By achieving and maintaining this balance, Lise is hoping to see the sustainability goals being realized by 2050.

“I’ll be 82 by then, but children born in this century are expected to become 100 years old. They are the ones who will live with the climate changes as they unfold. Soon, all my kids will have the right to vote, which may prove to be a powerful driving force in the green transition. I am a mother of five, and motivated by the chance to provide sustainable solutions for the next generations”.

And perhaps Lise’s motivation will leave a mark on the next generations, too, in the spirit of not wasting energy resources nor a good crisis.

  • Name: Lise Nielson
  • Nationality: Danish
  • Education: Master of Science in Chemical Engineering from DTU
  • Leisure: Intercultural get-togethers, reading and writing, doing crafts, playing boardgames with my family