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Guilherme Castro

Ensuring solar is part of the energy transition

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Hi – I’m Guilherme – I help businesses to harness the benefits of solar energy. Data-driven renewables are the future and here, in the energy sector, you can make a positive impact.

I grew up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and have always had a keen interest in maths, geography and history since I was at school. I went on to study an undergraduate degree in Public Administration, and a post graduate degree in Business Administration and Management.

My career took off when I was awarded the prestigious Chevening Scholarship, the UK Government’s international awards programme to develop global leaders and funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and partner organisations. This allowed me to undertake my Master’s Degree in Economics Energy Policy and the Environment at UCL in London. Now, I am a Project Innovation Manager at Octopus Energy.

My main motivations for changing career paths from working in the public sector to the energy industry was so that I could positively impact people, work in an industry that I truly believe in and so that I could share any successes with the world – because if you achieve something in sustainability, you’re achieving something globally.

I definitely developed a conscience around my personal energy efficiency while at university. For example, in my daily routine, I use Smart Plugs around my house – plugs that you pop into a wall socket, pair it to your home Wi-Fi with a smartphone app, and then you can control with your devices, your voice or on a schedule – it’s very cool. I think it’s this kind of action that collectively will make a difference.

Coming from a non-engineering background means that I can bring another skillset to the table when working on projects – giving me the ability to spot things that others may miss. This is proof that you need a whole range of skills within a team to work most efficiently!

At the moment, my best days are when I can, (safely socially distanced, of course), go into the office and work together in-person with my team. I find that I’m at my most creative and efficient when I have my colleagues there to bounce ideas off of.

I think the way people see the energy industry from the outside is not always the reality. The broad majority of people think that it’s just renewables that will solve all the world’s energy needs and issues in the blink of an eye. But this is not the case - transition is still needed.

The pace of evolution of the energy industry as a whole is so important to achieve net zero targets – for both companies and countries. No one would have thought 10 years ago that solely-petrol or solely-diesel run cars would be banned from sale from 2030 in the UK!

My dream job is to be the CEO of a future branch of Octopus Energy in Brazil. And as for a prediction of where the industry is heading? I’d say that because the cost of electricity production is expected to decrease due to renewables, rather than thinking of energy as a commodity, we’re going to start seeing energy as a service – maybe even in a subscription service format.

From my own experience, my top tip for those of you who are interested in a career in the energy industry is to learn how to analyse data. It doesn’t matter which area of the energy mix you want to work in, it’s a great transferable skill. We have more devices connected than people in the world today, and that isn’t going to change. We need more tech-savvy people to analyse all the data produced and figure out what it means for our lives.

As with all of the Energy Influencers, I think My Energy Future is a unique opportunity to open a new channel up for a new generation, and that being able to adapt alongside industry is key - the energy sector is changing and so you need to be able to adapt with it!

I hope I can collaborate with young people to help mentor them and offer advice. It’s so important to have people to look up to while you pave your own way. If I can help even one person to have a smooth experience in choosing their career, I’ll be satisfied!