Akshaya Prabakar is Corporate Social Responsibility Program Manager at TenneT. She is Responsible for Climate, Nature and Human Rights for TenneT NL and Germany. She has a background in electrical engineering and have been with TenneT for three years.
Hello Mrs. Prabakar. Could you please briefly describe yourself and your role at TenneT?
I am Akshaya Prabakar and work as a corporate social responsibility program manager at TenneT. My responsibilities include the themes of climate, nature and human rights and I develop policies and targets that drive TenneT to lead as a green grid operator while accelerating the energy transition. Having a background in electrical power engineering certainly helps me in understanding the intricacies of the role of being a cross border transmission system operator while challenging ourselves to be a socially responsible organization.
What are some of the key challenges that TenneT and TSOs are facing today with respect to ecofriendly power networks?
TSO’s are in a unique role to accelerate the energy transition and at the same time be conscious about how it is being done. One such example would be that the energy transition comes with a huge project portfolio and will see a tremendous increase in renewable energy being connected to the grid, which would in turn mean large transporting distances and therefore more grid losses, which are the predominant source of emissions in the TSO sector. The challenge here is to find a balance between these two sides. At every integral decision making, it is important to consider affordability, reliability and sustainability as factors when addressing the topic of ecofriendly power networks.
How is TenneT trying to overcome such challenges?
Our approach in general is three-fold. We try to reduce our emissions as much as possible, and then green the parts of our emissions where applicable and lastly, compensate for the parts which we absolutely cannot avoid due to other technical factors. We also stimulate market innovations and collaborate with our suppliers and contractors to work together towards finding solutions for these challenges. We steer on our sustainability performance and often are involved in open dialogues with the business units on reducing our impact on the planet.
What are the steps in action to reduce your footprint?
We actively steer across our corporate social responsibility ambition which includes the themes of people, planet and profit. We are proud to have recently committed to the science-based targets initiative with a commitment of 95% absolute reduction in ourscope 1 and 2 emissions by 2030 and a 30% absolute reduction in our scope 3 emissions by 2030 when compared to a 2019 baseline. Here are a few examples of how we are taking actionsin reducing ourfootprint along the three scopes asstandardized in the greenhouse gas protocol. For scope 1, we have ambitious targets on reducing our banked SF6 volume by choosing for SF6 free alternatives where available and limiting the leakage rate to a minimum. For scope 2, we buy guarantees of origin to green our grid losses in the Netherlands thereby reducing our net carbon footprint and for scope 3, we are working with our supply chain partners and stimulate them to come up with innovations to reduce our indirect emissions. In 2021, we greened 69% of our carbon footprint. More details on the different steps we take to reduce our footprint can be found in our integrated annual report.
Akshaya Prabakar’s interview is available in the latest issue of Testingly, the KEMA Labs Magazine. Here, you can also read in-depth articles on greening power transformers and alternatives to SF6 gas, find the opinions of eco-friendly power networks by Mark Wilkinson (Royal SMIT Transformers) and Mark Waldron (National Grid), as well as the latest news from the TIC sector.