Sonya Twohig takes the helm at ENTSO-E

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For the new Secretary-General, the next five years is all about change, innovation and energy system integration.
Sonya Twohig, Executive Head Shot.

Sonya Twohig is the new ENTSO-E Secretary-General. Twohig started at her new job in January 2021. She says that the first few months have been “great and challenging” all at the same time.

“The situation with COVID-19 is not a surprise, but what is surprising to me, is how well the organization is working in spite of the restrictions,” she reflects.

“I feel like we have all come together to share the difficulties and experience the joy when we get back together again.”

Discussing the position of ENTSO-E in Europe today, she states that the role of ENTSO-E is a “pivotal one,” as the organization is making an important and valuable contribution to the pressing energy transition.

“Together with all our TSOs across Europe – presently, we have 42 members – we are working on many tasks and projects with the ultimate aim to decarbonize the industry.”

United we stand

According to Twohig, the biggest strength in this undertaking is the members themselves – and the history of cooperation between them all. “Even when a situation is difficult, if you can rely on each other for support, it makes all the difference. I like to think of it as a family of TSOs,” she says.

Looking ahead, Twohig assesses that the greatest challenge for ENTSO-E is to deliver the required changes in an efficient manner.

“We are always facing the challenge of resources, and now with COVID we want to ensure that our teams stay together, focused on the targets.”

Five years with ENTSO-E

Previously, Twohig served ENTSO-E as Head of Operations section, at ENTSO-E Secretariat, in which role she supported the European TSOs in the implementation of EU Network Codes and Regulations and furthering Regional Coordination initiatives among TSOs since February 2016.

During her five years with the organization, she has been fortunate enough to work with really interesting people, on major events and, also, on designing new legislation.

“Organizationally, I have been working to transform the Secretariat to a more Member focused organization which is professional and skilled in achieving for our association,” she says, calling her time with ENTSO-E “amazing”.

Transformational shift in the making

What about the next five years, then – what’s on the horizon for ENTSO-E? – Twohig believes that the next five years is all about change, innovation and energy system integration.

“We are on the cusp of a transformational shift of the industry which I am very happy to be a part of.”

A key part of the ENTSO-E alliance is the “Nordic camp”, with Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark forming a tight TSOs unit – a small family within the family. Twohig has noted the great collaboration and culture that the Nordic TSOs have nurtured for years.

“The Nordic TSOs work very well together, having developed a model that really works,” she says.

One model does not fit all

Still, she doesn’t quite believe that the same concept of close collaboration would be a winner everywhere.

“We have tried the same model in our East Europe project, but it didn’t take quite as well,” she says, adding that “keeping it small” may well be the key to success in the North.

“When you have more players, it’s suddenly a lot more difficult to make decisions and get things done.”

Passion Player

In her work, Twohig is motivated by the Members and their satisfaction. Her aim is to ensure, at all times, that the organization delivers great service and products.

“I am passionate about the staff and people we employ, the talent that we nurture and the paths we develop together,” she concludes. •

Optimizing Optimism

“I am inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton, the Antarctic explorer, who was a great leader, inspiring many people to overcome their difficulties.
Shackleton was an optimist which I am, too, and he showed great resilience. Even in difficulty he led his team to achieve major feats.
He said: Optimism is true moral courage and difficulties are just things to overcome, after all!”

Sonya Twohig

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