The sustainable energy transition needs the fresh, innovative ideas and forward-thinking outlooks that the younger generation excels in. From innovative technological concepts and smart phone apps conceived by students, to raising awareness among children who can, in turn, educate their parents and communities that surround them, getting young people on board is key to shaping the global energy future.
“Getting young people involved in the energy transition is a no-brainer. Young people are the future and the most important stakeholders,” said Pirjo Jantunen, Ambassador for Young Energy Leaders at EU Sustainable Energy Week and Co-founder of World Energy Council's Future Energy Leaders.
To spark that creativity, this year’s EU Sustainable Energy Awards features the new award category of Young Energy Leaders focusing on young people aged 30 and under. The winners will be revealed on Tuesday, 5 June at a ceremony in Brussels attended by Miguel Arias Cañete, European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Action.
Encouraging innovation and ideas at an early age
The awards, which will have high-level visibility across the EU, help inspire more innovative and smart ideas in energy technology and energy management processes, marketing ideas and new ways to get communities involved, attracting talent from around Europe.
However, for Jantunen, energy decisions start even younger:
“As soon as kids can reach the light switch they can take part in saving energy,” she said.
Other ways to start young include teaching children about waste management at school and lessons on renewable and sustainable energy, as well as the installation of solar panels on school buildings.
Renewable and sustainable energy can be seen as a very technical subject by young people, so it is important to highlight the impact the sector can have on the health of our planet and our daily lives in the future. Inspiring young people to take on the challenges the energy sector presents is part of the solution to the global energy challenge, and key to our future sustainability.
Young Energy Leaders @ EUSEW Awards
This year’s EU Sustainable Energy Awards will recognise the powerful role of today’s youth in the sustainable energy field by awarding young individuals or group of individuals (under the age of 30). An expert jury will announce winner but you too can have your say in the choosing the winner of the Citizen’s Award. Cast your vote for your favourite now: voting closes on 03/06.
Find out more about the energy transition at the EUSEW policy conference. Register to this year's sessions.