From 18 to 20 June 2017, the “Youth on Energy” workshop took place in Brussels as a side event to EU Sustainable Energy Week policy conference. Coordinated by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) and organised in conjunction with the European Youth Parliament, the event brought together 20 young Europeans to define their vision of how Europe should develop its energy policy. Here, participants give an overview of their recommendations, delivered to Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, and impressions of EUSEW 2017.
How did the "Youth on Energy" workshop participants define sustainability?
As one of the participants, Maria Köpping, says in the opening video for the "Youth on Energy" workshop, sustainability is all around us. Sustainability refers not only to energy and the environment, but to the good governance of countries, sustained political will and economic growth, as well as personal sustainability.
For EU Sustainable Energy Week, the participants chose to focus on the security and diversity of energy supply. Their main objective was to paint a picture of how Europe’s energy should evolve from today so that there will be a future to talk about in 80 years' time.
What sustainable energy trends did the young people identify?
Discussions centred around three pillars of the energy transition: decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation. A strong emphasis was placed on the European Union's role in leading the energy transition, with regard to its energy strategy and Energy Union, whilst noting that national and regional differences needed to be taken into account.
The young people emphasised their belief in a higher share of renewable energy sources (RES), in decentralised production realised within an interconnected smart grid. Electromobility was also highlighted as a focal point of eco-friendly transport. More information about the findings of the workshop is here.
Having attended the EUSEW Policy Conference, what was their biggest takeaway?
For the 20 young people that gathered in Brussels from 18 to 20 June, the EUSEW policy conference was a great opportunity to see whether their ideas match with those of representatives of policy, political, institutional and organisational action. They also enjoyed learning about the European Commission, seeing first-hand the inner workings of an institution that employs nearly 33 000 people and hearing from the people working on the clean energy transition.
Most of all, the Policy Conference showed the workshop participants that, at the end of the day, people are the driving force behind energy, whether it is powered by wind, water or the sun.
“The EUSEW Policy Conference was a great opportunity to see whether their ideas match with those of representatives of policy, political, institutional and organisational action.”
The European Youth Parliament (EYP) is a unique educational programme which brings together young people from all over Europe to discuss current topics in a parliamentary setting.
Power Shifts – Reflecting Europe’s Energy is a project by the European Youth Parliament and the Schwarzkopf Foundation in cooperation with the innogy Stiftung für Energie und Gesellschaft. It enables young people to monitor, inform and debate about European energy policy. Three focus countries, France, Poland and Germany, each host an international youth forum in the project timeline from 2015 until 2017, with the next scheduled to be in Heidelberg 9-16 August 2017.