The COVID-19 crisis has had a huge financial impact on EU countries and recovery measures are urgently needed to respond to this unprecedented situation. Central to ensuring that this recovery is sustainable, inclusive and fair, is the European Green Deal which aims to establish Europe as the first climate-neutral continent. In no sector is this transition more critical than in the energy sector, as energy production and use account for more than 75 % of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Progress has already been made in numerous areas, thanks to the commitment and dedication of individuals. This is why Women in Energy are being recognised for the first time at the EU Sustainable Energy Awards 2020, which is part of EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).
The 3 exceptional winners have all helped to push energy efficiency into the mainstream, as well engage and empower citizens to play their part in the clean energy transition.
As Director of Guide Topten in France, Sophie Attali plays a critical role in raising awareness of energy efficiency among consumers and policymakers, as well as in encouraging manufacturers to improve their products. This is crucial if the EU is to meet its binding target of reducing energy consumption through improvements in energy efficiency by at least 32.5 % by 2030. Guide Topten scans the electric appliance market to identify the most energy efficient products, and disseminates this information online for free. “My goal is to help people choose the least energy intensive products and to use them correctly,” she says. “I also want to make sure that manufacturers take the environment into account when designing and producing goods.”
As the Mayor of Budapest’s Climate Commissioner and head of the city’s newly established climate department, Ada Ámon is bringing about change in Hungary through an ambitious programme of housing refurbishment in Budapest. The European Green Deal has specifically called for a massive wave of building renovation to lower energy bills and reduce energy poverty. “It is not rocket science,” says Ada. “Making buildings more energy efficient means you pollute less and have cleaner air. This saves lives and prevents early deaths.” Ada also intends to give citizens a direct say in deciding what environmental measures should be implemented in their city.
As part of the Sustainable Europe Investment Plan, the Commission has proposed a Just Transition Mechanism, including a Just Transition Fund, designed to leave no one behind. For Katharina Habersbrunner this inclusive approach is essential: “Just energy transitions need to include everyone, and be addressed to everyone.” As project manager and board member of NGO Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF) in Germany, Katharina coordinates EU-funded projects designed to help lift women out of energy poverty, and works on giving communities – in particular women - ownership of their energy supply. “We currently have mini-grid projects ongoing in Ethiopia and Uganda, as well as Eastern Europe” she explains.
Every year the European Commission recognises the most outstanding individuals and projects in the energy sector and renewables at the EU Sustainable Energy Awards. In addition to honouring the achievements of Women in Energy, 9 project finalists will compete in 3 award categories: Engagement, Innovation and Youth and for the Citizens’ Award with the winners announced on 23 June during a live, online Awards ceremony. A special prize, the Eastern Partnership Award, will also be given to an inspiring sustainable energy initiative in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova or Ukraine.
The Awards are part of EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW), the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe, which is taking place on 22-26 June. EUSEW 2020 will be an online, interactive event experience, giving participants the opportunity to debate the latest developments under its theme ‘Beyond the crisis: clean energy for green recovery and growth’. More than 30 thematic sessions will be organised, with speakers including EU and national policymakers, as well as from industry, academia and NGOs working in the field of energy.
For more information on the sessions and speakers, take a look at the Policy Conference programme
Highlights during the Week will also include:
- An opening session featuring high level keynote speakers exploring the 2020 theme ‘Beyond the crisis: clean energy for green recovery and growth’
- A debate with the EUSEW Ambassadors on the different ways the energy sector can drive forward green recovery and growth
- Matchmaking activities and virtual stands to enhance the experience for participants
- Energy Days, digital events engaging local communities, taking place over Europe throughout June
For more details of the range of activities and side events available, check out the extended programme
EUSEW 2020 promises to be the biggest and most innovative energy event yet. With green energy essential to the green recovery, it’s more urgent than ever for stakeholders to come together to drive forward the transition to clean energy and sustainable growth.
And visit the registration website now to book your place at this unmissable event!