The KLIK energy community from Križevci in Croatia and innovator Anastasia-Maria Moschovi from Greece are among this year’s winners of EUSEW Awards. All the recognitions for 2023 at the ceremony, held within the European Sustainable Energy Week, were received by women. At the event launch, keynote speakers pointed to renewable energy’s vital role in addressing climate change and energy security and affordability.
Entrants from Southeastern Europe were the most successful for the second time in a row at the annual European Sustainable Energy Awards competition, after last time they took home two out of the four prizes. Balkan Green Energy News rooted for the two representatives from our region and they both won the European Union’s recognition, among the three categories, for changemakers taking bold action on energy and climate goals.
Chemical engineer and energy innovator Anastasia-Maria Moschovi from Greece came out on top in public voting as the Woman in Energy for 2023. Križevci Laboratory for Innovation in Climate – KLIK, an energy community in Croatia’s north, got the Local Energy Action award.
The EUSEW Innovation Award, for outstanding ongoing or recently completed projects funded by the European Union that show an original and innovative path towards a clean energy transition, went to Alqueva. It is a floating solar power plant in Portugal that makes up a hybrid power plant with an old hydroelectric facility and a battery storage unit.
In addition, the jury declared an Italian-Greek chemist and climate activist Livia Kalosakka from the EUSEW Young Energy Ambassadors group as its first Young Energy Champion. This time the recipients of all four prizes, both for individuals and organizations, were women.
Commissioner Simson declares cautious optimism on energy crisis
At the launch of the European Sustainable Energy Week in Brussels, keynote speakers pointed to renewable energy’s vital role in addressing climate change and energy security and affordability. This year’s theme is ‘Accelerating the clean energy transition – towards lower bills and greater skills’. The goal is to secure clean and cheaper energy in the long term, they said.
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson noted that last year’s EUSEW was held amid the biggest energy crisis in a generation. “We were all worried about bills, gas supplies and the winter ahead. But it was low-income households who were under the most pressure. And now, 10 months later, we are in a better place. We are not completely out of the woods yet, but there is cautious optimism,” she stated.
Low-income households were under the most pressure at the height of the energy crisis
The commissioner highlighted the fact that the EU registered 45% more newly installed wind and solar power capacity last year than in 2021. Between 2021 to 2023, electricity from renewable sources saved Europeans 180 billion euros, Simson said.
Training, upskilling, reskilling and attracting new talent is one of critical areas in the clean energy transition, she stressed. The renewable energy industry employs 1.5 million people and the number is growing, but there is a gap in the labor market of the skilled workforce required to achieve the targets, Simson warned.
World needs to triple electricity production by 2030
Swedish Minister for Energy, Business and Industry Ebba Busch noted that the EU has reached an agreement on a binding target to double the share of renewable energy in buildings to over 42% in just seven years. The 27-member bloc now also aims to reduce its final energy consumption by almost 12% more by 2030 than what was forecasted in 2020, she told the audience.
The world needs to triple electricity production by 2030, including in transportation, industry and heating and across regions and technologies, to meet climate goals, Director-General of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Francesco La Camera asserted.
The current trajectory doesn’t align with the necessary efforts, he said. La Camera called on decision makers to enhance cooperation and interconnectivity to be able to use the energy potential at the Baltic Sea and North Sea.
Anastasia-Maria Moschovi is EUSEW Woman in Energy 2023
Anastasia Moschovi has shown exceptional leadership and dedication in driving gender equality in the energy sector, the jury said. She is the head of research, development and innovation at a company called Monolithos in Athens. She leads several EU-funded projects in the development of innovative technologies in hydrogen production, green energy production and storage, electric vehicles and industrial decarbonization.
The team at Monolithos in Athens recovers valuable materials from old devices for new ones
“By introducing our technologies, we had the chance to find new partners, new technologies, new opportunities… It is now time to act and to take all this expertise and all these results in new services and new products,” Moschovi stated. Her team recovers valuable materials for new devices with the aim of lowering their cost.
Local energy communities are more ambitious than politicians
KLIK was awarded for outstanding efforts in transforming its community through sustainable energy solutions. The cooperative helps people in Križevci to develop climate and energy projects and encourages them to invest in renewable energy.
“Local energy action is very important. We are often more ambitious and more prepared than on the political level,” Cooperative Manager Sanela Mikulčić Šantić said at the ceremony.
Joana Freitas from the Executive Board of EDP Generation received the EUSEW Innovation Award as the representative of the Alqueva project. She said floating solar panels on reservoirs reduce water evaporation by 60%. The developers used cork from the surrounding cork oaks in the production of the floaters, Freitas stressed.