Summer school on renewable energy as the driving force for local development
For the 12th year in a row, from 21 to 27 August, the municipality of Fojnica in Bosnia and Herzegovina is hosting a regional summer school covering topics on sustainable energy and energy planning. It is organized by the Regional Information and Education Centre (REIC), in collaboration with the German cooperation GIZ, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, the Heinrich Böll Stiftung and Centar za ekonomski, tehnološki i okolinski razvoj (CETEOR).
Fojnica, which is rich in geothermal energy, uses this natural resource, among others, for heating of buildings and swimming pools. This is a positive examples of how renewable energy can enable sustainable development of the local community, which is also one of the reasons the city was chosen as the event venue.
This year’s summer school covers several topics from sustainable development, climate change adaptation and mitigation, over community based approach towards exploitation of renewable energy sources to transfer of best practices from Germany and the EU to South-East European (SEE) countries. It also highlights the importance of integral thinking and decision making while putting the accent on young generations and their potential to contribute and further the energy debate.
Photo 1: Participants of the 12th regional Summer School in Fojnica visiting Hydro Power Plant Mujakovići
The core objective of the summer school is thus capacity building of coming generations of experts in the field of public planning and sustainable development.
As part of the integral and interactive agenda, participants also had the opportunity to visit the Hydro Power Plant Mujakovići, the Geothermal Plant in Fojnica and Prokoško Lake, which serve the practical aspect of the school program.
The summer school selection process is highly competitive. Chosen participants are successful young professionals, master and PhD students from SEE and broader, coming from various educational and professional backgrounds.
Dubravka Bošnjak, the GIZ Open Regional Fund for SEE – Energy Efficiency Project Manager stated for Balkan Green Energy News that “students and young professionals coming from a selection of countries and universities, by taking part in this summer school, have the opportunity to learn about sustainable use of energy and its importance by looking at the topic from a multidisciplinary perspective. Hence, participants and lecturers do not only come from a strictly technical background in engineering, but also in economics, law, journalism, etc. The importance of the integral approach is therefore highly accented.” She further stressed that “the crucial value of this event, besides the obvious transfer of knowledge, is also the networking opportunity, face to face exchange with experienced lecturers and professionals and partaking in an alumni network.”
The school’s program supports the aim of shifting to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and environmentally sustainable economy.