Timea Farkas from Romania is the Young Energy Trailblazer and the Minoan Energy Community from Greece’s largest island was recognized for actions contributing to sustainability at the local level at the start of the European Sustainability Week. Farkas brings energy efficiency to small and medium-sized enterprises through her engagement in EU-funded projects SMEmPower Efficiency and Gear@SME.
All the laureates of this year’s European Sustainable Energy Awards were picked by public vote. Two winners out of four are from the region tracked by Balkan Green Energy News. The European Commission honored changemakers taking bold action on energy and climate goals.
EUSEW Awards for Innovation, Local Energy Action, Woman in Energy and Young Energy Trailblazer were handed in Brussels to the best clean energy projects and leaders. European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson met with the four winners to congratulate them at the awards ceremony on the first day of the European Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).
The world has missed the opportunity during the oil crisis in the 1970s to press ahead with renewables and energy efficiency, according to the European Sustainable Energy Awards jury
The finalists were chosen by a high-level jury, which said they were all winners and praised the quality of their projects, the entrants’ interest in the topic and their technical knowledge and maturity. The members of the panel said the world has missed the opportunity during the oil crisis in the 1970s to press ahead with renewables and energy efficiency, but that the sector has been growing rapidly over the last several years.
There is no more need to raise awareness as every family is feeling the crisis through its energy bill, the jurors pointed out. They said the future would be green and sustainable or that there would be no future at all. The group also stressed energy sufficiency, the concept of refraining from consuming energy unnecessarily – needs to become a key priority, together with putting the people at the heart of the introduction of innovations.
EU needs inspiring stories as winter looms
“EUSEW is taking place at an extraordinary time in energy. Going clean and digital has never been so urgent for energy security, for protecting our citizens and for a future energy system completely free of Russian fossil fuels,” Commissioner Simson said. The EU faces a challenge in the winter and it needs inspiring stories, she said and revealed that over 12,000 people cast their votes for the European Sustainable Energy Awards.
The award in the Innovation category went to the Muse Grids project, being conducted in Italy and Belgium. The team is helping increase the use of renewable energy sources at the local level by creating synergies between different energy systems and networks to form energy communities.
Minoan Energy Community is one of the two recipients from Southeastern Europe this time. It collected the EUSEW Award for Local Energy Action, which was only introduced this year, for initiating an energy community in Crete, the largest island in Greece.
“We wanted to take Crete’s energy transition into our own hands. We started with this small-sized and realistic project to go through the process, also taking into account that energy consumers are currently suffering from very high prices. With this project we can provide members with free electricity,” Minoan Energy Community’s Dimitris Katsaprakakis says.
Together with the regional authority, Minoan Energy Community plans to cover the energy needs of almost 100 low-income households, corresponding to more than 200 displaced earthquake victims.
Andreia Carreiro took home the award in the Woman in Energy category for advancing energy transition policies, projects and technologies in the Azores through her work in a company called Cleanwatts.
The Woman in Energy category recognizes women who lead outstanding activities that, if replicated, help to advance the clean energy transition in Europe. Particular attention is placed on efforts in driving the gender mainstreaming agenda and supporting equality and equal opportunities in the energy sector.
Rising star at 2022 edition of EUSEW comes from Romania
Timea Farkas, the EU Sustainability Week’s Young Energy Trailblazer, was awarded for bringing energy efficiency to small and medium-sized enterprises through her engagement in EU-funded projects SMEmPower Efficiency and Gear@SME. She won 1,300 out of 2,500 votes in the category.
“My aim is to meet the needs of individual SMEs by clustering them together, so that they can motivate each other in achieving short, medium and long-term climate ambitions. I am encouraging companies to enhance their energy efficiency by conducting energy analyses in their facilities and training decision makers and employees,” the 26-year-old laureate and PhD candidate from Romania explained.
EUSEW takes place from September 26 to 30 under the theme ‘Going green and digital for Europe’s energy transition’. The gathering brings thousands of sustainable energy stakeholders together both in Brussels and online to discuss the 27-member bloc’s energy independence ambitions and climate goals through the REPowerEU plan.
There is still time to attend EUSEW 2022. Media and participants can access the event online until September 30.