April 22, 2020

Energised by the EYP’s 1st Digital Session

How does it feel to discuss complex topics online? Can Committee Work be exciting when the whole interaction runs through Zoom? With the 1st Digital Session, EYP truly took its most innovative step forward in more than 30 years of its history. Not only did it bring over a hundred people together, it also made it possible for its members to remotely debate and come up with solutions for essential issues of our times whilst being in 32 different countries.

In the framework of the EYP’s PowerShifts project, the session had a Committee on Industry Research and Energy (ITRE) that consisted of eight young Europeans from Ireland, Serbia, Greece, France, Belarus, Cyprus, Portugal and Germany between 16 and 24 years old. The group was not only diverse in origins, but also in its knowledge, comprising students of international law, psychology, English, physics engineering, one of them an engineer in energetic systems and sustainable territories. Those still in high school want to go on and study economics, astrophysics and history.

For the four online days of EYP they faced the challenging task of coming up with solutions for the following issue: “European Green Deal: achieving zero-net emissions by 2050. This initiative requires a strong role from everyone involved. How can European institutions promote the empowerment and participation of consumers in the energy transition?”

Lorenz (DE) giving a speech on behalf of the ITRE committee during General Assembly

After online Teambuilding they got ready to dive into the topic during Committee Work. Here they were joined by Dr. René Mono from the German 100 prozent erneuerbar stiftung (100% renewable Foundation) for a one-hour expert talk and Q&A, moderated by the Power Shifts project manager Helena Nepp. Questions asked ranged from advice to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and the transition to a clean energy system to possibilities and risks in coal-dependent countries, social disparities in a decentralised energy transition and how to get politicians on board.

After two days of research, brainstorming and constructive discussions, the young committee came up with a list of 17 solutions and recommendations, which you can read here on page 14. Some talk about creating funding opportunities to encourage the creation of new SMEs in the sector of green technologies; Member States already that already meet their energy transition goals distributing their excess renewable energy throughout the European Energy Grid; and improving the energy efficiency of buildings.

On Sunday, the resolution was discussed in the first-ever online General Assembly, where 90 other participants debated the proposals and in the end, voted in favour!

Some impressions from the participants: