August 31, 2020

From #PowerShifts to energy policy: how EYP forms a career!

The European Youth Parliament does not just teach you teamwork skills and public speaking, it also can help you choose your academic path in life. One of our members was so passionate about energy topics at our events in the frame of the Power Shifts project that it guided her journey to researching energy policy in the European Union! We talked to Alex Blin (23) about energy, EYP, and the future ahead of her!

How did you get into the topic of energy?

I started EYP in my last year of high school, at a time when I was still hesitating between engineering and European policy studies for my college education. I was the chairperson of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, talking about reducing energy consumption in the EU. A few months later, I took part in the first @PowerShifts forum, and then became a member of the steering group of Power Shifs project. This group was responsible for identifying key trends and topical issues in the field of energy policies and for making them approachable for EYP participants. I was the youngest of the group and my knowledge on energy was quite modest at the time; therefore I spent lots of hours reading about energy and climate policies in order to be able to contribute to this work alongside my more experienced teammates. This experience convinced me to specialise into EU energy policies.

How did your interest in the topic evolve?

Attending EYP sessions with ITRE topics helped me to follow the latest developments in the EU energy and climate agenda. This knowledge proved very helpful for me to get my first internship as a research assistant on EU energy policies at the Jacques Delors Institute in Paris. One year after this internship, I applied to attend the College of Europe, where I studied this past year, allowing me, after 4 years in law, to really specialise on energy, both on the academic aspect: I am writing my thesis on the possible development of an EU energy poverty policy; and the extra-academic aspect presiding the College’s Energy and Climate Society. We organised numerous events during the year, including an international academic conference on 10 years of Energy in the Lisbon Treaty. Beyond my studies, my experience in the EYP also gave me confidence to start other projects, such as organising a side event at the COP24 on the role of young people in the Europe energy transition and giving a two-hour course on this same topic at the Sciences Politiques Paris’ summer school.

Why do you find it such an interesting topic?

My passion for energy is always difficult to explain. I think there are two main reasons for it. Firstly, it is a topic bridging many fields: chemistry, physics, economics, politics, … And you come to work with both engineers and policy makers. The second reason is the wild scope encompassed by energy. For instance, one day you can deal with the social issues of just transition and the next day geopolitical concerns over gas security of supply.

What do you want to do after graduating?

My ambition is to do a PhD and later to teach occasionally to share my passion and knowledge with young people. However, I don’t have a precise topic in mind yet. I hope to do traineeships and to write on different aspects of energy, which will help me to find the energy topic I am ready to dedicate myself to for several years.

What do you plan/want/hope to change in energy policy?

Energy is everywhere but we do not see it. We consider it is normal to have electricity coming in to use your appliance when you plug it. I would like to raise the understanding of the technical aspect of energy among the policy makers. It is important to understand that all energy sources are polluting to some extent, therefore green energy as non-polluting energy does not exist per se. Being aware of this, the need to use the energy we have in the most efficient way possible is clear because it means avoiding extra negative effects on the environment be it GHG emissions or damaging ecosystems depending on the source of energy. Efficiency does not mean to stop consuming but to do it in a more responsible way.