Since 2006, the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) has organised its annual flagship event: the EU Sustainable Energy Week.
EUSEW is the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe, and has grown into a community that is at the forefront of sustainable energy policy in Europe, providing a platform for the formulation of and debate on new ideas.
EUSEW helps the EU to spread its vision and long-term strategy in order to lead the world in climate action. Currently the EU is about to achieve its 2020 targets and has agreed new targets for 2030. EUSEW is also supported by the biggest ever EU Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, and the upcoming Horizon Europe programme that are promoting this European leading position.
Last year’s Sustainable Energy Week (#EUSEW2018) was a huge success, with 2,540 participants attending the policy conference to hear from 380 speakers, and with 70 networking activities. There were 9360 voters for the EUSEW Awards and over 6,000 social media mentions, with the event trending over three consecutive days on twitter.
The 14th edition of EUSEW will take place the 17-21 June 2019 with the theme Shaping Europe’s Energy Future. Its sizeable importance is inscribed within the evolution of national and international energy policy, in particular: the Paris Agreement – COP 21 -, COP 24 in Katowice 3-4 December 2018, National Energy and Climate Plans, and Clean Energy Transition, specifically 2030 European framework for climate and energy policies and Clean Energy for All Europeans Package and 2050 Long term Strategy Communication adopted 28/11/2018.
The event is organised around four main pillars: a Policy Conference, a Networking Village, the EU Sustainability Awards, and a series of Energy Day events held across Europe.
This year’s Policy Conference will be held on 18-20 June in Brussels and features a diverse programme of sessions and side events aimed at discussing and shaping Europe's energy future.
The conference introduces 91 parallel sessions over three days, from the following 12 themes: Strategy, Buildings, Consumers, Digitisation, Renewables, Finance, Energy Transition, Energy Systems, Industry, Energy Poverty, Smart Cities and Transport.
Of particular interest to BUILD UP and organised by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME), is the session entitled Empowering energy consumers – innovative approaches from European projects. This session showcases the following Horizon 2020 funded projects that aimed to put consumers at the centre of the energy system.
Examples of projects that have been supported through H2020 funding include the SAVES2 project that supports students in minimising their carbon footprint and hopefully encouraging better energy habits for life. The project is expected to reach 114,000 students living in dormitories from fourteen universities in seven countries, saving 9 GWhs.
The Austrian project, PEAKapp, also received funding and resulted in the development of a highly-regarded app that aims to empower energy end-users and bring about energy savings through behaviour change, flexible tariffs, and fun.
The problem of the 80 million Europeans that live in unhealthy homes was the main concern of the REFURB project that ran across six countries and came to an end in 2018. One solution to bridging the gap between homeowners and the building sector was to provide private homeowners with a one-stop shop for advice on energy renovation, sustainable energy and an overview of suppliers.
The REScoop PLUS project ended in 2019 and was set up to encourage renewable energy co-operatives in Europe to go beyond their core activities of generating and supplying energy, to take up energy savings for their members too.
Working closely with eight co-operatives and other partners, the project showed that members of energy co-operatives became better energy citizens. This project resulted in the development of a Community Energy Toolbox and many policy recommendations.
All these projects involved working collaboratively, gaining scientific evidence and disseminating guidance from the lessons learnt to inform future work and policy decisions. This underlines the importance and vitality of the EUSEW Policy Conference to improving the energy wellbeing of Europeans and shaping Europe’s energy future.
Another inspirational aspect of #EUSEW2019 are the local activities that show EU citizens and businesses the importance of sustainable energy, called Energy Days.
These are organised throughout Europe by local public and private organisations in May and June 2019 and encourage citizens and stakeholders to discover and debate the major issues driving the transition to sustainable energy.
Brussels, as the heart of the European Union, has the largest number of events during these days.
COOL DH action is having a technical workshop on 17June 2019 that will set out how the project’s objective to plan and deploy new district heating and cooling systems and extend and refurbish existing ones is being met.
The focus will be on the technical and non-technical topics concerning the innovations, presenting the largest LTDH network in Europe in Lund, and sharing best practices.
Another event very much in the scope of BUILD UP and associating several H2020 projects is the one organized on 18 June 2019 by the Architect’s Council of Europe (ACE) on the subject Quality Architecture for sustainable and high performing buildings.
There are three main sessions over the day covering voluntary certification and deep renovation of buildings, architect’s feedback on Level(s), and upskilling the industry with BIM learning tools.
In addition, another session will take place afterwards on Scaling up deep energy retrofit markets towards 2030 targets, which will facilitate a discussion that enables the creation of synergies and possibilities to cooperate and share knowledge.
This is a vital step in encouraging collaboration between projects addressing the same challenges that don’t ordinarily share experiences or information.
On 19 June 2019 EuroPACE (Integrated home improvement platform) will showcase lessons learnt, best practice, case studies and future developments in home renovation in their summit Investing 4 Cities: Opportunities and Solutions to finance home renovation in Europe. The focus will be on the two critical elements of effective home renovation programmes; access to affordable financing and people-centric technical assistance.
The EuroACE (European Alliance of Companies for Energy Efficiency in Buildings) event also on 19 June 2019 presents Implement, industrialise, imagine future building renovation. Over three sessions, the role and contribution of energy efficient renovation towards Europe’s energy future will be addressed. Perspectives on the implementation of EPBD after 2020, opportunities to fund and to accelerate actions by 2030, and strategic visions for 2050 would also be developed.
Furthermore, the policy session on 20 June 2019 on The Green Revolution Starts at Home highlights the decarbonisation potential of addressing the heating and cooling of households in Europe, and will show how innovative tools and projects are being developed to help cities and regions analyse and implement changes to the heating and cooling sector so that the Paris Agreement goals can be met.
Nevertheless any activity can be an Energy Day – from a workshop, to a competition, to a tour of a power station – provided it engages citizens and energy stakeholders in building the Energy Union. The events can last any length of time, some last just a few hours, others a whole week.
For example, the Municipality of Jesi, Italy is extending the Energy Day events over a week with a variety of activities to attract a wide range of young people, citizens, and professionals. Climattiviamoci includes promotion of alternative modes of active mobility (such as e-bicycles), marked trails for secondary-school children to use to go to school, an initiative to allow people to sell their used and working objects of any kind, and educational events and debates for students.
Over in Slovenia the power market operator, Borzen, and the Centre for Distance Education have organised several events in Ljubljana, including lectures, creative workshops, and screenings of films for children and adults alike.
Moldova is hosting several Energy Day events across the country, and in Ialoveni they are combining Children’s Day with Energy Day to promote green energy and a clean environment. They called it Happy childhood in a clean city, and with the added bonus of the presentation of donated bicycles.
There are several tours organised throughout the week, such as the guided tour of the waste-to-energy plant in Brussels. This plant used to generate electricity only, but since 2016 it also started delivering heat to the nearby shopping centre and is an excellent example of an integrated approach to waste and energy management.
Across Spain there are many meetings organised on specific topics, as well as innovative outreach events using games, puppets, ecopoetic machines, mobile information points, advice on energy suppliers, workshops on solar cooking, and a touring sea level rise room in which you have to combat climate change to avoid catastrophe.
To find out what exciting activities are happening near you, search the Energy Days map.
See you at #EUSEW2019!