Towards an Energy Transition with Active Consumers and Open Learning Options
Date: July 2nd 2020
Author: Alenka Lena Klopčič
Slovenia, as other EU member states, is pursuing ambitious targets that will lead to a low-carbon future. This of course calls for appropriate infrastructure plans and a suitable legislative background, which is a challenge both for the energy companies and for the relevant ministry. It is therefore imperative to keep in mind not only the individual steps, but also the ultimate goal, which – with the help of the energy transition – will lead us to full decarbonisation, said Silvo Škornik of the Slovenian Ministry of Infrastructure at Tuesday’s virtual event that launched the Open Education for a Better World (OE4BW) Eduscope 2020. As was noted several times at the event, the precondition for a real energy transition is to create consumers that are as active as possible – also via open learning programmes.As Joachim Balke of the European Commission’s DG Energy stressed in the introductory part of the virtual event, the active consumer is ultimately at the forefront of the energy transition and climate neutrality, which makes the open education projects developed as part of OE4BW’s SDG7 Hub especially important. “Nobody should be left behind – no region, no country, and no citizen,” said Balke, echoing the commonly heard phrase in post-corona times and connecting it to the European Green Deal.
From taking energy access for granted...
It is clear that the EU’s commitment to a low-carbon future will necessitate measures in a much wider sense, not only in the energy sector, so the Commission is currently in the process of revising the 2030 targets, which need to be in line with the post-corona recovery, explained Balke.
Additionally, Roberta Quadrelli of the International Energy Agency (IEA) noted that every individual has the right to energy, clean energy if possible, adding that in 2018, 789 million (1.2 billion in 2010) people still did not have access to electricity and 2.8 billion did not have access to clean cooking facilities (3 billion in 2010), whereas the share of renewable energy in final consumption was 17.3% in 2018 (just 1% more than in 2010).
...to open education for everyone
Meanwhile, SDG7 Hub Co-coordinator, Mojca Drevenšek, speaking at the panel on the significance of open education programmes, stressed that figures are key in strategic decision-making. Drevenšek is also the representative of the society for promoting energy literacy, EN-LITE, which is now setting up the iEnergy Open Library.
About the iEnergy Open Library project: EN-LITE, the society for the promotion of energy literacy, which has been distributing educational and informational materials on the significance of energy and the energy sector in Slovenia since 2014, is setting up a global open education library on energy. The iEnergy Open Library opened its virtual doors on Tuesday, in parallel with the OE4BW virtual event. It features materials created in the framework of the EN-LITE project, and it will also include contributions from authors of energy-related open education projects in the framework of OE4BW’s SDG7 Hub and from other contributors. The library will also feature a link to freely accessible online courses on the InnoEnergy educational platform and to materials for improving energy literacy (Energy Literacy Framework), developed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy. It will enable searches by sustainable targets that relate to the SDG7 energy target (for instance health, wellbeing, climate measures, sustainable cities and communities, etc.), energy literacy principles, authors, and organisations. The development of the iEnergy Open Library, which is taking place in MiTeam’s advanced cooperation environment, is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Slovenia as part of the NGO Small Grants programme.
According to Inge de Waard of EIT InnoEnergy, from the point of view of the (energy) industry, the most hotly sought after skills and competences currently relate to accountability, including corporate/community. She sees them as the precondition for a more efficient energy transition. If we, as an industry, are striving to generate revenues with green energy, we need to be prepared to invest in the development of the necessary skills and competences, said de Waard.
This article is available also in Slovene.