What is a SEYN Energy Academy?
The Sustainable Energy Youth Network (SEYN) is an initiative which came to life in mid-2014. The main motivation behind it was how to empower young people to take an active role in the energy transition by promoting and supporting the development of community energy projects.
One of the main training and educational tools developed has been SEYN’s Energy Academy. The first one, took place in a small and beautiful island called Solta in Croatia, in July 2015, bringing together 25 young people from several countries from Europe and beyond as well as 10 experts from various fields. It was then replicated in Crete, Greece during September 2015, as well as in Gran Canaria during April 2016.
The idea behind the Energy Academies is to bring together a group of carefully selected experts from various fields and young people interested to make a change in local, national and international level. The aim is to empower young people, provide ideas, best practices and tools, and build a trusted and growing community of various skilled young professionals and students, while strengthening the energy cooperative movement in Europe and beyond. Together participants create the energy future based on cooperative values while connecting them to a vibrant network of people and projects that are already forging ahead with this transition in Europe and beyond.
Energy Academies provide training in areas such as: alternative financing for renewable energy projects such as crowdfunding; project development; energy technologies; governance and legal structures; national policy; best practices and knowhow on existing energy projects; community involvement and cooperative approach.
In order to achieve it, participants are preselected based on their variety of skills, their already developed or under development projects, among other criteria. The experts initially provide through vibrant presentations and panel discussions, information and best practices on a variety of issues under the main themes of community energy, project management and development, cooperatives, alternative financing instruments (ethical financing, crowdfunding, EU and regional funding), new collaboration and decision making tools and methods and much more.
As next step, the participants are divided into smaller thematic groups and accelerate the development of the concepts to more concrete projects. The groups are challenged and guided through the experts/mentors leading to formulate their projects and present them through different pitching opportunities.
The outcome of the activity has multiple effects; on one hand, diverse skills, new ideas and concrete projects can be mapped, and on the other, a concrete base for the involvement of more people into the network can be set.
The overall aim of the initiative is to inspire and get young people exposed to cooperative values and approach, the importance of renewable energy and citizen ownership of energy projects, and best practices of existing communities. The aspiration is to frame community energy as a tool for local development, social inclusion, democratic processes, alternative business models, and for the creation of new jobs, and opportunity to gain work experience.
SEYN’s vision is to build a network of young and experienced people beyond borders, to share services, skills and cooperate in a meaningful and inclusive way. SEYN function aims at bridging the current gap between ideas, skills, project development and funding that can result in the actual implementation at local level.