2019 Roger Léron Award: the Winner is Finally Known

The 5th edition of the Roger Léron Award was concluded yesterday, the 9th October 2019, with the Ceremony at the House of the Brussels region (BIP) with the announcement of the winner and celebration of nominees’ achievements.

The ceremony took place on Wednesday the 9th of October, at the BIP in Brussels. After a welcome cocktail, speeches from various stakeholders of the field were given, and the finalists were introduced. Søren Hermansen was acknowledged as the winner of this 5th edition, while finalists Maria del Rosario Heras Celemín and Josep Puig i Boix shared the second place.

The Roger Léron Award honours outstanding individuals who, through their persistence, impact, strategic vision and leadership, contributed to sustainable energy at the local and regional levels. The Award is named in memory of Roger Léron, a pioneer of regional energy development in Europe and one of FEDARENE’s founders. You can find further information about the Award including jury members and eligibility criteria on our Roger Léron web page. This year’s winner is Søren Hermansen.

Søren Hermansen led the island of Samsoe (Denmark) to a future free of fossil-fuel energy and into the transition to renewable energy, making it the world’s first renewable energy island. Under his coordination as leader of the Samsoe Energy Academy and the government’s investment in his ideas, by 2006 Soren’s actions had led to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that brought its carbon footprint down to negative at -3.7 tons/inhabitant. He is currently the CEO of Samsoe Energy Academy and a renowned expert in the energy area who has been quoted in several international media.

The Ceremony also acknowledged Maria Rosario Heras Celemín and Josep Puig i Boix’s contributions to sustainable energy, who are tied at the second place.

Dr. Maria del Rosario Heras Celemín is an international reference in the field of passive solar energy and bioclimatic architecture. Apart from fighting for building regulations in the face of irresponsible fossil fuel-based energy consumption in Spain, her dissemination work has improved the qualification of many professionals. However, Dr. Heras has gone further, being one of the pioneers in considering the synergies of a building with contiguous elements (roads, parks, etc.) thus surpassing with the urban “understanding”, the purely architectural and individual one.

Josep Puig i Boix contribution towards sustainable energy has focused on national and regional governmental policies. His career for over 40 years has positively impacted the development of sustainable buildings and solar thermal heaters in Spain. Furthermore, He was one of the founders of the Ecotècnia S.C.C.L. a leading wind technology coop, that a small group of 8 young engineers created in Barcelona in 1981. He was a co-founder of Ecoserveis, in 1992, a consulting association for dealing with energy education, training and promotion of energy efficiency and renewables.

The Ceremony welcomed high-level speakers such as Jutta Paulus, German MEP from the Environment Committee who emphasised the importance of immediate action to stop climate change: “In every country, there are young leaders expecting us to act now”. Julije Domac, FEDARENE’s President and Director of the North-West Croatia Regional Energy Agency and Christiane Egger, FEDARENE Vice-President for Energy Efficiency and Deputy Director or OÖ Energiesparvervand, also took the stand, where the latter expressed her reflection on her generation’s action to prevent the climate crisis and how “we have worked hard on the energy transition, many of us for decades, but it seems like we have not worked hard enough”. Seamus Hoyne, FEDARENE’s Secretary-General and Manager at Limerick Institute of Technology introduced the ceremony, and Alfonso Arroyo (EREN) and Serge Nocodie (AURE-EE), holding FEDARENE Vice-Presidencies, revealed the finalists.

To know more about the three finalists as well as the ten other exceptional candidates, you can read their biographies here.

As 2019 already marked the 5th anniversary of the Roger Léron Award, FEDARENE produced a short video in honour of this milestone: