The International Clean Energy Challenge – Solved!

As Europe was being hit by a record-breaking heat wave, 64 young professionals and researchers from all over the world were brought together in the Austrian Alps to tackle real-life challenges related to the clean energy transition.

The Energy Agency of Upper Austria (OÖ Energiesparverband), with the support of the Upper Austrian Government and their corporate and institutional partners (see below), organized a 5 days-event (22-26 July) for young professionals from across the globe to bring new solutions for clean energy and break current barriers.

The “International Clean Energy Challenge” or “33 under 33” under his initial name, was launched based on the conviction that international multidisciplinary cooperation is key to stepping up our climate action and roll-out sustainable solutions. The over 60 participants under the age of 33 came from the worlds of engineering, law, economy, chemistry, communications, policy and many others. On the first day they were organised in smaller groups focusing each on challenges faced by clean energy technology companies and Universities from Upper Austria such as:

  • Developing business models for renewable energy communities
  • Tapping into the innovation in ICT and energy storage
  • Optimising energy performance of buildings through information modelling
  • Accelerating roll-out of E-mobility
  • Delivering the advantages of clean and sustainable bioenergy
  • Exporting successful solutions and technologies worldwide

For the participants, this was a unique chance to meet other young innovators from the other side of the world, to inspire one another and together solve problems they share. They benefitted from professional mentoring from the companies and universities’ representatives, learned from each other, developed transdisciplinary approaches, won awards and laid the ground for future projects. The buzz created by #cleanenergychallenge on social media can give you just a taste of their enthusiasm.

Through highly interactive workshops and pitching exercises, the groups would help each other discover groundbreaking ideas, improve their solutions and reach higher levels of ambition. Discussions would focus on bridging regulatory evolutions to business opportunities and further research exploration. 

For the Upper Austrian companies (listed below), this was an opportunity to challenge their own status quo and explore new avenues that this collective intelligence was opening. The company representatives mentoring the groups played a crucial role in advising the young professionals through their reasoning and in their action plans.

The members of FEDARENE were well represented at this event through the active participation of experts from the Paris Region Energy Agency, Alba Local Energy Agency, 3 Counties Energy Agency and Severn Wye Energy Agency. Energy agencies are key facilitators for the sustainable energy market, effectively bridging the worlds of policies, business and research. Their experience in developing and implementing projects both with the public and private sector were valuable to the discussions and final outcomes.

All this was made possible thanks to the exceptional organisation and moderation provided by Christiane Egger, Eva Grafleitner, Megan Gignac from the OÖ Energiesparverband, and Richard Amato from the Austin Technology Incubator.

The event was organized with the support of the following organisations: