Filip Koprčina from Croatia is one of the laureates at this year’s edition of the EU Sustainable Energy Week – EUSEW, for his blockchain-powered platform that allows citizens to invest in and support solar energy projects around the world. The winners of the Citizens’ Award, Woman in Energy Award and Young Energy Trailblazer Award were selected by public vote.
Five individuals and projects were recognized for their engagement and innovation in energy efficiency and renewables at the EUSEW Awards ceremony, among the twelve finalists in the competition. An expert jury selected the winners in the categories of engagement and innovation categories while European citizens chose the others via a public vote.
European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson was on hand to congratulate the winners at the online event, which kicked off the EU Sustainable Energy Week – EUSEW.
Gateway for citizens to invest in solar power
Filip Koprčina, one of the three finalists from Southeastern Europe, scooped the Young Energy Trailblazer Award for democratizing solar energy ownership. He is the founder and chief executive officer of a startup called Energy Shift, which enables Europeans to co-own solar power plants.
The Young Energy Trailblazer Award recognizes outstanding activities carried out by people under 35 who advance the clean energy transition in Europe and inspire ambitious climate and energy action
His blockchain-powered platform allows citizens to invest in and support solar energy projects around the world. Energy Shift opens the way for them to earn fixed returns of 10% to 15%. The Young Energy Trailblazer Award recognizes outstanding activities carried out by people under 35 who advance the clean energy transition in Europe and inspire ambitious climate and energy action.
“I wanted to show that the choice between making money and having a positive impact on the environment is a false dichotomy,” said Koprčina, who resides in Cyprus. “Citizens who invest in these solar projects can expect greater returns than they would receive if their money was in a bank. The amount of energy we will save from the investments committed to date is equal to charging 17.5 million smartphones.”
Personal climate action
EnergyNeighbourhoods took home the recognition for its green lifestyle program that empowers citizens to save energy in Hungary. The Engagement Award is for activities with high social acceptance potential that inspire and motivate citizens to change their energy usage habits.
“The EnergyNeighbourhoods program helps citizens take action against climate change without any investment but by changing their everyday behavior,” says Edina Vadovics, Scientific Director at GreenDependent Institute, the program’s coordinator. “We help people change their lifestyles, save energy and reduce their carbon footprint, thus reducing their contribution to climate change.” The program is in its tenth year.
The winner was selected by a jury, which also determined who would get the Innovation Award. It was Life-Diademe, an Italian project that offers a low-cost way to save energy in public lighting while monitoring environmental conditions. It makes such systems adaptive by installing and tracking low-cost sensors.
Life-Diademe installs low-cost sensors for managing energy consumption in public lighting
When there is rain or visibility is low due to other factors, street lights are enhanced to the maximum. Conversely, the intensity is lowered when there is no traffic.
“We have installed almost 800 sensors on light posts in the two pilot areas in Rome, and an additional 200 in Rimini and Piacenza. It is an energy-saving technology but it also promotes pedestrian safety,” says Linda Meleo, Councillor for Infrastructure Development in Rome’s Department of Infrastructure.
Mayor of Frederikshavn Birgit Hansen won the Woman in Energy award for her local leadership in climate planning. The Woman in Energy Award recognizes outstanding activities led by women that, if replicated, help to advance the clean energy transition in Europe and contribute to the European energy and climate targets.
Simson: Women have too often been left behind in any discussion and notably in energy
“My role as a mayor and as a leader is to motivate people to act on this agenda. I need to be at the forefront and bring together industry, citizens and the municipality to make things happen. We made partnerships within the municipality, so all actors who want to get involved in our green transformation can do so,” Hansen explained.
Commissioner Simson said women have too often been left behind in any discussion and notably in energy. She praised the winners of the EUSEW Awards and stressed they are role models for transforming Europe’s energy landscape.
Zero costs for energy efficiency measures in households
RenOnBill took the Citizens’ Award for bringing financial institutions and utilities together to increase the uptake of the renovation of buildings.
“Together with financial institutions, utility companies cover the initial investment of a building renovation. The resulting savings that homeowners eventually see on their energy bills is used to pay back the utility, appearing as a line item on the customer’s energy bills,” explains Paolo Michele Sonvilla, RenOnBill Project Coordinator from Creara, Spain. “On-bill financing can reduce the upfront costs of energy renovations to zero.”
The six projects competing in the engagement and innovation categories were up for consideration for this award, determined by public vote.