NE(W)AVE- A greener, fairer and more democratic future

Friday 4 September 2020

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«We have two choices. We can be pessimistic, give up, and help ensure that the worst will happen. Or we can be optimistic, grasp the opportunities that surely exist, and maybe help make the world a better place. »

Noam Chomsky

From energy access to climate justice and from anti-privatisation to workers’ rights, people across the world are taking back power over the energy sector, fighting pessimism and kicking-back against the rule of the market and reimagining how energy might be produced, distributed and used in order to ensure environmental and economic benefits to society.

At the same time, Europe’s energy market is undergoing a fundamental transition from a system based on fossil fuels and nuclear power towards one based entirely on renewable energy.

The energy transition will require a considerable investment that will be paid for by citizens: as consumers, as tax payers or as money savers. Citizens therefore should be at the heart of this energy transition. They should have control of their energy production, transportation, distribution and their energy supply.

Energy democracy is a political, economic, social and cultural concept that merges the technological energy transition with a strengthening of democracy and public participation.

The energy democrats defined the following principles of energy democracy:

  • UNIVERSAL ACCESS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
    Everybody should be guaranteed access to sufficient and affordable energy. The energy system should prioritise the needs of communities, households and marginalised people.
  • RENEWABLE, SUSTAINABLE AND LOCAL ENERGY
    Fossil fuel resources must be left in the ground. We want to make the energy mix as renewable as possible and, ultimately, a hundred per cent renewable.
  • PUBLIC AND SOCIAL OWNERSHIP
    New forms of municipal/public ownership and collective private ownership, often in the form of cooperatives, are emerging and have served the public interest. The means of production need to be socialised and democratised.
  • FAIR PAY AND CREATION OF GREEN JOBS
    The transition is to be co-driven by workers in order to guarantee that the jobs in the renewable energy sector are created, unionised and fairly paid.

With the aim of supporting the future professionals in the renewable energies and increase their employment chances, the Erasmus+ NE(W)AVE project created, tested and implemented a comprehensive online learning model. More in general, the NE(W)AVE project, through its outputs, aimed at opening a new potential market for young people in possession of more traditional skills such as electricians, plumbers and installers.

At the project’s final conference on 31st August, CESIE presented the NE(W)AVE project’s results and products, while key-speakers from renewable energy companies and other relevant stakeholders presented the unexplored potential of the green sector.

Ivan Foglia from Medielettra presented the status of
photovoltaic systems in Sicily and its use in agriculture. The renewable energy company, Medielettra, which was one of the key visits arranged within the project during the mobility of VET learners in Italy in September- October 2019, has dedicated almost 30 years to the development and growth of this renewable business offering consultancy on technological systems. Medielettra is involved in the design and construction of various types of systems: electrical, for the production of energy from renewable sources, data and voice management, fibre optic works, home automation, air treatment and air conditioning, fire prevention, anti-rat, management and access control, video surveillance. All this, in any case with a single common denominator: to provide quality products and services to everyday life.

During the conference, Tommaso Castronovo vice president of Legambiente Palermo, that contributed actively to the training  of VET learners during their mobility in Italy  in 2019, explained his experience in the promotion and training of the Solar Purchase Groups, through which in 2010-2015 helped hundreds of Sicilian families install plants from good quality renewable sources at affordable prices.

Dario Ferrante, director and founder of the Alter-native Energy Festival, and advisory group member for Italy for the development of the NE(W)AVE open online course and policy recommendations, introduced the only festival in Italy which since 2007 is entirely dedicated to alternative-native energies. Its mission is to create a community of artists, citizens, companies, public bodies that meet every year to promote the practical applications of alternative energy. If you would like to receive more information about the Alter-native energy festival, please write to: info@festivalenergiealter-native.eu or visit www.festivalenergiealter-native.eu.

Ettore Costa, project manager at CESIE, shared his passion about nature, economics and politics. He introduced the concept and the potentials of energy democracy explaining the huge impact this can have in our society.  Ettore believes that it is possible and desirable to bring together social and economic issues with a truly sustainable environmental policy, for a greener, fairer and more democratic future.

Giovanni La Marca, a young engineer from Palermo who participated in the training hosted by the renewable energy company, Heliotec, in Spain  in September-October 2019, shared his interest towards the green sector and his experience during the mobility. At Heliotec together with other European future professionals of renewables in 2 weeks he could improve his technical, professional and soft skills which will help him work in this field.

Over the last 3 years, the NE(W)AVE project has supported the employment chances of aspiring professionals in the “green” sector, has promoted innovative learning opportunities in VET developing an Open Online Course on renewable energy and also promoted the professional development of VET trainers through the acquisition of new and/or increase competences in terms of teaching/learning methods, tutoring and intercultural skills. The NE(W)AVE project developed the following outputs:

If you would like to learn more about the NE(W)AVE project, please visit the NE(W)AVE website or write to simona.palumbo@cesie.org.

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